Best General Equivalency Degree Test Prep

Table of Contents

i. Introduction
ii. The Basics of GED Test Prep Courses
iii. What You Should Know Before Enrolling in a GED Prep Course
iv. How We Ranked the Best Online GED Prep Courses
v. The Best Online GED Prep Courses of 2017
vi. Our Top Picks
vii. How to Register for the GED Test
viii. What to Expect on Test Day
ix. How to Request Disability Accommodations
x. Full Methodology and Walkthrough

Introduction

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, higher levels of education translate to higher employment rates and higher lifetime earnings. On average, workers with a high school diploma experience an unemployment rate over two percent lower than those without and earn nearly $10,000 more per year. There are an estimated 30 million adults without a high school diploma living and working in the United States today. If you are one of those people, you should know that you aren’t doomed to a lifetime of fewer opportunities and lower pay checks. It’s never too late to get your diploma and the most popular way to do so is by taking the GED. The GED is a series of exams covering several key academic subjects. In effect, it is a cumulative test of everything you’re expected to learn in high school. Passing all of the tests earns you a certification equivalent to a traditional diploma. The GED process is fairly simple, but the test itself is not. In fact, you can argue that it is harder than it used to be. The GED was revamped in 2014 to more closely align with state and national college and career readiness standards. As high school graduation requirements become more challenging, so does the GED. To give yourself the best chance at passing the test you should enroll in some kind of GED prep course (your state might even require it before allowing you to take it). For non-traditional learners with busy work or family schedules, online courses are the most convenient option. The best online GED prep courses allow you to study at your own pace, on your time, while providing you with all of the content, practice tests, and personalized help you need to succeed.

Our recommendations

Since we know how important a GED can be to your future, we created this guide to identify the best online prep courses available.

Top Choice: GED Fast stands out as the top prep course due to its extensive selection of practice tests and easy access.

Runner Up: Kaplan ranks a close second thanks to the strongest course package of any company and solid practice test offerings.

Topics We’ll Cover in This Guide

The Basics of GED Test Prep Courses

What is the GED test?

GED stands for “General Educational Development.” It is a test developed by the American Council on Education to measure proficiency in high school-level science, mathematics, social studies, reading, and writing. For those who did not complete high school, the GED is a way to earn an equivalency credential in lieu of a diploma. Because of this, the GED is often commonly referred to as the “General Education Degree” or “General Education Diploma.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 13 million adults in this country have a GED certificate, so it is one of the most popular and viable options for those who never completed high school. It is also the only high school equivalency credential recognized in all 50 states.

How does the GED benefit you?

In addition to the personal satisfaction earning a diploma brings, the GED is also your ticket to a better job and more money. Studies conducted by the American Council of Education found that over 96% of employers accept GED credentials in place of a high school diploma. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with high school equivalency certification earn nearly $600,000 more in their lifetime than those without.

The GED is also the first step toward a college degree, should you choose to take that path. The same ACE study found that over 95% of colleges accept a GED to satisfy their admission requirements.

Test format

You are eligible to take the GED if you:

  • Are at least 18 years old or older
  • 16 or 17 with appropriate state paperwork granting a waiver
  • Are not enrolled in high school

The GED is offered in two languages, English and Spanish (in most states). It is computerized and must be taken in person at one of nearly 3,500 approved testing centers nationwide. It consists of four separate tests in the following subject areas:

The full test lasts about seven and a half hours. The timing of each subject area is as follows:

Test

Length

Reasoning Through Language Arts

150 minutes

  • Section 1: 35 minutes
  • Section 2: 45 minutes
  • Break: 10 minutes
  • Section 3: 60 minutes

Mathematical Reasoning

115 minutes

Social Studies

70 minutes

Science

90 minutes

The cost for the test varies by state, but the average is around $30 per subject. You don’t have to take all four subject tests in one sitting. You can schedule them separately and pay as you go. The GED Testing Service itself doesn’t enforce a timeframe in which all four tests must be completed, but some local areas do require that you finish all of them within a specific number of days from when you took the first. You can check the rules in your state at GED.com.

Depending on the hours at your testing center or the appointments available, you may not be able to take the complete test all at once. For example, some centers may only offer testing four hours a day, which wouldn’t leave you enough time to take all test parts in one sitting.

