Coming Overhaul to the GED in 2014: Those Without a High School Diploma Will Have to Work Harder to


Coming Overhaul to the GED in 2014: Those Without a High School Diploma Will Have to Work Harder to Pass It

New Exam to Emphasize Skills Important for Success in the Workplace and in College; Will Move to a Computer-Based Format; Price to Increase

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- One of the most widely taken exams in the U.S., the GED, is undergoing an overhaul. The new exam launching in January 2014 will be more challenging and expensive, raising the bar for earning one's high school equivalency, even as the number of U.S. adults without a high school diploma has risen to 39 million—nearly the same number of U.S. adults with a four-year college degree (40.5 million).

While only 2 percent of non-high school graduates take the GED every year, for these 800,000 individuals, the bad news is that the new exam set to launch in January 2014 is going to be more rigorous and more costly to take. The good news is that those who pass should be better prepared to succeed in whatever next step they take, whether seeking employment, advancing from their current jobs, or entering college. Among the changes to the GED:

  • The new GED will shift from its current paper-and-pencil format to a completely computer-based format. The test maker says that this format will help test takers to learn computer literacy skills necessary to succeed in college and in the workplace.

  • While the length of the GED will stay at around seven hours, the new exam will condense its current five subject subtests into four: Reasoning through Language Arts; Math; Science; and Social Studies; and the number of written sections will double to two.

  • A new scoring scale will be released by the test maker in summer 2013.

  • More analysis and a deeper understanding of math will be required.

  • Content will better reflect the Common Core standards for grades K-12, which have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia.

  • The cost to take the GED will double to $125, though this may vary by state.

"In today's competitive, global work environment, having a high school diploma or equivalent is an employment imperative for individuals, and having a high school-educated population is an imperative for our economy to thrive," said Lee Weiss, executive director of GED programs, Kaplan Test Prep. "The changes to the GED make the test more rigorous in order to better prepare test takers for college and career opportunities. It's critical that adults take the test to avail themselves because job options for those without high school diplomas are rapidly shrinking. It's equally critical for states to invest in this population, as numerous studies demonstrate that a more educated workforce means lower unemployment, lower taxpayer burden, a more competitive market, and better opportunities for economic growth."

While the GED has far more test takers annually than the admissions exams to business school (GMAT), law school (LSAT) and medical school (MCAT) combined, it's an often misunderstood test. Here are some facts about the GED and GED test takers that you may not know.

  • Approximately 10% of all GED takers are incarcerated.

  • The average GED taker is 26, has completed 10th grade, and has been out of school for nine years.

  • About 10% of all GED holders go on to earn a college degree.

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, GED/high school degree holders make $700 a month more ($3,100) than those who did not complete school $2,400.

  • The following celebrities, among many others, hold GEDs: Bill Cosby*, Michael J. Fox**, and Pink***.

To take the GED, you must register with an official GED testing center. There are more than 3,400 testing centers across the United States and Canada operated by community colleges, local school boards, and adult education centers. Contact a local testing center by calling 1-800-62-MY-GED (1-800-626-9433).

Time is of the essence to prepare for and pass the current GED, as test takers who do not pass all five GED tests by the end of 2013, will need to start over again with the 2014 GED tests. Kaplan offers preparation books and guided-study courses to prepare test takers for the current and 2014 series GED tests.

For more information about the upcoming changes to the GED and the challenges its test takers face, please visits Kaplan's GED test change center at or contact Russell Schaffer at 212.453.7538 or

*"Bill Cosby,"

**"A Lesson in Life from Michael J. Fox," NPR, April 16, 2010:


About Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep ( is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings as well as a complete array of print books and digital products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys, physicians and nurses. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services.

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO)

Kaplan Test Prep
Russell Schaffer,, 212.453.7538
Twitter: @KapTestNews

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