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Why You Should Obtain Your GED & How to Do It

written by: Ashley Hansen • edited by: Noreen Gunnell • updated: 1/6/2012

The absence of a high school diploma can seriously work against you when looking for jobs or applying to colleges. Consider getting your GED to open up new opportunities, and to provide for yourself and your family.

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    An Intro to the GED

    The acronym GED stands for "General Education Development." The GED exam was developed to test whether an individual's knowledge is equal or superior to that of most high school graduates. In most cases, the GED is accepted as an equivalent of a high school diploma. Most employers and colleges will accept a passing GED score the same way they would accept a diploma. Getting your GED is a great option for those who chose to leave high school early or had other complications that led to an unfinished high school career.

    The GED exam covers five major knowledge areas: science, math, social studies, reading and writing. All the sections are multiple choice, except for the essay included at the end of the writing section. The test takes over seven hours to complete. Most test-takers study in the weeks or months leading up to the exam date. In addition to individual studying, there are test prep classes, study guides and online sample questions to help you prepare for the test.

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    Why Should I Take the GED?

    In short, a GED opens up a wider range of opportunities in life. You have the option to go to college. You can get a better job. Your confidence will be boosted and you'll be prepared to try new things. These benefits alone are enough to make many individuals set aside the time to study and take the GED exam. Check out these additional statistics on GED graduates collected from www.kcc.edu:

    • Those who pass the GED generally earn $2,040 more each year than high school dropouts.
    • GED graduates are more likely to be employed full-time than high school dropouts.
    • About half of GED graduates attend college after earning their GED credentials.

    Many people don't realize how widely accepted a GED credential is; don't let that misconception hold you back from taking the test. Tthe Americal Council on Education reports that 98% of all colleges and universities accept a passing GED score. Employers are also very accepting of the GED; 96% of companies that require a high school diploma for a job will also accept applicants with a GED credential.

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    How to Take the First Step

    If you've decided that getting your GED is right for you, contact the GED Testing Service website at www.gedtest.org. On the website, you'll find a list of over 3,000 testing centers. Locate the testing center nearest to you and choose a date to schedule your test. You'll have to pay the test fees and complete the registration kit sent to you in the mail, but after that you just need to study and get ready for the test day. Getting your GED will take a little work, but in the long run it will pay off in terms of earning potential, educational choices and job opportunities.