To pass the GED, you need to score a minimum of 150 on each section of the test, and you must pass each section of the test to earn your GED diploma. If you achieve a passing score, congratulate yourself: You've scored better than at least 40 percent of today's high-school graduates.And if your marks are in the honors range, you're ready for college or career training.

Be aware that some colleges require scores higher than the minimum passing score. If you plan to apply to postsecondary schools or some other form of continuing education, check with their admissions office for the minimum scores they accept.

How scores are determined

Correct answers may be worth one, two, or more points, depending on the item and the level of difficulty. The Extended Response (also known as “the essay”) is scored separately. However, the Extended Response is only part of the Reasoning Through Language Arts and Social Studies tests. On each portion of the test, you must accumulate a minimum of 150 points.

Because you don't lose points for incorrect answers, make sure you answer all the items on each test. After all, a guessed answer can get you a point. Leaving an answer blank, on the other hand, gives you only a zero.

What to do if you score poorly on one or more tests

If you discover that your score is less than 150 on any section of the test, start planning to retake the test(s) — and make sure you leave plenty of time for additional studying and preparing.

As soon as possible after seeing your results, contact your local GED test administrator to find out the rules for retaking the failed section of the test. Some states may ask that you wait a certain amount of time. Some may ask that you attend a preparation course and show that you've completed it before you can take the GED test again. Some may charge you an additional fee.

However, you need only retake those sections of the test that you failed. Any sections you pass are completed, and count toward your diploma. Furthermore, the detailed evaluation of your results will help you discover areas of weakness that need more work before redoing any portion of the test.

One advantage of taking the GED test on a computer is that you can receive, within a day, detailed feedback on how you did, which includes some specific recommendations of what you need to do to improve your scores.

No matter what score you receive on your first round of the section, don't be afraid to retake any section that you didn't pass. Now that you've taken it once, you know what you need to work on, and you know exactly what to expect on test day. Just take a deep breath, and get ready to prepare some more before you take your next round of tests.