Earning the GED® Credential Later in Life

It is never too late for you to earn your GED® credential. Though the average age of GED® credential recipients is 24, there is no reason that you cannot take the test later on in life. However, because you have likely been out of school for many years, you will need to study in order to pass the GED® test. Depending on where you live, you might have to take and pass a practice test before you can even take the official exam.

High Failure Rate
According to American RadioWorks, just over half of all test takers pass the GED® in most states. This means that preparation is important to passing the test. When the predecessor to the GED® exam was introduced in 1942, it was too easy according to some critics. Over the years since, the test has expanded and evolved into what it is today. The test supposedly requires the skills equivalent of a senior in high school, but the test itself only tests knowledge at a 10th-grade level. Even then, the failure rate is high in many areas of the country.

Steps for Success
Only one in eight dropouts continues on to earn their GED® credential later in life. This is a very small percentage, but there is a vast difference between the adult with a GED® credential and without one. Those who received their GED® credential made on average 21 percent more than those who did not; and more than 80 percent on those who held a GED® credential were in the labor force according to ParentsAssociation.com. You should strive for a GED® credential and pass it following the simple steps below.

1. Study, study, and study some more to pass the GED® exam. If you have been out of high school for a long time, it will take time to learn the skills needed to pass the test. Purchasing test prep books and using study guides will help you to pass the language arts and mathematics sections.

2. Take a GED® prep class if you still feel unprepared. Some states require you to take a course and pass the practice exam prior to taking the official test. This option will better prepare you for testing.

3. Learn to manage your time efficiently. You have a limited amount of time to take the GED® test, and all questions must have an answer, or they are marked incorrect. You have an average of 1.5 minutes to answer most questions on the test, except for math, where you have 1.8 minutes to answer each question.

4. Read each question fully. You must know how to eliminate answers quickly and how not to be fooled by trick questions. Look for overly complex answers and eliminate them. When two answers contradict one another, one is often correct. Often the correct answer is general and includes terms such as often, rarely, usually and generally.

5. Always have a positive outlook. Going into the exam thinking that you will fail often results in poor test scores. Having a positive attitude and outlook will help you to stay calm and focused during the test, leading to a higher score.

Earning the GED® credential later in life (or anytime) opens the door for you to gain a higher education. With a diploma in hand you can apply to a community college to gain an associate’s degree and later move on to gain a bachelor’s degree. This increases your earning potential and helps you to have a better future.


GED® is a registered trademark of the American Council on Education (ACE) and administered exclusively by GED Testing Service LLC under license. This material is not endorsed or approved by ACE or GED Testing Service.

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