How does a GED prep course help you?

To pass the GED, you must earn a score of 145 out of 200 in each subject, which will require a firm grasp of all the concepts being tested and a complete understanding of the test format.

The best GED prep courses are self-paced programs that help you in both areas by providing:

Some courses also offer a money-back guarantee if you don’t pass the test.

What You Should Know Before Enrolling in a GED Prep Course

The GED Is not offered in every state

The GED isn’t just a test, it’s also the company administers it. Every state has a high school equivalency program and most of them use the GED are their establishing exam. However, a handful of states have opted for different companies and different tests in the last few years. Currently, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, and West Virginia don’t offer the GED. It is still officially recognized in those states as an equivalency degree, but you can no longer take the test there.

If you live in one of those states and would rather take the GED since it is the more established and accepted program, you will have to take it in a neighboring state that allows non-residents to test. You can find a list of those states at GED.com.

Make sure that you will actually be able to take the GED before enrolling in any prep course. You could end up spending time and money preparing for the wrong test if you’re forced to take an alternative one.

The test has changed

The GED test was overhauled in 2014. The new test is referred to as the 2014 Series GED. The previous version was the 2002 Series. There is still a lot of information and study materials floating around on the internet for the outdated 2002 series. There’s a chance that there are still some unreputable companies out there charging for courses developed for the old test. Before enrolling in any prep course, or buying any study guide, it’s important to make sure that it is for the 2014 Series GED.

Access to prep material is often limited

Many GED prep companies limit your access to a specific amount of time after you sign up, often just a few months. Once you hit that date, your “enrollment” expires and you won’t be able to access any course materials without reregistering. It’s important to have a clear test date in mind so you can ensure the course you’re interested in gives you sufficient time to prepare. If you’re going to take the test in six months, you probably shouldn’t enroll in a course that only gives you three months’ worth of guided study. Ideally, your prep would take you right up to test day.

Not every prep course is worth your money

There are a lot of GED prep sites and courses that do little more than copy and paste the resources that are freely available from GED Testing Services at GED.com. If you’re going to pay any company for GED prep, first compare all of their offerings to your free options to determine if the course has any real value before you sign up.

Features of great GED prep courses

How We Ranked the Best Online GED Prep Courses

List of contenders

We started our ranking by determining the master list of prep courses that we would compare. We used the following criteria to limit that number:

Applying that criteria gave us the following ten courses to research in-depth:


Core metrics

Our next step was to determine the most important features of online GED prep courses. We sorted these into four categories and used them as our “core metrics.” (Full explanations on why we chose these core metrics are explained in: Full Methodology and Metric Walkthrough)

  1. Course Package: How many lessons are included? How are they structured?
  2. Practice Tests: How many practice tests are available? Do they provide insights?
  3. Access: How much does the course cost? How long do you have access to course materials?
  4. Guarantee: Are you guaranteed a passing grade?

Sub-metrics

We then assigned sub-metrics to each core metric to allow for accurate scoring across the 10 courses. Each sub-metric was given a score between 0-10 (some were scaled between 0-10, while others were a “yes or no” answer which resulted in either a 0 or a 10). The sub-metrics were then averaged together to calculate the final core metric scores.

Here are the core metrics with each sub-metric attached:

Course Package

  1. Number of lessons: How many total lessons are included in the course?
  2. Self-paced: Can you work through the course on your own schedule?
  3. Interactive lessons: Are lessons more than blocks of text? Do they include slideshows, videos, interactive quizzes, etc.?
  4. Live tutoring: Do you have access to live help either by phone or through video chat?
  5. Email assistance: Do you have access to professional faculty via email?
  6. Additional study aids: Are additional tools like flashcards, message boards, and calculator tutorials included?
  7. Course books: Does the program include a full-length course book in addition to the interactive lessons?

Practice Tests

  1. Number of tests: How many total practice tests are included?
  2. Full-length tests: Are any of the practice tests full length?
  3. Timed tests: Are any of the practice tests timed to simulate real GED testing conditions?
  4. Diagnostic tools: Do the practice tests include diagnostic tools that highlight the specific areas you need to improve?

