Online High School Equivalency Prep Classes

Updated September 8, 2022

Online High School Equivalency Prep Classes

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Want to earn your high school equivalency diploma or GED online? While the actual exam must be taken in person, many schools and organizations offer programs online to help students prepare for the exam. Top online colleges and universities, for example, have expanded their course catalogues to include both hybrid and fully online GED classes, and accepting students without a GED. The 100% online option gives both traditional and non-traditional students the chance to study for the test in the most flexible of settings. The hybrid format combines the convenience of online study with the personal touch of face-to-face learning.

Format aside, every GED hopeful faces certain challenges on the path to exam completion. The following guide walks you through the key sections of the test, answers popular questions posed by test takers, offers tips and tricks, and lists high school equivalency and GED prep classes.

AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Find In-Person & Online GED Classes

Whether you choose to prep for your high school equivalency or GED online or in-person, finding the right program is key. Hundreds of schools, colleges and organizations offer prep classes for little or no cost. We have provided a small sampling of courses available below, but many more are available. Check with local colleges and universities to see what is offered, and do a quick internet search to find all your options.                          

Online GED Classes Tips & Tricks

Not all online GED classes are created equal. Before selecting a college and a program, it's important to know what to expect. Keep these tips, tricks, and warning signs in mind as you begin the process.

Step 1: Learning the Material

After selecting your test prep option, it's time to tackle the test itself. This starts with a basic understanding of how the exam works, followed by deeper dives into its four primary sections. Here's how the GED breaks down.

Mathematical Reasoning The mathematics portion of the exam evaluates your problem-solving, analytical, critical thinking, and procedural skills, and is split into 2 parts. Part 1 has 5 questions that test basic arithmetic skills. Part 2 contains an additional 41 questions. You may use a calculator on the second part only. There are 5 types of questions on the exam: multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, hotspot, drag and drop, and drop-down. Be prepared to answer questions concerning two- and three-dimensional figures, geometry, fractions, ratios, graphs and data analysis, averages, probability, and other standard mathematical concepts. With such a wide range of topics, a practice exam can be a critical tool in evaluating your mathematical strengths and weaknesses. Math section breakdown: Algebra, functions, and patterns: 20-30% Data analysis, statistics, and probability: 20-30% Measurement & geometry: 20-30% Number operations & number sense: 20-30% NOTE: You will be able to access a formula sheet on your testing computer, as well as a dry erase board and a marker.
Science The science portion of the GED covers aspects of physics, chemistry, biology, ecosystems, and astronomy. You evaluate data, graphs, make predictions based on evidence, and apply formulas from scientific theories, among other problem-solving processes. You can use a calculator (on-screen or a Texas Instruments TI-30XS Multiview Scientific) on some parts of the science exam. Questions in this section are multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, short answer, hot-spot, and drop-down formats. Science section breakdown: Earth and space science: 20% Life science: 40% Physical science: 40%
Social Studies On the social studies section of the GED, you need to read charts and graphs that display social data, and use that information to reason and interpret the questions at hand. Questions in this section are multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, short answer, hotspot, or drop-down. Keep in mind the social studies section is not a memorization-style test for which you can cram formulas and statistics. Knowledge of significant events in the following areas, and a basic understanding their impact on history and the present day, will be key: Social studies section breakdown: Civics & government: 50% Economics: 15% Geography: 15% U.S. history: 20% NOTE: This section of the exam is 70 minutes and 35 questions in length. You need a minimum score of 145 to pass this section.
Reasoning through Language Arts The reasoning through language arts section, also known as reading and writing, includes three main areas. First, you must answer questions based on written passages. Questions are designed to gauge how well you understand plot points or theses in materials you read. Second, you need to evaluate written text for grammar, spelling, and logic. Last, you compose extended responses to writing prompts based on passages and accompanying graphics or charts. Most students need to spend the majority of their study time on language content areas, such as sentence structure, punctuation, homonyms, possessives, and effective ways to construct an argument. When you compose your extended response, you need to develop an argument based on evidence from the text provided. NOTE: You will have 150 minutes to complete 46 questions.

Online GED Class FAQs

When considering an online GED class, a few important questions may come to mind. Here's a look at online class FAQs and how they could impact your GED journey.

How long does it take to get an online GED?

Online, self-paced GED preparation courses usually take 8 to 16 weeks to complete. According to the GED Testing Service, most students spend 3 months or less studying for the exam.

Should online GE classes be accredited?

Study programs that help you prepare for the GED exam do not necessarily have to be accredited, but it is highly recommended that they are classes recognized and approved by the GED Testing Service. The only approved at-home study program is the GED Academy.

How much does it cost to take online GED classes?

Both online self-paced and teacher-led classes run about $100-130 per student.

Is there help paying for online GED classes?

Scholarships that pay for your online GED preparation courses are available from organizations like the International Financial Aid Centerand from private scholarships programs.

How much time do I need to dedicate to studying for the GED exam?

Depending on the student, some online preparation programs suggest that, with the appropriate study materials, 15 or 30 minutes every day is sufficient. To be safe, you should plan on 1 hour of study time per day. [/accordion-minimal-item]

Are there any online preparation courses that are free?

Yes, there are numerous free course options available to you online. These preparation courses could be sufficient for you, but do your best to locate services that are credible, offered by recognized educational institutions, and have a positive track record.

