GED TEST - Pennsylvania High School Equivalency Diploma

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the GED test?  The Tests of General Educational Development were developed in 1942 to certify a high school level of academic skills for those people who did not graduate from high school. They were originally used to test veterans of World War II to determine whether returning GIs were qualified to attend higher education institutions. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, 11 Canadian provinces, and the U.S. insular areas and freely associated states use the GED tests as a basis for awarding high school equivalency credentials. Most U.S. employers consider the GED credential in the same manner as a high school diploma. Almost all U.S. colleges and universities accept the GED transcript for admissions purposes. GED tests are available in English, French, and Spanish versions.

Who is eligible to take the GED in Pennsylvania?

If you are 18 years old or older, you must meet the following criteria to take the GED tests in Pennsylvania:

  • Are a resident of Pennsylvania Have not graduated from high school or received a high school diploma or equivalency certificate Are not enrolled in a public, licensed private, registered accredited, or licensed nonpublic secondary school
  • Can provide necessary documentation to prove your identity

If you are 16 or 17 years of age, you must meet the above criteria and also provide written verification from your school superintendent or principal stating that you are withdrawn from school. In addition, you must provide a letter from one of the following:

  • A letter from an employer stating that you must pass the GED tests in order to gain or maintain employment A letter from a college or postsecondary training institution stating that passing GED test scores are required for enrollment A letter from a branch of the Armed Services stating that passing GED test scores are necessary for induction
  • A letter requesting GED scores from the director of a state institution in which you are a resident, patient or inmate

These letters must be written on company/school letterhead and signed by the appropriate staff.Persons 16 years old and older who are under the direction of correctional facilities or parole/probation offices are eligible to take the GED tests while enrolled in school, if so ordered by a court.

No persons under the age of 16 are eligible to take the GED tests in Pennsylvania.

What is the GED diploma?

Pennsylvania issues the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma to all candidates who successfully complete the GED tests.

Some school districts may exchange the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma for a high school diploma. Interested applicants must contact their school district directly.

What is the minimum passing score?

Pennsylvania requires a passing score of 2250 total points on all five GED tests. Each test score can be no lower than 410 points. If you receive at least 410 on each of the five tests but do not receive a total score of 2250, you may retest on any of the tests to achieve the points necessary for a 2250 total score.

Is retesting allowed?

Applicants may retest any test they do not pass. An applicant may take each test only three times a year because there are only three different forms of the tests. It is at the discretion of the Chief Examiner to determine the frequency of testing and retesting. Applicants are encouraged to attend GED preparation classes prior to retesting.

How do I get a diploma?

Upon a candidate’s successful completion of the GED test, the Pennsylvania Department of Education will issue a Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma. Only one diploma will be issued per candidate; duplicate diplomas are not issued. The diploma will be sent to the address the applicant provides. Transcripts are issued with diplomas and can be re-issued upon request. Candidates who take the GED tests before turning 18 years old will be issued diploma on their 18th birthday.

Where can I take the test?

The test is given at over 150 sites throughout Pennsylvania. You can find a GED test center near you by clicking GED test center locator.

Is the GED test available online?

There are no online GED testing programs recognized by the GED Testing Service of the American Council of Education or by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Authentic Commonwealth Secondary School Diplomas earned by passing the GED tests in Pennsylvania are only issued by the GED office of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Where can I prepare to take the test?

Free GED preparation classes are available throughout the state. Look at the map of Pennsylvania at right and click in the area where you live. You will need to inquire about specific class times and locations.

You also can prepare for your GED outside of the classroom using the Internet, workbooks, and/or videos. This is a good option for people who cannot attend a class due to family obligations, transportation issues, or work schedules, or for people who prefer not to attend class. For more information, go to Distance Learning.

How can I get a copy of my transcript?

Individuals who have passed the GED tests may fill out a GED transcript request form online, then mail in the form and $3.00 fee per transcript in the form of a money order. The $3.00 fee is nonrefundable. Click here for online request form. Requests for GED transcripts MUST be accompanied by a money order for $3.00 per transcript made out to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Money orders for an amount other than $3.00 per transcript, as well as personal checks and cash, are not accepted.  
Transcripts can be picked up at the GED office in Harrisburg. With the $3.00 money order and a photo ID, a transcript can be issued while you wait. Duplicate diplomas are not issued. When sending a request, please include:
  • Name at time of testing Approximate year of testing Birth date Social security number Address where transcript is to be sent Phone number where you can be reached during the day $3.00 money order or cashier's check for each transcript
  • Signature

Mail to:

Commonwealth Diploma Program
333 Market Street, 12th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17126

Are there accommodations for taking the tests? If you have a physical, mental, emotional, or learning disability that makes it difficult for you to take the GED tests, you may request special testing accommodations. Ask your test examiner for the appropriate request form and instructions. Each request is considered on an individual basis.  
There are also accommodations that do not need prior approval. Before test day, inform the GED examiner if you want to use any of these accommodations. They include:
  • Large print tests Colored transparent overlays Clear transparent overlays and a highlighter "Sticky" notes (for example, Post-It® Notes) for spatial directions Earplugs Magnifying devices Priority seating One test per day Straightedge Request to wear a cap or hat to limit the effects of fluorescent lighting
  • Graph paper
These accommodations do not need prior approval because they do not affect the test administration or interpretation. You should practice using these accommodations before you test.