A GED (General Educational Development) diploma is earned upon the successful completion of tests in writing, reading, social studies, science and mathematics. These multiple choice tests measure a person's ability to read and process information, solve problems and communicate effectively. The GED diploma is issued by the Iowa Department of Education.
- Writing – This test take two hours to complete. It consists of two parts. It tests the conventions of English such as sentence structure, usage and mechanics. The other part is a written essay on a topic familiar to adults.
- Social Studies – This test takes 70 minutes to finish. It covers government, United States history, world history, geography and economics.
- Science – This test takes 80 minutes to complete. It covers life sciences and physical science.
- Reading – This test take 65 minutes to complete. It covers popular literature, classical literature and commentary.
- Mathematics – This test has two parts. Each one takes 45 minutes to finish. It covers arithmetic, algebra and geometry. A calculator can be used during part one of the test and will be provided at that time. Calculators are not allowed during part two.
The five GED examinations are taken one at a time. The math and writing tests must be taken among the first four tests. A GED candidate will be allowed a period of two years in which to complete the entire GED test battery. The two-year time frame begins on the date the first test is administered and includes all initial tests and retest sessions. If the GED candidate does not complete the GED test battery within the two-year period, the final test scores become invalid. The candidate will need to reapply and may need to repeat the entire testing process. Test fees will be required upon reapplication.
The GED Testing Service provides accommodations for students who experience learning disabilites that interfere with their ability to be successful when taking the GED tests under standard testing conditions. Documentation of a learning disability is required.