Access

  1. Price: How much does access to the course cost?
  2. Length of access: For how long does that price buy you access to the course materials?
  3. Free trial: Does the company offer either a temporary free trial of the complete course or free access to a limited number of materials?
  4. Mobile access: Does the course include an app for access on mobile devices? If no dedicated app, are lessons optimized for mobile viewing?

Guarantee

  1. Passing grade guarantee: Does the company offer a refund if you don’t pass your GED subject tests?

Overall GED prep course scoring

To get the overall score for each course, we weighted each core metric’s score and added them together. The reason for “weighting” the scores is to reflect the importance of each core metric. For instance, “course package” is more important than “access” because cheap and lengthy access doesn’t mean much if the actual course materials are of little value. We applied weights by assigning a percentage to each core metric, and then multiplying its score by the corresponding fraction. For example, a core metric that was weighted at 30% would have its score multiplied by 0.30. (Scoring details will be provided in the later section: Full Methodology and Metric Walkthrough)

Here are the assigned weights for our core metrics:

What we didn’t include in our metrics

Ease of use

Because different people have different levels of computer literacy, we decided that it would be impossible to objectively grade how easy it is to access and navigate each online course. What seemed simple for us might be difficult for you, and vice versa.

Drawbacks to our methodology

Differences in learning styles

Everyone learns in their own way. We can objectively measure the overall quality of an online GED prep course, but there is no way for us to measure how you will respond to the teaching. Our top recommended course may not work as well for you as a lower ranking one.

It’s for this reason that we included free trials in our metrics. Regardless of our recommendations, you should take advantage of any free lessons to see if the course is a good fit for your learning style.

Smaller sample size

Because we limited our review to courses available nationwide, we did not take into consideration courses offered by local high schools, community colleges, and adult learning centers. These programs are often low cost and some also include online learning components. Typically, they are only open to local residents who will be taking the test in that state, and therefore not relevant to a large number of readers.

The Best Online GED Prep Courses of 2017

Rank

Course Name

Score

#1

GED Fast

9.0

#2

Kaplan

8.7

#3

Essential Education

6.1

#4

Study.com

5.7

#5

KET Fast Forward

5.3

#6

DCS GED Prep

4.6

#7

Decrypting the GED

4.5

#8

ed2go

3.8

#9

Test Prep Toolkit

3.1

#10

Excel High School

2.6

Our Top Picks

GED Fast isn’t a household name like many of the large test prep companies who have dominated the market for years, but their product not only stands with the best of them, it bests the best of them. They offer a solid course package that comes with plenty of self-paced interactive lessons and a selection of practice tests that far exceeds the competition.

With GED Fast, “fast” is the operative word. Their course is designed to prepare you for the GED in as little as two weeks. They do that by emphasizing practice over lectures. They currently offer over 40 full-length practice tests, more than any other company by a wide margin. Each test you take is analyzed to pinpoint your problem areas. From there, further tests are customized to help you focus on those areas until you’ve mastered them.

It’s important to point out that, just because the program is designed to get you ready in a hurry, it doesn’t mean you need to feel rushed. You can still work at your own pace. Your fee buys lifetime access to the course, so you can take the GED two weeks after you sign up or two years after.

Over 10,000 students have signed up for the course so far and they have a 93.5% pass rate. In fact, GED Fast is so confident in their ability to help you pass the GED on your first try that they are one of only two companies in our review to offer a full money-back guarantee if you don’t pass. You have a lifetime of opportunity to gain and very little to lose with this course.

<

Kaplan has been an industry leader in both high school and college test prep for 75 years and their GED prep course illustrates why. Their expert curriculum coupled with leading technology is guaranteed to help you pass all four GED subject tests.

Kaplan offers the strongest overall course package in our review. Whereas our number one company, GED Fast, focuses more on repetitive practice, our second-place company favors a traditional, curriculum-based approach. Their course contains over 150 on-demand video lessons that cover all of the key concepts you will need to know on test day. They provide 24/7 email support from expert faculty members and are one of the few programs in our review to include a complete course book for further study.

