get a ged

How Long Does it Take to Get a GED?

You should plan on taking about three months to prepare for and take the GED. That being said, the amount of time it will actually take you depends on a few things:


When/where are you taking the GED?

When and where you plan to take the GED will play a part in how early you need to sign up. If it’s a smaller testing center with few seats and/or few test days, you’ll need to plan your GED test date farther in advance than if it’s a large testing center with many test dates. If you have a busy schedule that doesn’t line up with your testing center’s GED schedule, you might have to schedule your GED test date for farther in advance than you’d originally planned. And, some states don’t have any GED testing centers, meaning that you’ll need to plan a trip to a neighboring state in order to take the GED.

Are you taking a prep course?

Some states require that you take a prep course before taking the GED. If you live in a state that does not require a GED prep course, keep in mind that the GED Testing Service highly recommends taking one before you test whether or not it’s required. Depending on the duration of the prep course you sign up for, your preparation and planning time might stretch beyond three months.

How familiar are you with the content?

If you need to brush up on every subject tested on the GED, you might want to give yourself some extra study time. But if you’ve attended high school classes recently or have a good handle on the math, language arts, social studies, and science that will be tested on the exam, you might be able to prepare for and take the GED more quickly.

Below are some of the topics you’ll need to be comfortable with for each section of the GED. Keep in mind that if you see topics on this list that you’re unfamiliar with, it’s better to practice now, even if it means taking the GED later, than to rush your testing and get a score you’re unhappy with. *Note: this is not an exhaustive list; check out Kaplan’s GED prep book for a more in-depth look at the knowledge and skills you’ll need to ace the GED.

Reasoning Through Language Arts

You should be able to:

  • Draw reasonable conclusions from texts
  • Assess an author’s tone, point of view, and the effectiveness of their argument
  • Identify the purpose, main idea, and supporting evidence of a text
  • Identify various plot elements in a text
  • Identify symbols and themes in a text
  • Write clear, concise, and grammatically correct sentences
  • Organize ideas into sentences, paragraphs, and essays
  • Write a strong thesis statement

You should know about:

  • English grammar rules surrounding parts of speech, punctuation, etc.
  • Literary devices and plot elements
Mathematical Reasoning

You should be able to:

  • Use a scientific calculator
  • Solve problems and write answers using decimals, fractions, and scientific notation
  • Read tables and graphs (including but not limited to line graphs, pictographs, bar graphs, circle graphs, frequency tables, line plots, histograms)
  • Use the order of operations
  • Simplify, add, subtract, multiply, and divide polynomials
  • Determine the perimeter and area of a 2D shape
  • Determine the volume and surface area of a 3D shape
  • Graph a line, determine a line’s slope
  • Solve problems using the quadratic equation
  • Solve problems involving probability, combinations, and permutations
Social Studies

You should be able to:

  • Analyze historical texts, including assessment of point of view, argument, and evidence
  • Interpret historical data and statistics
  • Identify the cause and effect of major historical events

You should know about:

  • World exploration, colonization, and the American Revolution
  • Westward expansion, the Civil War, and Reconstruction
  • Industrialization, immigration, and the Progressive Era
  • The Cold War and the Civil Rights Era
  • The historical foundations of the U.S. government
  • The anatomy of the U.S. government
  • The U.S. economic system
  • Humans and the environment, including resource management

You should be able to:

  • Use the scientific method
  • Apply statistical knowledge to scientific problems

You should know about:

  • Cell structures, functions, processes, energy
  • Human body systems
  • Reproduction, heredity, genetics
  • Evolution and Natural Selection
  • The Structure of Earth
  • Weather and climate
  • The Solar System
  • Properties and states of matter
  • Chemical reactions
  • Momentum, forces
  • Electricity and magnetism

You should take a practice GED before you schedule your actual exam. This will give you a realistic look at how you’ll do on the GED, and you’ll be able to tell whether or not you need more study time. Remember: if you’re not happy with your score on the practice test, you probably won’t be happy with your score on the actual GED without studying more. Use your practice test score to help you determine whether or not you’re ready for the GED, and schedule your test accordingly.

Need some help studying for the GED? Kaplan can help.