What Subjects Are on the GED? [2024 Guide]

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What subjects are on the GED? You may be wondering about this if you’re getting ready to take the GED test.

What Subjects Are on the GED

Passing the GED is a way to earn a high school equivalency credential if you didn’t get a high school diploma. It’s broken up into four different subjects, each with their own exam.

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Before taking the test, it’s strategic to familiarize yourself with the different topics that will be covered in each section, so you know what to study and are prepared to take the exam.

What Subjects Are on the GED Test?

Before taking the GED, it’s helpful to have an idea of what subjects you can expect to see. Click on each subject to give you a deeper understanding of each field.

Once you understand what the test will entail, you can plan your studying around these subjects.

Mathematical Reasoning

students studying Math in GED class

The mathematical reasoning part of the GED covers the following topics:

  • Basic math
  • Geometry
  • Algebra
  • Graphs and functions

The proctors of the exam will give you a sheet with formulas, so you won’t have to memorize them, along with a calculator.

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In addition to the topics above, this test requires you to problem-solve using a variety of mathematical concepts. This is a two-part exam that will take a total of 115 minutes to complete. You’ll get a three-minute break between each part.

Reasoning Through Language Arts

students taking reasoning through language arts exam

The reasoning through language arts part of the GED includes questions about these topics:

  • Grammar
  • Language
  • Identifying and creating arguments
  • Reading for meaning

This section of the GED involves one written essay, along with multiple choice and other types of questions. There are three parts total to this subject exam.

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You’ll analyze passages and write an explanation for which one has a more convincing argument. The reasoning through language arts exam will last for 150 minutes, and you’ll get a 10-minute break between the second and third part.

Social Studies

students answering social studies section of the GED exam

The social studies section of the GED covers the following topics:

  • Analyzing historical events and arguments in social studies
  • Reading for meaning in social studies
  • Using numbers and graphs in social studies

The social studies part of the GED requires test takers to read data, apply concepts about American social studies, and use critical thinking to draw conclusions about the data presented. The focus is on analyzing information instead of memorizing historical facts.

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There is only one part to the social studies exam, and it lasts for 70 minutes. You won’t get any breaks, but you will get an on-screen calculator.


students studying Science for the GED test

The science section of the GED includes questions on the following topics:

  • Reading for meaning in science
  • Designing and interpreting science experiments
  • Using numbers and graphs in science

Just like with the social studies part of the test, the focus of the science section is not on memorization but on analyzing and interpreting information. You’ll look at graphs and charts and use your findings to come up with your own conclusions.

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The science section is a one-part, 90-minute exam that doesn’t include a break. You’ll get a calculator to help you answer the questions, which will be in multiple choice or another question format.

What Is a GED?

Adult people taking the GED exam

A General Educational Development (GED) is a test that people can take to earn a high school-level credential. If you were close to receiving your high school diploma but didn’t end up graduating, you may be able to take the GED instead to show you have the equivalent of a high school education.

Students 16 years or older are eligible to take the GED. When taking the test, you’ll sit down for four separate parts: mathematical reasoning, reasoning through language arts, social studies, and science. In order to earn your credential, it’s necessary to receive a minimum score in each of the four subjects.

What Is on the GED Test?

students attending GED classes

When taking the GED test, you’ll have exams in the following subjects:

  • Mathematical Reasoning. You’ll apply concepts from algebra, geometry, basic math, graphs, and functions to solve problems.
  • Reasoning Through Language Arts. This section will test your ability to analyze the discourse in two passages and draw your own conclusions.
  • Social Studies. You’ll use critical thinking and data analysis to examine historical events and arguments.
  • Science. This section will test your ability to look at data from science experiments and come up with your own interpretations.

It’s necessary to complete and pass all 4 subject tests to finish taking the GED.

How Long Is the GED Test?

People taking the GED test

According to what’s on the GED test, this is the range of how long each section takes:

  • Mathematical Reasoning: 115 minutes, including one 3-minute break
  • Reasoning Through Language Arts: 150 minutes, including one 10-minute break
  • Social Studies: 70 minutes
  • Science: 90 minutes

How long does it take to get a GED? If you take all the exams one after the other, the GED will take a little over 7 hours to complete. You can also spread them out a few weeks apart, in which case it can take a few months to complete the entire test.

Is the GED Test Hard?

Man taking the GED test

The GED test subjects include mathematical reasoning, reasoning through language arts, social studies, and science. While the focus of all these sections is not on memorization, you’re required to analyze information and effectively communicate your findings.

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The GED subjects are designed to test your knowledge of information needed to complete a high school equivalency credential. Typically, students spend 3 months or less going through a GED study guide and preparing themselves to take the exams.

What Score Do You Need to Pass the GED?

Woman solving a Math problem on the GED test

Each section of the GED is scored between 100 and 200 points. In order to pass each section and earn a GED, it’s necessary to get at least a score of 145 on each section. Anything from 100 to 144 points is considered below a GED passing score.

If you get between a 165 and 174 on each section of the GED, you’ll have earned what is considered a college ready score. This means the GED testing organization believes you are prepared to take college-level courses.

How Many Times Can You Take the GED Test?

student re-taking the GED Test

If you don’t pass the GED on the first try, it is possible to retake the test. If you didn’t pass just one subject test of the overall exam, you can retake just that specific section. It’s also free to give the test another shot.

The number of times you can retake the test varies by state. Many states let you retake the test right away, but after three attempts, there’s a wait before you can try again. Before retaking a test, it’s helpful to look up the policies that apply to your state.

How Much Does a GED Cost?

students taking GED test

The cost of taking the GED varies by state. In general, you can expect to pay between $30 and $40 for each of the four subject sections, so the entire GED exam may cost between $120 and $160.

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The test may also be free in some states, or it may be more than the above price. To figure out the exact cost of your potential GED, you can look up the price of taking the GED exam in your state.

Getting Your GED Online

student getting her GED online

If you didn’t receive your high school diploma, you may want to look into taking the GED. Is a GED the same as a high school diploma?

If you pass the GED exam, you’ll have earned a high school equivalency credential and will have demonstrated that you possess the knowledge of a high school-level education. You can either pursue careers with just a GED or a college degree from online universities that accept the GED for admission.

There are four GED test subjects, and completing the overall exam requires taking a different test in each one. You can schedule them all for the same day or take them separately over the course of a few months.

To get started toward taking the GED online or in person, you can look up testing requirements, costs, and other information specific to your state.

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Stephanie Friedman
Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine and a Certificate in Journalism and Newswriting from New York University. Stephanie focuses on researching affordable education opportunities, non-traditional career paths, and online learning.