Kaplan’s course doesn’t have as many practice tests as some competitors, but the ones they do offer are full-length, timed tests that simulate real GED testing conditions. They also come with extensive diagnostic scoring that analyzes each performance and coaches you on what you need to do in order to improve. In addition to the full tests, the interactive lessons and course book include hundreds of sample questions to help you practice.

At $129.00 for 90 days of access, Kaplan is one of the more expensive programs in our review, but it is also one of only two to come with a money back guarantee. If you don’t pass your GED tests, they will refund your course fee. So, while it may cost you more up front, you have assurance that your money won’t be wasted in the long run.

Essential Education has one of the most well-rounded courses in our review. They don’t include all of the bells and whistles of the top competitors, but they do have a lot to offer at little cost.

Essential’s course package includes the most individual lessons of any company we researched. The currently have over 500 self-paced, interactive lessons spread over all of the GED subject areas. Those lessons include a “virtual tutor” who analyzes your progress through each lesson and customizes your study plan as you go, ensuring that you save time by focusing only on the areas you need to.

Essential Education has among the fewest total practice tests in our review, but the tests they do offer are full-length and have diagnostic scoring that highlights your problem areas. They also offer a free test you can take before signing up, which includes a free study plan based on your results.

Essential Education’s GED Academy is one of the cheapest programs at only $15. That $15 only buys you 30 days of access, but even over multiple months, it ends up being cheaper than most courses with longer periods. What’s most impressive about the price is that it also buys you access to Essential Education’s Work Essentials course, which teaches job search, resume, and interview skills, and their Computer Skills course, which teaches basic typing, word processing, and spreadsheet skills.

If you’re looking for a high-quality, budget GED prep course, Essential Education is your best option.

How to Register for the GED Test

There are three ways to register for a GED test: in person at select test centers, by calling 1-877-EXAM-GED, or online. No matter which method you choose, you should start by setting up a free MyGED account at GED.com. Your account gives you access to:

  • Study materials
  • State testing rules
  • Testing center locations
  • Test scheduling
  • Final test scores

If you want to register in person, you can use the resources at GED.com to find the testing center that will allow you to do so. If you want to register online (the easiest method), select the “Schedule a Test” option from the MyGED dashboard.

You will be asked to select your desired tests and three possible testing centers. The scheduling system will show you the available dates and times you can take the tests at those locations. Simply choose an appointment, enter your personal information, and submit your payment and you will be all set to take the test.

When you schedule more than one subject in the same day, you will automatically be given a ten-minute break in between each. If you want a longer lunch break you will need to schedule it manually by creating separate appointments within the same day.

For example, if you want to take the Math and Science tests with a lunch break between, you could register for Math from 9:00 to 10:55 than register separately for Science from 1:00 to 2:30. This is especially important if you are going to take all four subjects in the same day. You will not be automatically given a lunch break for the nearly eight-hour test.

You will be asked to show some form of identification when you arrive at the testing center, so it’s important that the name you use to register is the exact name that appears on your ID. If they don’t match exactly, you will not be admitted into the testing room.

If you need to reschedule your test for any reason, you must call 1-877-EXAM-GED. You cannot reschedule online. You must reschedule at least 24 hours before your appointment time if you want to get your money back. If you cancel with less than 24 hours’ notice (or don’t show up for your test) you will not receive a refund.

What to Expect on Test Day

Arriving to the testing center

You should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled test time. If you arrive more than 15 minutes after your appointment, you may not be admitted and could lose your fee. When you arrive, you will need to check in and show your identification.

GED Testing Service requires a government-issued form of ID (State ID, Passport, Driver’s license, etc.) that has not expired and includes your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Signature
  • Photograph

Again, it’s important that the name you registered with matches the name on your ID. If it doesn’t, you will not be admitted to the test and may lose your fee. Your state may also have separate identification requirements to prove residency. Check with your state before testing day so you know what you need to bring.

Entering the testing room

You will be given three erasable note boards and a marker to take into the testing room. Aside from that, there is very little else you can bring with you. The rules vary by state, so you should check with your testing center for a complete list of prohibited items. In most cases, no personal belongings are allowed at all. This includes things like book bags, purses, wallets, hats, heavy coats, food, gum, tobacco, and more.

