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David Recine

How Many Questions Can You Miss on the GED Test?

how many questions can you miss on the GED?

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!

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About David Recine

David is a test prep expert at Magoosh. He has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has been teaching K-12, University, and adult education classes since 2007 and has worked with students from every continent. Currently, David lives in a small town in the American Upper Midwest. When he’s not teaching or writing, David studies Korean, plays with his son, and takes road trips to Minneapolis to get a taste of city life. Follow David on Google+ and Twitter!


32 Responses to “How Many Questions Can You Miss on the GED Test?”

  1. Susan says:

    I thought the GED score. Are good for five years?

  2. Justina Daniels says:

    Good day. I would like to know how do i go about registering myself to do the GED testing. I’m a South African , so i need all the info regarding studying as well as taking the test. Kind regards Justina Daniels

  3. Mark says:

    I got a 142 and have to be eligible to play by the first of September can my score be rounded?

  4. Michelle says:

    Hi David I took the mathematical reasoning test twice and scored a 143 missed it by two points you have any tips that you can give me I’m scheduled to retake the test the first week of October

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      Hi Michelle,

      First off, I’m very sorry to hear you have fallen just two points short of your score twice now. That certainly sounds frustrating.

      The good news is that I have a powerful tip for anyone who wants to improve in GED Math: mental math! Although it may sound strange, you can actually do better in GED Math if you use your calculator less, as little as possible. Calculators often lead to mistakes from keypad errors. They can also cause poor pacing, since when you’re using a calculator, you may do every single step, and not look for nay quick mental shortcuts to complete a math problem.

      You can find some strategies for building mental math, along with many other math improvement strategies, in Magoosh’s math-focused GED study guide.

  5. Rabika says:

    Hey there, i’m done with maths and science getting a score of 166 and 158.But failed in RLA and Social Studies getting a score of 143 and 140! I’m very tensed,what should I do?This is just very heart breaking.I wanted to get in to University by this December but I’m very hopeless now! Can you please help me?? 
    I’m from Bangladesh btw.

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      I’m sorry your RLA and SS GED scores weren’t where they needed to be, Rabika. That certainly sounds frustrating! 🙁 From what you’ve told me, I recommend that you consult two Magoosh study guides as you prepare for your retake: the Social Studies focused GED study guide, and the Reading focused GED study guide.

      You may also want to get a tutor if you can. If you are from Bangladesh but currently in the USA, you should be able to find free tutoring through local community colleges, public school systems, or nonprofit literacy centers. If you’re in Bangladesh, you may want to look online or in your immediate area for an ESL tutor who can help you with both the RLA and Social Studies GED tests.

  6. Kimberly says:

    Hi I keep getting score of 139 on my language arts education. Wonder if it’s my essay any help guys

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      Sorry you score fell short of what you needed, Kimberly! The first think I’d recommend is to look at your score report, including your enhanced score report. There’s a tutorial on how to access and use your in-depth score report here. This score report will tell you whether or not your essay is the reason for your low score, and can help you make a personalized study plan to get that 145+ score you need.

  7. Jeanne Michel says:

    Hi my name is jeanne and i scored a 144 on my social studies test ……….. I was curious to know that just 1 point away from passing cannot be rounded any advice for me

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      Unfortunately, you’re correct that there’s no way for institutions to flex on a score of 144 and give you your GED qualification even though you’re one point short. 🙁 I’m sorry to give that bad news! The best advice I can give you is to retake the Social Studies assessment. Since you were just one point too low, you have a very good shot at passing on a second attempt.

  8. Isabel Lemus says:

    Any question where you need to select two answers is worth two points, three-answer questions are worth 3 points

  9. Isabel Lemus says:

    Hi David,

    Good article. Thanks a lot. Can you please clarify one you say this:
    Anu qestion where you need to select two answers is worth two points, three-answer questions are worth 3 points…”

    To my understanding the test is made out of multiple answers but you always have to select one answer per question. Do you have any example in which students are required to select more than one answer per question?

