Students may want to “test out” of high school for a number of reasons. Gifted students may wish to proceed directly to more challenging courses of study at college. Teens who need to support their families financially might wish to begin a career. Young adults who receive home-schooling might have finished coursework early. The American Council on Education administers the General Educational Development tests, a series of five exams that confer a high school graduate equivalency on any individual who passes the exams. Students who meet the requirement of their state can take the GED to test out of high school.

Step 1

Contact the Department of Education of your state to determine if you or your child is eligible to take the GED exams. These requirements can differ by age and residency restrictions, among other factors, such as employment or incarceration. For example, Massachusetts requires students who are 16 or 17 to obtain an “official letter of withdraw” from their local high school whereas Vermont permits any student 16 or older to take the GED and “test out” of high school with their parents’ permission.

Step 2

Fulfill the requirements of your particular state to register for the GED. For instance, Arkansas requires that home-schooled students who wish to take the GED must obtain and provide a notarized letter that certifies that their parents intend to instruct them at home. Vermont only requires that students and their parents fill out a permission form at the registration center.

Step 3

Study for the sections of the GED you want to take. The exam consists of five sections: Writing, Reading, Science, Mathematics and Social Studies. A number of educational companies produce study guides and sample exams that will help you prepare for the GED.

Step 4

Register to take one or more sections of the GED exam at a testing center near you. You can register in one of two ways: register directly at the testing site or complete a preliminary registration at If you choose to pre-register, you will still need to print out the “Proof of Registration” and take it with you to the testing center on the date of the exam.

Step 5

Take a pen, pencil, eraser, proof of identification and form of payment to the testing center on the date of the exam.

Step 6

Take and pass all five sections of the GED. To pass the GED, you must earn a total score of 2,250 points, or an average of 450 points out of 800, per section of the exam without scoring lower than 410 points on any individual section. Students who pass receive a certificate of high-school equivalency and no longer need to attend high school.