One thing for sure is that, in every state, cell phones are strictly prohibited. If you are caught with a phone, you will be escorted from the room and your test will not be scored. If that happens, you will need to reschedule another test and pay a new fee. You will not receive a refund if you’re removed from a test.

Most testing centers will have storage available, but it will be limited. You need to arrive early if you want use it. However, it’s best to leave any prohibited items in your vehicle (or at home) to prevent any delays in getting into the testing room.

You are allowed to use a calculator on specific portions of the math, science, and social studies tests. An onscreen calculator will appear for the appropriate questions, but if you feel more comfortable using a handheld device, you can bring one. The only model allowed is the TI-30XS Multiview Scientific Calculator. If you bring one, the testing center staff will advise exactly where you need to store it and when you can retrieve it for use on the approved sections.

Taking the test

The test is taken entirely on a computer. Once you are granted access to the testing room, you will be assigned a computer workstation. Testing center staff will instruct you on how to log onto the system. When you do, the appropriate test will automatically load.

Everyone’s test begins at the same time. Once the test starts, you cannot leave the room for any reason. If you do, you will not be allowed back in and your test will not be scored.

If you did place personal items in storage, scheduled breaks and lunches are the only times you will be able to access them.

After the test

Because the testing is computerized, your scores are calculated the same day. They are generally available within three hours of taking an exam. You will receive an email when they’re ready and you can view them under the “My Scores” tab on your MyGED page.

Rather than just listing your results, your score is presented in an “Enhanced Score Report.” The report breaks down your numerical score, highlights you what you did well on the test, and points out what you need to work on if you didn’t get the results you wanted.

You need to get a minimum score of 145 out of 200 on each of the four tests in order to pass and receive your GED credential. Higher scores can earn you special honors along with your certificate. The scoring breakdown is as follows:

Score

Distinction

What it means

145-164

GED Passing Score

You have demonstrated a proficiency in academic subjects at a high school level.

165-174

GED College Ready

You have demonstrated the skills necessary to start college-level courses. Depending on the school, your score may allow you to bypass remedial courses in that subject.

175-200

GED College Ready +

You have demonstrated skills currently taught in college-level courses. Depending on the school, that score may earn you up to 3 credits in Math, 3 credits in Science, 3 credits in Social Studies, and 1 credit in Humanities which you can apply toward a college degree.

If you didn’t pass the test, your Enhanced Score Report gives you a personalized study plan you can use to improve your score on a retake. Your state may impose a waiting period between tests in the same subject, but in most cases, you can retake a test right away. You will need to schedule a retake the same way you scheduled your original test.

For every subject that you buy but don’t pass on your first try, GED Testing Services will give you $20 off your next two retakes. Your state may give you an additional discount as well, so be sure to check the specifics in your area.

After you take a subject test three times, you have to wait 60 days before retesting again.

How to Request Disability Accommodations

Per the Americans with Disabilities Act, testing centers should already be physically accessible for anyone with a disability. If you need further accommodations on test day, you can request them.

The most common accommodations include:

  • A separate testing room
  • Extra testing time
  • Extra breaks
  • A reader or recorder

From there, test accommodations are individualized based on the disability and considered on a case-by-case basis.

To request modified testing conditions, go to GED.com. During your initial registration for a MyGED account, you will be asked to check a box indicating whether or not you require special accommodations on test day. If a need arises after you register (or you forgot to check the box the first time) you can always edit your profile to include it later.

Once you’ve indicated a need on your profile, you will be sent a link to fill out the official Accommodations Request Form. Along with your completed form, you will also be required to submit documentation proving your disability and its expected impact on your test-taking ability. This includes both a written report from your evaluator (professional doctor, psychologist, etc.) and any appropriate medical records.

They aren’t required, but you can help the approval process by also providing relevant academic records such as:

  • School records that show participation in special education services
  • Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)
  • Transcripts from middle school or high school
  • Other records that show a history of academic difficulties due to your disability

You should provide your evaluator with a copy of the official documentation guidelines to make sure your report meets the criteria. In general, all reports should be:

  • Performed by a qualified evaluator
  • Written on the evaluator’s letterhead
  • Current:
    • Learning disabilities: report must be less than five years old
    • ADHD: report must be less than three years old
    • Psychiatric/psychological: report must be less than one year old
    • Physical/chronic health conditions: report must be less than one year old

The accommodation recommendations your evaluator makes in the report should be as specific as possible. For example, a recommendation of “25% extra time” is better than a vague request of “extra time.” Non-specific requests are likely to be denied.

