If you’ve put off taking that pesky GED test, it’s time to buckle down and get it done — especially if you’ve already completed sections of the five-part exam.
In January 2014, the current GED test will be replaced in the state of Arizona. That means students who started their testing under the current series need to pass all five parts by the fall of 2013 … or start completely over in 2014.
“Just come in and get it done,” said Sharon Townsend, Cochise College Testing Center Coordinator. “2013 is right around the corner. The biggest fear we have is that people will wait until the last minute and we won’t be able to test them.”
The last GED test revamp came in 2002, and the college’s testing center was swamped as early as September 2001. The testing center sets aside certain hours for GED testing, and when the flood of people came, it simply didn’t have room for everyone. That’s why adult education instructors and testing center coordinators are urging students to “panic early.”
Townsend said the general consensus about the new GED test is that it will be harder to pass than the current test. There will be four subjects — literacy, math, science and social studies — tested instead of five, and some of those sections will expand to include essays and short answer sections. The entire test will be computerized — no more pencil and paper.
These changes are nationwide; 2014 is Arizona’s deadline for all of its testing centers to make the switch. Townsend said she’s not worried about the logistics of the change for Cochise College’s testing center itself, since it already administers computer-based certification tests, like Cisco and CompTIA, through Pearson VUE, which will be the vendor for the GED test.
According to a press release from the GED Testing Service, the new test will “continue to provide adults the opportunity to earn a high school credential, but it goes further by measuring career- and college-readiness skills that are the focus of today’s curriculum and tomorrow’s success.”
Gilles Brown, an Adult Education instructor at Cochise College, said the current GED test isn’t particularly easy, but she expects good things from the new test.
“Many people are scared off by college, even though that’s where you go for a welding certificate, etc.,” she said. “They want you to be ready for college or career training, so the test will be harder. It will ask for much more critical thinking. Even for teachers it will be a big change.”
There are other perks to the new test. Instead of paying for the entire exam up front, the new test will allow students to pay for each individual subject as it’s taken, although in total, the new test will cost more to complete. Also, the new test shows instant test results upon a subject’s completion, and subjects can be taken at different testing centers. Currently, once a test is started, it must be completed through the same testing center.
Brown said she has seen several students take an extended break or give up on the test, especially after not passing a subject by only one or two questions. She said now is the time to set those frustrations aside.
“We’re gearing up to get as many people as possible through this test, and giving those people as much help as they can stand,” Brown said. “Our Testing Center stops testing the first week of December. Right before that is Thanksgiving. I’m telling my students that they should think of the drop deadline as Nov. 20, 2013 — the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.”
The current GED test takes about 7 1/2 hours to complete the answers, plus time to read directions, prompts and questions. The Cochise College Testing Center is based at the Sierra Vista Campus, but offers GED testing at each of its campuses and centers on a regular basis.
In Sierra Vista, the test takes two Wednesday mornings to complete the entire exam. At all other locations, the entire day day is allotted for test completion. Students must pre-register for a spot in the testing schedule.
Cochise College Adult Education provides classes in reading, writing and math at four of its campus locations, Sierra Vista, Douglas, Willcox and Benson, throughout the year.
Cochise College Testing Center
Sierra Vista: (520) 515-5447
Douglas: (520) 439-6825
Cochise College Adult Education
Sierra Vista: (520) 515-5456
Douglas: (520) 417-7410
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