A general education diploma, or GED, is issued by a state and is considered equivalent to a high school diploma. To pass the GED test, you must score higher than 60 percent of graduating seniors.

Purpose

The purpose of obtaining a GED is to show high school equivalency when a formal education has not been completed.

Test Structure

In order to earn a certificate, you must pass a test that covers five academic areas: writing, reading, mathematics, science and social studies. Each section is tested separately. The test is only offered in person at specified sites.

Statistics

Since 1943, more than 14 million people have earned a GED, according to the American Council on Education. Ninety-eight percent of colleges and universities, and 96 percent of employers will accept a GED in place of a high school diploma.

Appearance

The certificate looks different depending on the state where it is issued. It can range in size from 5x7 inches to 8 1/2x11 inches. It is either beige or white. A GED contains the state seal, date of completion, recipient's name and the signature of the state's superintendent of education.

Caution

You cannot earn a GED through the Internet. Research the issuer of the certificate to ensure it is an accredited program.