Learn English – The GED diploma for those who can’t finish high school

What happens if high school is not right for you?  Can you still get a diploma?  America has a program that makes it easier and faster for a student of any age to earn the equivalent of a high school diploma. It’s called the GED.



Today, I want to talk about what happens to Americans who don’t finish high school.

(Intro:   English without fear where you can learn to speak English naturally, through listening to stories.)

Here in America, going to high school and earning a diploma is normal for most kids. High school is four years and starts when kids are about 14 years old. But some students don’t finish high school. They drop out.

What does drop out mean? If you drop out of something, it means you quit. So, a high school dropout, someone who dropped out of high school never finished. Well, why would somebody drop out? Why would somebody leave high school and not finish? There are, there are lots of reasons. 

One reason is that some really smart kids just get bored in high school. They lose interest. So, they drop out. Then there are the kids who have a difficult family life. Whatever the problems are at home, they make it hard for kids to continue in school. Maybe a parent loses a job and the kid has to work. Then there are students, kids, who get in trouble with the police and they drop out. They just don’t finish. They get in trouble with school. They get in trouble with the police and it’s too much.

Then there are those who fall into bad substances, like drugs or alcohol, and they drop out. They don’t finish. And finally, there is a category, a group of kids who have a difficult time learning in a regular school setting. They just don’t fit in and so they drop out. 

The problem is to get a job, to join the military, to go on for other schooling, like university, you need a high school diploma. But there’s a different program that has been around for many years now called the GED. What is the GED? 

GED are three letters that stand for General Education Development. And what it is, is a program that includes four different tests that you have to pass. When you pass them, you get a GED diploma. And that is as good as any high school diploma. What do you have to do to prepare, to take the four tests? And what are the four tests?

There are many ways to prepare. You can get some books and study on your own. You can attend classes online, or you can go to in-person classes, GED classes, to learn, to get ready, to take the tests. What are the tests about? What do they cover?

There are four tests. One is about science: biology, chemistry, physics, those kinds of areas. The second test is math: algebra and geometry and regular calculating addition, subtraction division, that kind of thing.

The third test is reading comprehension and writing. What that means is you learn skills to read and analyze and understand something. And then you learn to write well about it. That’s the third test. The fourth test covers something that we call social studies. 

What is social studies? It’s a group of different subjects put together. There’s history, there’s geography, culture, some government, sometimes a little bit of money policy, economics, some philosophy, things like that. They put it all together and call it social studies. So, those are the four tests that you have to pass in order to get your GED diploma.

I have a friend, a Mexican friend who lives here in Huntsville, Alabama, where I live. She graduated from high school in Veracruz in Mexico, got married to another Mexican who had a job here in Alabama. So, at age 18, she came to America. She immediately started taking ESL, English as a Second Language, to improve her English. And then she started taking GED classes at a local school. 

Why did she take GED classes? Because my friend Areli wanted to be a school teacher. She wanted to attend university, get qualified, graduate in order to become a teacher here in America. That has been her dream and she is almost finished. She got her GED diploma and she enrolled in university and she is very close to finishing her university or college degree. And she will be certified to teach. I am so proud of Areli. She is an example, a personal example of how valuable a GED diploma is and how with some hard work and some good teachers, anyone can do that. 

Well, what about in your country? Do you have something like that? A different way of getting a high school diploma? If so, tell me about it. Leave a comment below this video. And if you would like the transcript, the written words for today’s episode, just go to my website, www.englishwithoutfear.com. Well, that’s it for this episode. I’m Maria from English without Fear. Talk to you later.

 (Outro:  Thanks for watching. For questions or comments. Here’s my email.)

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