You must submit all of the documentation together. Approval can take up to 30 days, so it’s important to make your requests long before you plan on taking the test in case there is a delay in processing, your request is found to be incomplete and requires additional documentation, or your request is denied and you need to make an appeal.

To appeal a decision, you will need to fill out a “Request for Testing Accommodations Appeal” form and submit additional supporting documentation.

If your accommodations are approved, you will receive an email with instructions for scheduling your test by phone. You cannot request a test with accommodations online. You also cannot apply any accommodations to a previously-scheduled exam.

How to Avoid Online GED Scams

During your search for GED prep courses, you are likely to come across websites offering high school diplomas and GED credentials online. An overwhelming majority of them are scams. They are either selling fake diplomas or worthless alternative certificates.

GED Testing Services has a list of nearly 100 fraudulent websites you should avoid. Take the time to read it before you start your search. Just keep in mind that the list isn’t inclusive. Even if you avoid those sites, you will still need to be on guard because there are plenty more out there.

Most fraudulent sites use similar phrases to lure you in:

You should be on the lookout for any site using similar language. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

One of the biggest problems is that many of these fraudulent sites claim to be real accredited high schools, with official-looking seals stamped on their front page to prove it. While some states do have online charter schools that are accredited and recognized by their Department of Education, none of them offer instant degrees for taking a single test. They are years-long programs structured in much the same way as traditional high school, they are just delivered online versus in a classroom.

If websites offering instant diplomas are accredited at all, they are accredited by organizations that aren’t recognized by any state Department of Education. Therefore, their diplomas aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. If you have doubts about any website offering diplomas or equivalency credentials, check with your state DOE. They can tell you if the accrediting body is a recognized organization or not.

The easiest way to avoid all of these GED scams is to remember one simple, very important fact: The GED test is not offered online.

The only way to take the GED test is in person at an official testing facility. The only GED tests you can take online are practice tests, which don’t result in any certification. You can do your prep online, but your path to the actual test begins at GED.com and ends at an approved testing facility.

Exploring Local GED Prep Classes
If you think you would benefit more from traditional classroom instruction than online learning, many official testing centers, high schools, and non-profit organizations offer local, in-person GED prep courses. Many of the courses are either free or low-cost and utilize course materials provided by the test-developers.

Because the courses are geared toward non-traditional learners, many of whom work full-time, most classes are offered in the evening and on weekends. Some also have online components if your schedule prevents you from attending regular meetings.

You can find a preparation program near you at the National Literacy Directory.

Full Methodology and Walkthrough

Summary of our filtering process

Summary of our scoring process

How we scored our core metrics

Applying weights to our core metrics

We applied “weights” to our core metrics to indicate the importance of each in determining the overall quality of a course. For instance, “Guarantee” was only given a 10% weight, while “Practice Tests” was given a 30% weight.

Here’s how that process works:

  1. If a test prep scores a “6” in “Practice Tests” then we would multiply 6 by 0.3 because that core metric is weighted at 30%.
  2. In this example, the test prep would score 1.8 in “Practice Tests.”
  3. We then add each core metric’s weighted score together to get the test prep’s overall score (theoretically, if a course got a “10” in every core metric then its overall score would be 10 as well).

Example of Scoring Course Package for Kaplan

To better illustrate this process, take a look at how we scored the core metric “Course Package” for Kaplan.

