Understanding Your GED Test Scores

GED test scores
The GED went through some pretty big changes in 2014. Many of the changes are seen on the test itself, such as essay questions or more challenging content. Administrators also made adjustments as to how the test is scored. These changes are in place to ensure that GED test scores reflect the same educational goals as high school graduates.

Current GED Test Scores

GED updates lower a passing test score 150 to 145 on each subject test. The GED Testing Service equates this score only with earning a high school degree. Meaning a student who simply passes the GED might not be academically ready for college-level courses. Successful college readiness requires more than just meeting high school exit standards.

GED test scores measure the overall abilities students demonstrate when taking the exam. But more than just academics are measured! GED exams test thinking and writing skills, deductive reasoning and concept application. Because GED scores tell so much about a student’s capabilities, colleges and employers use them to predict how well students might perform in future classes or assignments.

Understanding GED Test Scores

GED test scores for each test subject range from 100-200, with a minimum passing score of 145 for each of the four test subjects. In order to give a better understanding of student abilities, all test scores are divided into three levels: passing score, GED College Ready and GED College Ready + Credit. Each level indicates a different range of abilities and college readiness.

  • GED Passing Score: score of 145-164
  • A score at this level means you passed the GED! Your score shows that you attained a high school equivalency credential and have the same educational skill set as a graduating high school senior.

  • GED College Ready: score of 165-174
  • Not only have you successfully passed the GED, your score level indicates that you have the skills needed to enroll in your first year of college courses. According to the GED testing service, your scores may relieve you from taking certain placement tests or remedial courses in college.

  • GED College Ready + Credit: 175-200
  • This score indicates that you may be eligible to earn college credits, and have demonstrated skills that are taught in college-level courses. Depending on the college or program you enroll in, you may be able to receive up to 3 credits in Math, Science and Social Studies, as well as 1 credit in Humanities. In order to receive credits you must obtain an American Council on Education credit recommendation.

GED Test Score Smart Transcripts

Certain states offer additional GED credentials: Smart Transcripts. Smart Transcripts offer features not included on state-issued transcripts, such as student percentile rank or descriptions of student performance on individual subject tests. Found only online, Smart Transcripts offer a more in-depth perspective of student skills and abilities.

GED Test Scores and Continuing Education

Almost 62% of all GED graduates earn their diploma in order to pursue a college education. Applicants are regularly asked to provide official transcripts and GED test scores, so make sure you have certified copies on hand.

Entrance or scholarship applications may also require a class ranking. The GED Testing Service’s Guide for Admissions contains a helpful chart that aligns GED test scores with class rankings of graduating high school seniors. For example, if a scholarship application requires a student to be in the top 20% of their class, you need a GED test score of 168 or higher in order to qualify.

The guide also contains valuable information regarding American Council on Education (ACE) credits. ACE recommends that GED graduates with test scores of 175 or higher be eligible for certain college credits. Refer to the list of institutions to see if your college participates in the ACE program. Always confirm information with your admissions office, as each college has their own additional policies and requirements.

Past GED Test Scores

In previous years, any score lower than 149 was considered a failing grade. But good news: if you took the GED exam before 2014 — and received a test score of 145-149 — retroactively passes! The GED Testing Service automatically updates your transcripts. Log into your GED account to see your new passing scores, transcripts and level of college readiness.

GED Test Scores: Retaking the Test

If you received a GED test score of 144 or below on any test subject, you need to retake that portion of the test. Although each state has its own policies about retaking the GED, most do not require you to re-test subjects you already passed. That means you can focus on improving the subjects you did poorly on instead of studying for the entire test.

Almost forty percent of GED test-takers fail the exam at least once, so don’t get discouraged. Instead, use this as an opportunity to review your educational plan and see where you can improve! Magoosh offers fun ideas for GED test prep, as well as great posts on study skills, GED basics, and subject tests. You can also visit the official GED testing site for free practice exams and essay questions.

Congratulations on pursuing the next step in your educational career. Learn more about the GED by visiting any of our great blogs at Magoosh!


  • Beth Gonzales

    Beth is an educator and freelance creative designer who devises innovative and fun-loving solutions for clients. She works with families, students, teachers and small businesses to create and implement programs, campaigns and experiences that help support and maximize efforts to grow communities who critically think, engage and continue to learn.