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Sarah Bradstreet

GED Score: What Do I Need to Pass the GED?

Thinking of taking the GED exam? Of course one of the first things you’ll want to know is how the exam is scored and what you need to pass. Here’s a guide to what your GED score means.

How is the GED Scored?

What we call the “GED exam” is actually four separate subject tests.

GED Score: Subject Tests- Magoosh

You can choose to take these four tests all at once, or you can spread them out as much as you want. You will need to complete and pass all four in order to receive your GED credential.

Each subject test is scored separately on a scale of 100 to 200 points. That means that after you’ve taken all four subject tests, your total score will be out a total of 800 possible points.

Subject Test Score Range
Reading Through Language Arts 100-200
Mathematical Reasoning100-200
Social Studies 100-200
Science100-200
TOTAL400-800

What GED Score Do I Need to Pass?

To pass the GED, you need at least 145 out of 200 on each of the four subject tests. That means your total score for the entire set of exams will need to be at least 580.

Note: You need a GED score of at least 580 AND a score of at least 145 per subject test. If you failed one of the subject tests but scored high enough on another to still bring your total score to 580 or more, this is NOT a passing score. You will need to retake the subject test you failed.

GED Score -Magoosh

How Many Questions Do I Need to Get Right to Pass?

To pass each GED subject test, you need to earn a scaled score of at least 145 out of 200. So how many questions does that translate into? The answer isn’t quite so simple.

The number of questions on each subject test can vary slightly from test to test. For example, you could take the Social Studies test one day and be asked 35 questions and on another day, you could have a test version that has 38 questions. What won’t change, however, is the number of POINTS on each subject test.

You see, not every question is worth the same number of points. Each answer on the test is worth one raw point, but some questions have more than one answer. A “typical” multiple choice question with only one correct answer is worth one point, but other questions might ask you to select more than one correct answer. In these cases, each answer is worth one point. A single question with two correct answers is worth two points, and so on.

The number of raw points on each subject test is:

Subject Test Number of Raw Points Available
Reasoning Through Language Arts 65
Mathematical Reasoning49
Social Studies 30
Science 40

For Mathematical Reasoning and Social Studies, the points are equal to the number of possible answers in each test. In Science, this is also true except for the two short answer questions, which are worth 3 points each (and on which partial credit is possible, so you could score 1, 2, or 3 points on a short answer question).

Reasoning Through Language Arts is a little different because it includes an essay that is scored differently from the rest of the test. The essay is worth 20% of the total score for that subject test. That means that the essay is worth roughly 13 points, leaving you with 52 answers on the other questions.

The conversion from these raw points to your scaled score (100-200 per subject test) is not a simple formula, and the GED Testing Service doesn’t publish how exactly this scoring magic happens. What they do say, though, is that to pass each subject test with a 145, you need to get 60-65% of the available points on the test. If we use 65% to be on the safe side, that means that to pass you would need approximately:

Subject Test Approx. Number of Points Needed to Pass
Reasoning Through Language Arts 42 out of 65
Mathematical Reasoning32 out of 49
Social Studies 20 out of 30
Science 26 out of 40

What are the GED Score Levels?

There are four different GED score levels, and three of the four indicate a passing score. The GED score levels are:

  1. Below Passing
  2. GED Passing Score/High School Equivalency
  3. GED College Ready
  4. GED College Ready + Credit

The scale below shows the score range per subject test that would land you in each score category.

GED Score Levels- Magoosh

Your personal goal for your GED score may vary in part based on the plans you have for after finishing your GED. If you’re thinking of going to college, a better score can look better to admissions officers and could even lead to earning college credits before you even go!

Here’s what each score level means:

GED Score Levels

GED Score LevelScore Range (per subject test) What It Means
Below PassingUnder 145You did not earn enough points to pass.
GED Passing Score/ High School Equivalency145-164You have demonstrated high school level skills.
GED College Ready 165-174Your skills show that you are ready for college. This looks great on a college application.
GED College Ready + Credit 175-200You have shown above-average skills that may earn you college credit, depending on the school.

If you want more information on how a College Ready or College Ready + Credit Score can benefit you and how the program works, visit the GED Testing Service website.

