GED/HSED Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ about GED/HSED Tests

Q. What are the new GED Tests?
A. The GED is an option for adults who did not complete high school to obtain an equivalency diploma.  The 2014 GED exams consist of 4 timed tests taken on a computer.  For more detailed information regarding these 4 tests: GED/HSED info page

Q. What is the difference between the GED and HSED?
A. The GED is accepted by most employers, technical colleges and community colleges. Some employers, universities and branches of the military, however require a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED). An HSED includes the 4 GED exams and 2 other requirements; Health and Civics. For more detailed information regarding the HSED exams and requirements: GED/HSED info page

Q. What is the GED test format?
A. The tests are only offered on a computer.

Q. How long does it take to get my GED or HSED?
A. This will vary student to student.  Much will depend on what grade you dropped out of, how long it’s been since you were in school, and what you have been doing in that time.  How much time you dedicate to studying for the tests will also shorten the total time it takes to obtain your diploma. Some students can pass all 4 exams in 1 month where other students will take up to 1 year or possibly longer to finish.

Q. Is keyboarding speed a big issue for the 2014 tests?
 A. Yes.  Frequent typing practice is recommended as part of your study plan for the GED tests.

Q. What is a passing score on each test?
 A. Each test is worth up to 200 points and a passing score is 150 on each of the 4 tests.  A cumulative score of 600 points is needed to earn a GED Certificate.

Q. How many retakes do I get if I don’t pass the first time?
 A. Every calendar year (Jan-Dec) you will be allowed up to 4 retakes.  For the first 2 retakes, you will have to wait 30 days between testing times.  For every additional retake, you must wait 60 days between testing. 

Q. How do I start my GED?
A. Obtaining a GED/HSED in Madison & Obtaining a GED at a Regional Campus

Q. Are accommodations available for the GED exams?
 A. Yes.  Please contact Disability Resource Services for more information.

Q. What is the cost for the GED?
A. The cost for obtaining your GED is $135.00.  This includes the 4 GED exams ($30.oo per test) and a diploma fee ($15.00).   The HSED has an additional cost for the health and civics exams ($5 each).  Retest fees are applicable if a passing score is not obtained the first time the test is taken.  For the GED, fees are paid by voucher, credit or debit card when making your testing appointment online at   A limited number of GED vouchers are available if the payment of the test fees would present a substantial financial hardship.  Financial hardships are determined by an application process and verified by the Testing Office.  If you have questions about whether you would meet the criteria and qualify for financial assistance, please call the Madison College Testing Center at (608)246-5220.

Q. Who issues me my GED or HSED Diploma?
 A. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instrction (DPI) issues all GED and HSED Diploma and Transcript. Request a GED/HSED Transcript 

Q. What is Pearson VUE?
A. Pearson VUE is a part of Pearson plc, a $9 billion corporation that is the largest commercial testing company and education publisher in the world.  Pearson VUE is now the entity in charge of all GED testing, GED scoring  and GED transcripts. In addition to GED testing, Pearson VUE delivers millions of other high-stakes tests across the globe for clients in the licensure, certification, academic admissions, regulatory, and government testing service markets. It boasts the world’s leading test center network, with over 5,100 test centers in 175 countries.   Please review the requirements of the Pearson VUE GED Testing Center at Madison College.  

Q. (Spanish) Qué debo hacer para tomar el Pre-Test para GED en español?
 A. Para poder asistir a las sesiones “Pre-Test” y tomar el examen de admisión para las clases de GED en español es necesario reunirse con un consejero de Madison College, el cual le explicará cuáles son los pasos correctos para que usted cumpla sus metas educativas. Usted puede hacer una cita con uno de nuestros consejeros comunicándose con el programa HEP al número de teléfono: (608) 259-2977.

FAQ about GED Classes

Q. Do I need to take classes?
 A. Although taking GED prep classes are not required, they are encouraged and have  been proven to help pass the GED tests.

Q. Where can I take GED classes?
A. GED preparation classes are offered at 3 Madison College Metro Campuses (Commercial, Downtown, & South) as well as at each Madison College Regional Campus (Fort Atkinson, Portage, Reedsburg & Watertown) in the Adult Learning Centers

Q. When do classes start?
A. GED preparation classes are offered for sessions of 6 weeks, 8 weeks and/or 16 weeks depending on the semester.  You can enroll for classes at a Pre-Test TABE session.

  • Summer Semester: Begins June 1st (Tier 1, Tier 2 courses), June 22nd (Tier 3 GED Academy) 2015
  • Fall Semester: August 31st, 2015- December 18th, 2015
  • Spring Semester: January 19th, 2016- May 13th, 2016

Q. When will the classes meet?
 A. GED preparation classes are offered during the week either in the morning, afternoon and in the evening. 

Q. Do I have to attend every class?
 A. Our GED classes are designed for adults and we understand the life responsibilities of our students and their need for flexibility in our GED classes.  To achieve the goal of successfully passing each of the 4 GED exams, consistent class attendance is very important.  It is expected that you attend every class you can and that you communicate with your teacher when you will miss a class.  

Q. Do I have to pay for GED classes?
 A. GED classes are FREE but you will be responsible for paying for your own GED exams.  If you need assistance with paying for your GED exams, please ask a staff member for potential scholarship options.

Q. Do I have to take the 4 computer based GED exams to get my equivalency?
A. There is one other option to taking the GED exams.  A competency based HSED option 5.09 does not require taking and passing the 4 timed GED exams.