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Get Your GED Before the Test Changes

April 26, 2013

“The urgency of obtaining your GED has never been as important as it is right now,” said Marsha Humphrey, coordinator of the Adult Basic Education/GED department at Southeastern Illinois College.  According to Humphrey, and the Illinois Community College Board, major changes will occur to the GED exam starting in January of 2014. 

The test currently is a collective battery of five different sections:  language arts, which includes writing an essay, reading, math, science, and social studies.  In Illinois, passing the US and Illinois constitution tests are also required.  All sections are completed in pencil/paper form.  In January of 2014 the test will completely change as the state turns over the testing process to GEDTesting Service, a company owned by Pearson publishing.  The test will be computer-based requiring new test takers to have strong background knowledge of computers and the skills necessary to use them successfully. 

The test will also change to four sections:  literacy (which includes reading and writing), math, science, and social studies.  The constitution requirement will remain the same.  The questions will focus on the common core standards adopted by public schools in the majority of the United States.  The questions will also focus on strong background knowledge of content utilizing analytical thinking skills as opposed to the mainly contextualized questions of the past. 

Furthermore, the pencil/paper tests cannot be combined with the computer-based tests.  “In the past, you could pass one section at a time and not take the entire test.  So someone may only need to pass the math section right now.  If they do not do that before January of 2014, they will be required to start over and take all the sections again,” according to Humphrey.

“Bottom line, if you want your GED, you should try to get it now before the test changes,” Humphrey states. 

Humphrey expects the test content to be more difficult than in the past, as well as more expensive.   The previous price of $50 for the entire battery will be going up to $120. 

Many sources concur that obtaining the GED is a step in the right direction as far as unemployment and potential gaining power are concerned.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections, the unemployment rate in 2012 for a person with a two-year Associate’s degree was 6.2 percent, whereas the rate for a person with less than a high school diploma was 12.4 percent.  The median weekly earnings for  a person with less than a high school diploma was $471, but was $785 a week for the Associate’s degree.  The more education a person has, according to these statistics, the unemployment rate drops and the median weekly earnings increase. (www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm)

There is still time to obtain a GED before the changes take effect.  SIC offers test preparation classes and materials completely free of charge throughout the year and throughout the southern Illinois region.  The next classes begin May 6 on Monday-Thursday mornings at both the SIC Carmi campus and main campus in Harrisburg.  Classes will begin in Gallatin, Hardin, and Pope Counties as well as Norris City and Harrisburg libraries on September 3.  There will also be several testing opportunities between now and the end of the year. 

To take a GED test preparation class, contact Marsha Humphrey at SIC at 618-252-5400, ext. 2641.  To register for the GED test, contact Donna Hearn at SIC’s testing services at 618-252-5400, ext. 3213.

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