  1. We started by gathering data.
    1. We conducted our research directly on Kaplan’s site
  2. We entered the information for each sub-metric.
    1. Number of lessons: 150
    2. Self-paced (Y/N): Yes
    3. Interactive lessons (Y/N): Yes
    4. Live tutoring (Y/N): No
    5. Email assistance (Y/N): Yes
    6. Number of additional study aids: 3
    7. Course book (Y/N): Yes
  3. We assigned scores for the sub-metrics.
    1. Number of lessons: Kaplan placed fourth, so it scored “7.”
    2. Self-paced: Kaplan scored “10” (since this was a “yes or no” question, all the courses that answered “yes” scored a “10”, while those that didn’t scored a “0”).
    3. Interactive lessons: Kaplan scored “10.”
    4. Live tutoring: Kaplan scored “0.”
    5. Email assistance: Kaplan scored “10.”
    6. Number of additional study aids: Kaplan placed second, so it scored “9.”
    7. Course book: Kaplan scored “10.”
  4. We averaged all the sub-metric scores together.
    1. Kaplan received an overall average of 8.0.
    2. Since it had the highest average, Kaplan scored a “10.”
  5. We applied the weight.
    1. The weight we assigned to “Course Package” was 40%, so Kaplan’s weighted score in that metric was “4,” which is used when we determine the overall score.

Ruwix is the most popular website dedicated to online puzzle programs and tutorials.

The Highest Scoring Online GED Prep Courses

Rank

Course Name

Final Score

Course Package (40%)

Practice Tests (30%)

Access (20%)

Guarantee (10%)

#1

GED Fast

9.0

8.0

10.0

9.0

10

#2

Kaplan

8.7

10.0

9.0

5.0

10

#3

Essential Education

6.1

6.0

8.0

6.0

1

#4

Study.com

5.7

9.0

2.0

7.0

1

#5

KET Fast Forward

5.3

7.0

6.0

3.0

1

#6

DCS GED Prep

4.6

4.0

7.0

4.0

1

#7

Decrypting the GED

4.5

4.0

4.0

8.0

1

#8

ed2go

3.8

6.0

3.0

2.0

1

#9

Test Prep Toolkit

3.1

1.0

2.0

10.0

1

#10

Excel High School

2.6

2.0

5.0

1.0

1

Individual Summaries for Each Core Metric and Sub-metric

Core metric 1: Course package

The GED is a test of your knowledge in key subject areas. No testing strategy can help you pass if you don’t have an understanding of certain core concepts. Therefore, our most important metric grades the actual course content, which is the information you will need to earn your high school equivalency certification. Without a solid curriculum, the rest of course offerings have little to no value.

Sub-metrics we used:

  • Number of lessons: How many total lessons are included in the course?
  • Self-paced: Can you work through the course on your own schedule?
  • Interactive lessons: Are lessons more than blocks of text? Do they include slideshows, videos, interactive quizzes, etc.?
  • Live tutoring: Do you have access to live help either by phone or through video chat?
  • Email assistance: Do you have access to faculty via email?
  • Additional study aids: Are additional tools like flashcards, message boards, and calculator tutorials included?
  • Course books: Does the program include a full-length course book in addition to the interactive individual lessons?

The Highest Scoring Courses in Course Package

Rank

Course Name

Final Metric Score

Total Average

Number of Lessons

Self-Paced

Interactive Lessons

Live Tutor

Email Assistance

Additional Study Aids

Course Book

#1

Kaplan

10.0

8.0

7

10

10

0

10

9

10

#2

Study.com

9.0

6.4

8

10

10

0

10

7

0

#3

GED Fast

8.0

6.0

5

10

10

0

10

7

0

#4

KET Fast Forward

7.0

5.9

4

10

10

0

0

7

10

#5

ed2go

6.0

5.7

2

0

10

0

10

8

10

#6

Essential Education

6.0

5.7

10

10

10

0

0

10

0

#7

DCS GED Prep

4.0

5.1

6

10

10

0

10

0

0

#8

Decrypting the GED

4.0

5.1

9

10

10

0

0

7

0

#9

Excel High School

2.0

3.0

1

0

10

0

10

0

0

#10

Test Prep Toolkit

1.0

1.9

3

10

0

0

0

0

0

Core metric 2: Practice tests

Once you’ve grasped the test content, you need to master the test itself. The GED is a long, high-pressure test that has its own unique way of asking questions. In order to succeed, you will need to learn how to translate your knowledge to the exam. The test is timed, so you will also need to work on your pacing. The best way to do both is to take practice tests modeled after the real GED exams.

Our second most important metric measures how many practice tests each course offers. We also gave special consideration to courses whose tests simulate the exact testing conditions you will experience on the big day. Courses with full-length, timed test scored higher than those without.

