Frequently Asked Questions about GED

What is the GED?
The GED (General Educational Development) is a high school equivalency certificate for adults who did not finish high school.  Students must pass a computerized test on 4 academic skills and a test on the United States and Illinois Constitutions to be granted a GED certificate.
How successful are those who take the GED test?
  • The GED test is given in all 50 states.
  • Half a million people in the United States pass the GED test each year.
  • GED graduates are more likely to be employed, and they earn more than people without a GED or high school diploma.
How do I get started in a GED class?
  • Call 217-641-4951 for an appointment to register for class.
  • Bring your social security number and medical card (for Public Aid clients) when you come in to register.
  • During registration, new students will be tested on reading and math skills.  The instructor will use the test results to select the correct study materials for you. 
Can someone refer me to a GED class?
Yes, but you do not need a referral to enroll in a GED class.
Who is eligible to take the GED Test?
You are eligible to take the GED test if:
  • You are 17 years old or older.
  • You are not a high school graduate or a GED graduate.
  • You have been a resident of the State of Illinois for at least 30 days.
    Note:  If you are of school age and have been enrolled in a public, private, or a home school setting in the last 12 months, you must present a withdrawal letter from the last school where you were enrolled before you may take the GED Test.
When are GED classes offered at JWCC?
GED classes are held year-round. Morning, afternoon, and evening classes are available.  Classes are held in Quincy, Pittsfield, Mt. Sterling, and at selected outreach sites in our district.
  • For Quincy, Mt. Sterling, and outreach locations call 217-641-4951.
  • For Pittsfield classes call 217-285-5319.
Can I take the GED Test without attending a class?
Yes. A few students who have very good reading, math, and writing skills may not need to attend class before taking the GED test.  However, most people find that there are two or three subjects that they need to review.  Students are encouraged to take advantage of the free GED preparation classes to sharpen their skills.
Do you offer GED classes online?
Yes, there is an online program called i-pathways which allows students living in Illinois to prepare for the GED test by studying online.  For more information on signing up for i-pathways, students should call the Adult Education office in Quincy at 217-641-4951. The $30 per individual test fee ($120 total) still applies when online students get ready to take the GED test.  The GED test is given at the Regional Office of Education.
How much do GED classes cost?
GED classes are free to any adult who lives in the John Wood Community College district.  There is no charge for books which will be loaned to you, but they must be returned.
  • The only cost for students is a $120 fee to take the entire GED test.  You may take the tests individually for a fee of $30 per test.
  • Missouri residents are not eligible for GED classes at John Wood Community College.
How are GED classes different from traditional high school classes?
Students attend class because they want to, not because they have to.
  • Most people come to class four times a week.
  • Much of the class time is spent in one-on-one instruction. The instructor helps students individually with whatever subjects they need to work on. Students at all different levels are in class at the same time, so the one-on-one approach seems to work best.
  • New students enter the class monthly and a few students graduate each month.
  • No grades are given in GED classes. Students work toward the goal of passing the GED test.
What materials do I need for GED classes?
Students do not need to buy any books for the GED classes. The instructor chooses the books the student will use based on their skill level.  Books are loaned to students and must be returned in good condition when the student graduates or leaves the program. Students will probably want to buy a spiral notebook or a binder to keep their papers in.
How long does it take to complete the GED class?
This is a difficult question to answer. A lot depends on the skills the students have when they enter the program. It takes some people only a short time to complete their GED. Others have taken one to two years or even longer to finish. In general, students with good reading and math skills have little trouble with the GED. They may be able to complete the class within three months from the time they start.  A lot depends on the person’s motivation.
How do you know when you are ready to take the GED test?
The instructor will help you know when you are ready based on how you are doing in class.  Also, there are practice tests you can take which will predict if you are ready to the GED test.
What is the GED test like?
The GED test is a timed, computer based test, and is given locally at the Regional Office of Education in the Adams County Courthouse in Quincy.
  • The four individual tests include Reasoning through Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Mathematical Reasoning which are all given on the computer.
  • Students are tested on broad concepts and general knowledge, not just on how well they remember details, definitions, and facts.  Good reading and math skills are essential.
  • GED test questions include multiple choice, extended response, fill in the blank, drag and drop, and short answer item types.
  • The U.S. and Illinois Constitution test is separate from the GED test.  Most students study for and take the test before taking the GED test. There is no charge for the Constitution Test.
How often is the GED Test given?
The GED test is given at the Regional Office of Education located at 507 Vermont Street in Quincy.
  • You will need register online to take the test and you must pay when you register.  You can sign up to register for the test at www.ged.com.
  • Dates and times for the test are available weekly, but must be reserved in advance of testing.  Contact the Regional Office of Education at 217-277-2080 if you have specific questions regarding the testing process.
  • Remember: You must make an appointment and pay before testing.
Are GED classes available in other places besides Quincy?
Yes, they are.  The location of outreach classes varies each term.  Please call JWCC Adult Education at 217-641-4951 for current information on outreach classes.