Step 2: Taking the GED

You've completed your study program and mastered the material, now it's time to take the test. While not quite as easy as “sign-up and show-up”, you should be able to sit for the exam with minimal stress. Here's how the process works, from registering for the exam to completing it.

How to Sign Up for the Test

To sign up for the GED, go to GED.com and create an account. You can use its search engine to locate a testing center near you. Many of the approximately 3,000 testing centers across the United States are operated by community colleges, school boards, and adult education centers. On test day, arrive at least 30 minutes ahead of your scheduled time to allow for check-in procedures. All materials you need for the exam will be given to you at the testing center. Cell phones and unnecessary personal belongings are not allowed in the testing rooms.

Test Day: What It's Like

Each of the four sections of the exam has its own format, rules, and price. Prices vary by state and are usually $30-38 per section. For the math section, you have 115 minutes total, with a short break between its two parts. The science section takes 90 minutes and does not include breaks. The social studies section is 70 minutes and does not include breaks. Finally, the reasoning through language arts section is 3 parts, 150 minutes total, with a 10-minute break between parts 2 and 3. You also have 45 minutes to complete a written essay.

GED Test FAQs

Can I get my GED at home?

You cannot take the GED exam at home. The exam can only be taken in full, or by section, at official testing centers. Only preparation courses, practice exams, and other study materials may be completed at home.

Are online high school diplomas legitimate?

Some online high school diploma programs are legitimate. There are many scammers and diploma mills looking to take advantage of students, however. Any program that offers a diploma at a fee with little or no coursework should not be trusted. Legitimate online schools must meet at least minimum academic standards and should require you to pass a substantial amount of coursework for the diploma. Credible programs should also provide documentation on their accreditation. There are some well-known college and universities, for-profit online high school programs, and public or charter schools that offer high school diploma programs.

Is there help to pay for online GEDs?

You may be able to receive money to cover all or part of the GED testing fee. Funding usually comes from your employer (ask first) or from companies that work with your state's workforce commission or department of education. Many of these organizations or state departments provide free services and programs for students preparing to take the GED, including study programs and test-taking courses.

Step 3: Get Your Score & Plan Your Future

You've finished the exam, now what? It's common for students to fret over their scores and what they could mean for their future. There's the stress of waiting for the results, wondering if they're good enough, and not knowing how to get the right info to colleges. Here's a little GED guidance to help you after the exam.

Don't Worry…Scores Arrive Soon

Test results should arrive via email within 24 hours. In some cases, your exam may be flagged and require manual scoring and must be graded by a proctor. Manual scoring can cause delays up to 3 days. This process can also be delayed, depending on when your testing center uploads the information.

What Your Score Means

You need a score of 145 on each section to pass the GED exam. This is a great accomplishment and positions you to apply for colleges and advance your career in a degree-seeking program. A score between 165-174 on any section indicates you are ready to take college-level courses. A score of 175-200 on any subject is considered "college ready plus credit". In these cases, you may qualify for up to 10 college credit hours upon enrollment. These 10 credits are spread over the four sections, limiting you to 3 credits each in math, science, and social studies, and 1 credit in the humanities.

Sending Your Scores to Colleges

To send your GED results to colleges and universities, you must order your GED transcript, diploma, or certificate. You can do so at this GED test service site, as well as learn about state-specific directions for sending in your scores. If you send your transcript directly to a school, you may only have the option to send an electronic copy. Some schools prefer copies through snail mail, so be sure to check with the admissions office at your desired school to find out their preference. The cost for a GED transcript is $15 in all eligible states except Kansas, where the fee is $20.

Start Planning for the Future

A GED opens doors at multiple educational levels, as well as within a variety of popular career fields. In addition to education and experience, a GED can be a salary boost, as well. See how each path works with your exam score.

Great GED Resources

Council for Higher Education Accreditation

CHEA is one of the most up-to-date resources on accreditation in the United States. One of the handiest online tools provided here is CHEA's online database. Anyone can search its database to locate accredited colleges, universities, and other educational programs.

Balance Careers

Here you can find numerous resources for entering the workforce after obtaining your high school diploma or GED. This site includes a list of professional careers, along with detailed web pages for each position, that anyone with a GED can consider viable employment options.

Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

The Bureau of Labor statistics website offers specific details into careers and the professionals who occupy them in the United States. With its user-friendly search engine, you can explore dozens of career paths in minutes and find out what those professionals do, how you become one yourself, what they make, and what the projected growth rate over the next several years.

Essential Education – Spotting Fake Programs and Scams

This site provides additional resources and tips on how to best determine whether or not an online GED preparation program or online high school diploma is credible. While other sites on this topics will provide useful supplemental materials and links, the extended list of tips located here is in one convenient location.

GED Testing Centers Study Materials

Provided by the GED testing center website, you can find links to study guides and registration for online preparation courses in one convenient location. Follow this link and click on the "View [subject]" link at the bottom of any section for details.

Kaplan GED Study Guides

Kaplan is a for-profit company specializing in test preparation courses. Here you can locate self-paced or live instruction for the GED exam over the web. While their services are not cheap, you can rest assured that this trusted name in test preparation will give you a focused study routine and help you perform at your highest potential.

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