The amount of time it takes a person to get a General Education Development certificate varies for each person. Because no two people have the same educational background and amount of free time, it may take longer for some to complete the program, while others may complete it quickly. The qualification tests take only a few hours, but students must usually spend many months studying before they are ready to take the tests.

Three major factors that determine how quickly a person can get a GED certificate are educational background, study habits and personal improvement.

A student who has an extensive educational background and has already learned many of the necessary skills will be able to finish more quickly than someone who has little to no educational experience or skills.

Regardless of educational background, any student can progress faster if the student attends classes regularly and makes plenty of time to study throughout the rest of the week. On top of this, some students pick up new skills more readily than others. However, it is in students' best interests not to rush through their studies and to ensure they learn the necessary skills properly so that they can excel on the tests.