You need to get a 145 in each section of the GED in order to pass. But how many questions can you miss on the GED Test and still get 145?
Well, that may not be exactly the right question to ask. You see, getting a passing score on the GED isn’t a matter of correctly answering a certain number of questions… It’s a matter of earning a minimum number of points.
The difference between points and questions on the GED Test
Right now, you might think “Wait… isn’t answering questions how you earnpoints?” Yes, it is. However, some questions on the GED are worth more than one point… and some are worth less than one point.
The good news is that on two sections of the GED, the Math and Science sections, it’s usually obvious which GED questions are worth more than one point. Any question where you need to select two answers is worth two points, three-answer questions are worth 3 points, and so on. Moreover, if you miss one answer on a GED multiple-answer question, you lose just one point and get to keep the remaining points.
The bad news is that the correlation between questions, answers, and points is less obvious on the GED Social Studies and Language Arts sections. Before we go into those sections, however, let’s take a closer look at the exact relationship between points and answers.
On the GED, answers equal points. But how many points are in each section?
To summarize: One answer equals one point on the GED, but one question can sometimes have more than one answer. So what you really need to know is how many points and answers there are on each of the four sections of the GED, and what percentage of answers you need to get right.
Remember that one answer is worth one raw score point. So first, let’s look at the number of raw score points in each section:
- Mathematical Reasoning: 49 points
- Science: 40 points
- Social Studies: 30 points
- Reasoning Through Language Arts: 65 points
Two sections of the GED have more answers (as measured in raw points) than it has questions. GED Mathematical Reasoning has 46 questions, but 49 answers/points. The Science Section for this test has 34 questions, but a total of 40 answers.
With Social Studies, the ratio of questions to answers is a bit confusing. Here, some questions, usually single-answer questions, are worth less than one raw point. The GED Social Studies section has 35 questions, but just 30 raw points. So the questions are only worth 30 “answers,” since simpler questions count as less than one answer/point.
Now, you could try to carefully spot the simpler answers and guess at the point weight of the more complicated ones. But it’s probably more helpful to just think of the average point weight per question in GED Social Studies. Each Social Studies question is worth 0.87 answers/raw points on average. Round up and think of each Social Studies question as being worth roughly one point… or being worth roughly one answer.
Once you get to GED Reasoning Through Language Arts, the exact number of answers/raw points is even less clear. This is because GED Language Arts includes an essay question, weighted at 20% of the points the section. In addition to the essay, the Language Arts section has roughly 45 questions, although this number can vary slightly from test-to-test. These 45 or so questions make up 80% of the score. Doing the math, if 80% of the score is represented by 45 questions, then the other 20%– the essay– is equivalent to 11.25 questions. We don’t want to overestimate the value of the essay. So we’ll round that number down to 11 just to be safe.
So the essay is equivalent to about 11 answers, but this is obviously not an exact measure. Still, you can make an educated guess that the GED Language Arts test contains the point equivalent of 56 multiple choice answers (45 multiple choice questions + essay worth roughly 11 multiple choice answers), give or take.
So how many answers can you miss in each section?
As I mentioned before, you need a 145 in each section of the GED to pass it. The makers of the GED don’t give an exact system for converting your percentage of answers into an actual score. However, according to GED Testing Service, you need to get 40 to 45% of your answers right in order to get a 145.
Since GED scores are given on a 100-200 point scale, this makes sense. Your final scaled score will be your approximate percentage of correct answers, plus 100. So if you got 45% of the answers right, or something close to that, your official score would be around 145.
To be on the safe side, let’s stick with that the higher 45% figure to estimate the number of correct answers you need and the number of answers you can miss, if you want at least a 145
45% of the 45 answers in GED Math is 20.25 answers. To be safe again, we’ll round up. To pass, you need at least 21 correct answers in the GED Mathematical Reasoning section, and you should have no more than 24 wrong answers.
Next, let’s look at GED Science. Here, we have 40 answers. 45% of 40 is 18. So you need to give 18 correct answers to pass this section, and you can miss up to 22 answers.
Now, we arrive at Social Studies. This is a little tricky, but not too hard to calculate. Remember, we have 35 questions, each of which is worth just under 1 point. We’ll round up to 1 point to be safe, and say that you need to get 45% of the 35 Social studies questions right. 45% of 35 is 15.75. Rounding up once more, this means you need to get 16 questions right in order to pass the GED Social Studies test. So get no more than 19 answers wrong if you want to pass.
Finally, we arrive at GED Reasoning Through Language Arts. There’s no perfect way to quantify the number of right answers you need here. This because the essay doesn’t consist of clearly separate answers.
It may be helpful, then, to think of the “answers” you need in relation to how well you do on the essay. Let’s say that you get a 100% on the essay. Recall that the exam as a whole is worth the equivalent of approximately 56 answers. So getting a perfect essay score is like getting 20% of the answers—or 11 answers—right. (11 answers is 19.6% of 56, but I’m rounding up.)
With a perfect essay then, you’ll have roughly 20% of the 56 “answers” correct. To achieve that full 45%, you’ll need to get correct answers on an at least an additional 25% of the test’s 56 question equivalent. This means answering at least 14 of the 45 multiple choice questions correctly, as 14 is 25% of 56. In this scenario, you can miss 31 multiple choice answers and still pass.
On the other extreme, if you somehow get a 0 on your essay (an unlikely hypothetical), you’d have lost equivalent 20% of your answers. In this case, your 45% of the 56 question equivalent will need to come from multiple choice answers. This would mean getting at least 26 of the multiple choice answers correct, since 26 is 25.2% of 56, and we are– as always– rounding up to be safe. In that case, with an absolute 0 on the essay, you can miss 19 of the multiple choice questions and still pass.
Summary of how many answers you can miss in each section of the GED
- Mathematical Reasoning:You can miss 24 answers
- Science:You can miss 22 answers
- Social Studies:You can miss 19 answers
- Reasoning Through Language Arts: You can miss 31 multiple choice answers if you get 100% on the essay and you can miss 19 multiple choice answers if you get a 0 on the essay.
Note that all of the figures immediately above are just estimates. To make sure you pass, always aim for more than the minimum number of correct answers on the GED. And if you want to get accepted into a our year university, the higher you aim, the better!