  10. Sandra says:

    I had 145 on my math GED score and i also passed the other aith good scores. Now I am a little concern because I am planning
    To enter college and the career i’m looking for
    Requieres a 9 on basic skills in math and I don’t know if my 145 is enough. I don’t jnow what to do my dream is to graduate fron college
    But I am afraid that i won’t be able to do it. I was never good at math, please tell me if you know if I can enter college and graduate.

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      Hi Sandra,

      First off, congratulations on getting passing scores on every part of the GED including math. Secondly, yes– I’m happy to tell you it is completely possible to enter college and get a degree even if you feel a bit weak in math. I myself was fairly weak in math and still ultimately managed to get a 4-year degree and eventually a masters as well.

      If you really are concerned about how your math performance may affect your ability to get a college degree, you may want to choose a major that isn’t so math-intensive, of course. For example, you may want to major in something like history or social work rather than in a field like economics or computer science.

      One final thought here, though– you’ll notice I said I was weak in math. Nowadays, I’m strong enough in math that I write math content for the Magoosh blogs and sometimes act as a math tutor for Magoosh’s students. It is certainly possible to not be a “math person,” but learn to become a math person. So if you enter college and decide you want to change your major to a more math-intensive line of study, you can certainly consider that. You can always try to become a math person if you reach a point where you need strong math skills to reach an academic or career goal. 🙂

  11. Danielle McLean says:

    Ive passed three of the four sections.
    Science being the hardest for me .Ive missed it by 3 points twice. any advice you can me please

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      Sorry this has happened, Danielle! This sounds frustrating! My best advice is to figure out exactly which science question types you’re most likely to miss. If your’e only missing three questions, there’s a good chance you’re struggling in a few narrow aspects of science. figure out your trouble spots, study that science content, and you should be able to master GED Science. To figure out your weak areas, take a really good look at the questions in GED practice tests.

  12. Drew Winsor says:

    David- I want to gauge how many answers students need to get correct in order to pass the GED LA exam, and I’m
    having trouble following your math. You wrote, “the GED Language Arts multiple choice questions will have a total of 52 answers, give or take.”, but you also said getting 42 answers correct (required when scoring 0 on the essay) means only getting 3 questions incorrect- which would mean there are a total of 45 questions, not 55…

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      Hi Drew,

      My apologies! I’m realizing that when I first drafted this, I made a few crucial math errors in describing the Language Arts exam point scheme. So it’s understandable that you couldn’t follow my math, since it was wrong. 🙂

      Based on your feedback, I’ve made some corrections to my GED LA math here. I’ve also made an effort to explain my calculations much more clearly, although a clear explanation is admittedly kind of difficult to give for Language Arts scoring. Read my changes over, and certainly let me know if you still have doubts or questions!

  13. Regina M Gianetti says:

    Hello when will I get a response about my ged test scores

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      You should get your GED score report via email (with a link to the online report) very quickly, typically within a day of taking your test. If you didn’t get an email quickly, contacting the GEd or your test center cna help. For info on how to receive and view your GED scores, you can also check out Beth’s article, “Where to Find Your GED Test Results.”

  14. Carol says:

    Better take a second look at your explanation for the science section. Sixty-five percent of 40 is NOT 18.

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      You’re absolutely right, and I’m so sorry about that error. I just went in and corrected it. Thanks for bringing that to my attention, Carol!

  15. Anusha says:

    Can you explain what percentage of marks do I need to get to pass in science because I’m still not understanding.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Anusha! Here’s what we said about the science section, “Next, let’s look at GED Science. Here, we have 40 answers. 65% of 40 is 26. So you need to give 26 correct answers to pass this section, and you can miss up to 14 answers.” You need to get approximately 65% 🙂

      • jason says:

        how many questions can I miss too pass

        • David Recine David Recine says:

          Hi Jason! For an answer to that question, scroll down to the final part of this article and look under the heading “Summary of how many answers you can miss in each section of the GED.” Let me know if you have any other questions after reading that, of course! 🙂

  16. Amy says:

    Why is the percentage to pass on Science is higher than other subjects’? (65% to 45%)? I’m a bit confused

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      My apologies, Amy– that was a typo on my part! It should actually be 45% for GED Science too. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I’ve just corrected the article and adjusted the numbers.

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