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.
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|
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.
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|
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 Reasoning||32 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:
- Below Passing
- GED Passing Score/High School Equivalency
- GED College Ready
- GED College Ready + Credit
The scale below shows the score range per subject test that would land you in each score category.
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 Level||Score Range (per subject test)||What It Means|
|Below Passing||Under 145||You did not earn enough points to pass.|
|GED Passing Score/ High School Equivalency||145-164||You have demonstrated high school level skills.|
|GED College Ready||165-174||Your skills show that you are ready for college. This looks great on a college application.|
|GED College Ready + Credit||175-200||You 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.