The Computerized GED Test Format and the Skills Required

By Murray Shukyn, Dale E. Shuttleworth, Achim K. Krull

The GED test is administered on a computer. That means you need to be familiar with a computer, keyboard, and mouse. If you haven’t taken a test on a computer before, here are a few differences that you should be aware of:

  • Typing skills are an asset. You don’t have to be a touch typist or be able to type 90 words a minute, but you must be familiar and comfortable with a keyboard. You must also know how to use a mouse to click on answers, drag and drop answer choices, and use drop-down menus.

    When you’re answering the Extended Response (the essay), you need to know how to use a mouse to cut and paste content from the source text to your essay. This is especially important if you want to use quotes from the source text.

    The Internet is a great source for free instructions such as basic computer tutorials and how to learn typing.

  • Test materials can be presented in color. In the Science and Social Studies tests, maps, charts, and tables will be in color. This allows for more complex materials to be presented.

  • Source texts may cover more than one screen. Watch for the scroll bars on the side of the screen or tabs at the top of the screen that shows you when there’s more than one page of information to read.

  • Only one question is presented on-screen at a time. Working on questions one at a time may make it a little more difficult to go back over your work and find questions you skipped. Use the erasable tablet provided to make notes and write down the question number of those items you want to go back to. Check out a few test item samples from the GED Testing Service.

  • Reading words on-screen is different from reading words on paper. You can’t highlight key points or underline key words on a screen the way you would on paper, which may make remembering important points more difficult. Make use of the erasable tablet to help you.

  • The GED test is constantly changing. As the GED Testing Service gains experience with the current test, it will revise questions, timing, scoring, and general format. Be sure to go to the official GED website before you take the test so you have the latest information.