What Happens If I Don’t Pass the GED?

Unfortunately, not every student passes the first time, but you can always take the exam again. The good news is that if you don’t pass all four subject tests the first time, you don’t have to take them all over again. You only need to retake the sections that you didn’t pass.

You can retake any or all of the subject tests as many times as you need to in order to pass. You even get a discount on the subject tests you have to retake (varies by state; find out your retake price).

Need to schedule a retake? Register by logging into MyGED.

Prepare to Pass

The best pass to make sure you pass the GED is to be prepared. Try our 5 Ways to Study for the GED Online. Then, when you’re ready, take a practice test to give yourself a better idea of how you are likely to score on test day.

Improve your GED math score with Magoosh!
About Sarah Bradstreet

Sarah is an educator and writer with a Master’s degree in education from Syracuse University who has helped students succeed on standardized tests since 2008. She loves reading, theater, and chasing around her two kids.


8 Responses to “GED Score: What Do I Need to Pass the GED?”

  1. Molly Jacobsen says:

    My son got a 168 on the Resoning Through Language Arts Test. He got a zero on his essay! Is this possible? IF, as you estimate, he got a 145 and a zero on his essay, it means he would have gotten 42/52 multiple choice questions right. With a 168 he most likely go tthem nearly all right. With someone that can reason and use language like that, how is it possible to get a zero? He states he wrote 300-400 words and supported his arguments. It makes me doubt the validity if the test itself!

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      Molly,

      First, I’m very sorry to hear you had this bad experience! 🙁 I agree with you that it seems unusual that your son would get a 0 on his essay when he performed well on the rest of the exam.

      Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to see if your son actually should have gotten a 0 score under GED rules. First, you and your son should definitely take a careful look at the GED’s essay score guide for their RLA exam. This gives a detailed look at the rubric, and explains how students might get a score of 0 for each individual rubric category, with example 0-scoring essays.

      If your son and you are still fairly certain that his essay should have gotten higher than a 0, you can ask for the essay to be reviewed and re-scored. This can be done by contacting GED customer service. The GED’s official policy on this is as follows (direct quote from their customer service live chat line):

      While the system we use to score extended responses is highly reliable and accurate, we understand that you may believe you deserve a higher score on your extended response. If you would like to challenge your extended response score, there will be a fee, which is currently $50.00. If the challenge results in a score change, the fee will be returned to you. If your score is not changed, the fee will be kept. If you would like to submit a challenge, you may call GED Testing Service at 877-392-6433.

  2. Andrea jackson says:

    My score on the entire ged test was 591 do i still get my GED certificate if i pass all my test except for social studies only by a few points?

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      Unfortunately, you’ll still need to retake the social studies assessment if you fell short of the minimum score there, even by just a few points. The good news is that if you were very close to the score you needed, a few points should be easy to make up in a retake.

  3. I teach High School Equivalency, and students frequently want me to tell them how many points their in-class practice essays would get on the actual test. What are the most points available for the essay? I have heard people say you cannot get over 6 points for the essay no matter how good it is.

    Thank you,

    Larisa

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      That’s a great question, Larissa! The essay is worth 13 raw points, and it is possible to get the full 13 raw points.

      However, you are correct about the 6 maximum points in a sense. On GED Reading and Language, the essay is graded on a scale of 1-6 on the rubric, and those 6 points are then converted to the 13 raw point range before being converted again to the final scaled score. So for example, if someone gets a 6 on their essay, that is equivalent to the full 13 raw points. However, if someone gets a 3 on their essay, that’s the equivalent of 6.5 raw points.

      I hope that makes sense. 🙂 Point conversions for scoring can be very confusing, I know! The GED’s own official example essay with scoring provides some helpful extra information, as does the GED’s official Assessment Guide for Educators.

  4. Wendy says:

    Hi I have a question 
    If I take a task and I pass all the subject except English 
    But I still not pass I can take ged only in English or do I have to take all the subjects from ged ? 

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      Although rules on GED retakes can vary from state to state, to my knowledge, all states will allow you to just retake the section you did poorly in. So you probably can just retake English. But you may want to double check with the local GED testing center to confirm your own state’s regulations.

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