The GED is a set of five subject tests that must be passed in order to receive a "Certificate of General Educational Development" or similarly titled credential certificate.  The American Council on Education is the sole developer for the GED test and is offered in each state.  Only individuals who have not earned a high school diploma may take the GED tests.

The GED includes five tests:

Language Arts: Writing
Social Studies
Language Arts: Reading
There are more than 3,200 GED Testing Centers that must administer the same testing standards specified by the ACE (American Council of Education).  In addition, each state has their own set of guidelines and requirements that students must meet in order to be eligible to take the GED exam. 

In most states, students must earn a minimum score of 410 on each of the five tests, as well as an overall average of 450 or above.  If a student passes one or more but not all five tests, the individual will only have to retake the testing sections that weren’t passed. Most places limit the number of times students may take each individual test within a year. A student may encounter a waiting period before being allowed to retake a failed test. Tests must be completed by the expiration date, which is generally every 2 years on the last day of the year.
Many government institutions and universities regard the GED as the same as a high school diploma with respect to program eligibility and as a prerequisite for admissions.  Employers also consider a GED the same as a high school diploma, which allows many individuals that did not finish high school to still apply for a particular job, since they have a GED.

The GED cannot be taken online, but there are great GED prep courses online that can help you prepare for the GED exam.  The GED can only be taken at one of the 2,300 official GED testing sites across the United States.  There are many companies only offering GED Prep courses that offer individuals the opportunity to know what will be on the actual exam and to practice actual past questions that were on the GED exam.  A prep course is great if you want to better familiarize yourself with the test, but it is not mandatory to take.

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