For a variety of reasons, many Washingtonians did not graduate with a high school diploma. Yet they acquired the same skills and knowledge as those that did. Earning the Washington General Educational Development (GED) diploma is an excellent way to validate what you know while gaining access to the same employment and educational opportunities as those with high school diplomas. Here is a brief guide to the Washington GED Program.
Washington GED Exam Format
In 2003, over 20,000 people took the GED exam in Washington. The test is very challenging as evidenced by the fact that only 11,000 were able to successfully pass the exam that same year. However, the test is laid out simply enough. There are 240 multiple-choice test questions and one essay question. To pass the test, you must be knowledgeable in five subjects: reading, writing, science, social studies, and math; all subjects that high school students must study.
You will have a set amount of time to complete each section, about 45 to 90 minutes apiece. In total, the test will take 7.5 hours to complete. The test is available in three languages, English, French, and Spanish. Reasonable accommodations will be made for people with physical, psychological, and learning disabilities.
How is the Exam Scored?
Although each state has the freedom to set its own passing score, Washington state follows the standard scoring scale. To pass the GED exam, you must earn a score of 2250 or greater. This is an average of 450 per test. Any subtest that earns a score lower than 410 will be given a failing grade and you will have to take it again to pass the exam. Information about retesting can be obtained from an official Washington GED exam site or at the Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges website.
Who is Eligible to Take the WA GED Exam?
Individuals who meet one or more of the following eligibility requirements can take the GED exam in Washington:
- Persons 16 to 18 who are not enrolled or have not graduated from high school. The student must obtain a written approval from the last school district he or she attended.
- Persons 16 to 18 who have been homeschooled in compliance with RCW 28A.225.010. The person must submit a notarized permission form signed by his or her parents or guardians.
- Anyone 19 or older who have not graduated from high school or are currently enrolled in an accredited high school program.
- Active members of the military, national guard, or reserves
- Adjudicated youths in detention centers or other correctional facilities, under court order, or on parole or probation.
More information about eligibility requirements and the supplemental paperwork that must be filed can be obtained by contacting the nearest GED testing site.
Registering for the Test
To take the exam, you will need to submit an application and required paperwork to an official GED testing facility. You will need to show photo ID that has your address, birth date, and signature. The testing fee is $75 for all five tests and $15 per subtest. A list of testing centers can be found on the Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges website. (visit www.sbctc.ctc.edu)
How do I Prepare for the GED?
Your options for preparing for the GED exam include taking a preparatory course or independent study. GED prep courses are offered by community colleges and adult education centers. You can also find them online and through distance education programs. If you want to study on your own, you can purchase GED study materials from a bookstore or get them free from the library.