Free Online GED Classes for Adults - Your Path to a High School Diploma
Practice Tests and Prep Classes to Help You Pass the GED
Are you looking for GED online classes and practice tests? There are free practice test sites, and a few free online prep courses to help you get your GED. In this article, I describe the ones I recommend most to students.
What is the GED?
The tests of GED, General Educational Development, are administered by the American Council of Education (ACE). They were originally developed for the Army after World War II as a way for veterans who left high school for the service to show their knowledge and get employment after the war.
Many states use the GED as a key requirement for an HSE certificate or diploma. Because of that, the state diploma or certificate is usually referred to as the "GED" as well. So you often hear the GED called a General Education Diploma.
But testing requirements have changed over time and vary by state. Many states provide options for other types of exams such as HiSET or TASC.
A few states do not accept the GED. Be sure to check your state's education website, local community college, or Adult Basic Education (ABE) Center to see which tests your state accepts.
The GED Tests
There are actually four GED tests. They cover high school-level knowledge and skills in:
- Reasoning through Language Arts (RLA)
- Mathematical Reasoning
- Social Studies
All of the tests are now taken on computers at testing centers. ACE GED Testing Service, which administers all GED tests, provides answers to frequently asked questions about these tests, as well as free practice questions and tips on taking the tests. Just register for free on ged.com
Free Online Test Prep Classes
Each state offers on-site classroom prep courses to help you prepare. But only a few, such as Kentucky, offer free online GED test prep courses. Check your state's education website, nearby community college, or adult education center.
Your Local Public Library
Another source for free online courses is your local public library.
If you don't already have one, get a library card and login account. They're free. Before you go to the library to set up your account, call them to find out what proof of residency they require you to bring in.
After you have your card, ask the librarian how to login and use their adult learning resources. Ask specifically where their site has online GED prep materials. Then you're all set to login from home and take your GED prep class online!
For instance, my library has an online GED course on one part of the website and GED practice tests on a different part of their site. My library also offers online books to help prepare students for the GED tests.
Many large businesses, especially restaurant chains and grocers, will pay for GED prep classes and practice tests taken through ged.com. As of this writing, Walmart, Taco Bell, and KFC are a few of the businesses that do this. So check with your employer to see if they will pay for your prep classes and practice tests.
GED Practice Tests
In addition to taking an online course, you should also take a couple of full-length, timed practice tests in each of the four subjects. The results of the practice tests will indicate how likely your chances are of passing the actual tests.
First, take a sample short test in each subject on the GED website. This GED site has more details about each test. Their sample tests will help you learn the computerized test format. Then try a free full-length practice test from one of these sources:
You will have access on your GED test computer screen to a TI30-XS calculator for portions of your Math, Science, and Social Studies tests. Review GED's Calculator Tutorial so that you will understand how to use it during your test.
More Free GED Study Help
If your practice tests show you need more prep on specific topics, these sites have good study resources. Although not specific to GED, they are excellent for test prep.
- The Five Paragraph Essay Wizard - For the writing portions of the Reasoning through Language Arts (RLA) test, you'll find some helpful instruction and examples.
- Khan Academy - Excellent online courses in math, science, US history, government, economics, and world history. Registration is free and optional, but it enables you to keep track of your progress with the online lessons and practice.
- cK12.org - Study materials in science, math and English (Language Arts).
GED Test Preview App for Kindle
This free Kindle app provides 10 questions in each subject area. Your answers can provide some indication of how you would perform on the test. You get immediate feedback on your answers. And there is a light bulb icon at the top to provide helpful hints on answering the question.
How Should I Prepare for My GED?
There truly is no "best way". But the important thing is to get started.
- Find out your state's requirements and if you meet the qualifications.
- Take a GED pretest and find out what you need to work on. Focus on that.
- Study, practice, test, study.
- Take two timed practice tests in each subject. If you don't pass at least one, don't waste you money yet on the official test.
- Take the Math and Language Arts tests first. You need the skills in those subjects to do well on Science and Social Studies tests.
- Schedule you test at the local testing center.
Where Do I Take the GED Tests?
You can only take the tests on site at an ACE-approved testing center. There are more than 3,400 testing centers around the country. Check with your local Adult Education program to find the GED testing center closest to you.
While there are many free resources to help you prep for GED tests, you must pay to take the tests. The cost varies widely by state and can also differ from one testing center to another in the same state.
If you had a documented learning disability in school, notify your testing center. They may provide some accommodations for your test-taking. You will have to submit a request for accommodations, depending on the type of disability.
Warning! Warning! Warning!
You CANNOT take your official GED tests online. Please do not give money to an online site that promises GED testing and certification. They will rip you off.
What if I don't pass a GED test?
Don't get down on yourself! About 30% of candidates do not pass one or more of the tests. You do not have to retake all the testa. You can retest in the content area you need twice more in one year. You may have to pay an additional fee to re-take a test.
Your chances of passing are much greater if you take and pass at least two official practice tests (OPT) for each content area.
Determine your area(s) of weakness from your test results. Then study that topic more, take and pass two official practice tests in that subject, then try again.
What are the requirements for a HSE certificate or diploma?
Once you have passed your GED tests, you may need to complete other requirements to get your HSE diploma. These vary by state. For example, Illinois requires that you pass an exam in US and state government, as well as the GED.
Some states permit students as young as 16 to take the GED tests. Others require you to be at least 18 years old. Check your state's education website to find out if you meet the requirements. Then apply for your diploma!