Sub-metrics we used:

  • Number of tests: How many total practice tests are included?
  • Full-length tests: Are any of the practice tests full length?
  • Timed tests: Are any of the practice tests timed to simulate real GED testing conditions?
  • Diagnostic tools: Do the practice tests include diagnostic tools that highlight the specific areas you need to improve?

The Highest Scoring Platforms in Practice Tests

Rank

Course Name

Final Metric Score

Total Average

Number of Tests

Full-Length Tests

Timed Tests

Diagnostic Scoring

#1

GED Fast

10.0

9.8

9

10

10

10

#2

Kaplan

9.0

9.3

7

10

10

10

#3

Essential Education

8.0

8.3

3

10

10

10

#4

DCS GED Prep

7.0

8.0

2

10

10

10

#5

KET Fast Forward

6.0

4.0

6

0

10

0

#6

Excel High School

5.0

2.8

1

0

0

10

#7

Decrypting the GED

4.0

2.5

10

0

0

0

#8

ed2go

3.0

2.0

8

0

0

0

#9

Study.com

2.0

1.5

6

0

0

0

#10

Test Prep Toolkit

2.0

1.5

6

0

0

0

Core metric 3: Access

Once we had measured all of the actual course materials, we decided the third most important metric would be to measure the accessibility of that content. This metric not only measures how affordable (or cost prohibitive) a course is, but also how much time you get to use it. Everyone studies differently. It might take one person a few weeks to prepare for the GED test, while it could take another a few months to a year. We gave priority to courses that granted the longest access to study material for the price.

Sub-metrics we used:

  • Price: How much does access to the course cost?
  • Length of access: How long does that cost give you access to the course materials?
  • Free trial: Does the company offer either a temporary free trial to the complete course or free access to a limited number of materials?
  • Mobile access: Does the course include an app for access on mobile devices? If no dedicated app, are lessons optimized for mobile viewing?

The Highest Scoring Platforms in Access

Rank

Course Name

Final Metric Score

Total Average

Price

Length of Access

Free Trial

Mobile Access

#1

Test Prep Toolkit

10.0

10

10

10

10

10

#2

GED Fast

9.0

9

6

10

10

10

#3

Decrypting the GED

8.0

8.75

5

10

10

10

#4

Study.com

7.0

7.5

8

2

10

10

#5

Essential Education

6.0

5.5

9

3

0

10

#6

Kaplan

5.0

4.75

4

5

0

10

#7

DCS GED Prep

4.0

3.25

7

6

0

0

#8

KET Fast Forward

3.0

2.75

4

7

0

0

#9

ed2go

2.0

1.5

2

4

0

0

#10

Excel High School

1.0

0.5

1

1

0

0

Core metric 4: Guarantee

Since the goal of many people who take the GED is to increase their lifetime earnings, you don’t want to waste any money in pursuit of that certification. If you spend a lot on a study course and fail the test, not only will you need to spend more on a retake, you will probably end up spending more on additional prep as well. Our final metric looks to help you protect your investment by highlighting courses with a passing score guarantee.

Some companies are so confident in their curriculum that they promise you will pass all of the GED subject tests. If you don’t, they will refund your course fees. A guarantee is less important than the actual course offerings. After all, if you pass a test on the first try after taking a course with no guarantee, you will be better off than if you fail the test but get your money back. That said, a guarantee is still something worth considering when deciding between similar courses.

Sub-metrics we used:

  • Passing grade guarantee: Does the company offer a refund if you don’t pass your GED subject tests?

The Highest Scoring Platforms in Guarantee

Rank

Course Name

Final Metric Score

Total Average

Passing Score Guarantee

#1

GED Fast

10.0

10.0

10.0

#2

Kaplan

10.0

10.0

10.0

#3

DCS GED Prep

1.0

0

0

#4

Decrypting the GED

1.0

0

0

#5

ed2go

1.0

0

0

#6

Essential Education

1.0

0

0

#7

Excel High School

1.0

0

0

#8

KET Fast Forward

1.0

0

0

#9

Study.com

1.0

0

0

#10

Test Prep Toolkit

1.0

0

0