Upcoming GED test will be harder

COCC testing director discusses next year's changes

POSTED: 8:27 PM PDT July 9, 2013    UPDATED: 9:23 PM PDT July 9, 2013 
REDMOND, Ore. -

Starting next January, the GED is getting a makeover.

The General Equivalency Diploma test will be more complex and cover new topics. In short, it's getting harder.

"You're going to be interpreting data, critical thought, evaluative questions, questions that build on themselves," OCC Director of Tutoring and Testing Kellie Smith said Tuesday.

"It's not a sudden change," Smith added. "They're looking to make sure people who take the GED will be college-ready and will be workforce-ready."

Smith said the test hasn't been updated since 2002, and the Department of Education changes these tests about every 10 to 15 years.

An example: the section 'reading and writing' will become 'reasoning through language arts.'

The test is moving from five parts to four.

Hearing about the changes is motivation for some to hustle to get it done sooner.

"I'd rather get it over with before it got harder, in case I needed to study over anything," Bend resident Bryanna Fitzpatrick said.  "And I have a lot of stuff going on in my life right now."

Fitzpatrick said her mom told her about the future changes about a week ago. She signed up to take it immediately, and completed the test on Tuesday.

Smith said the college has been flooded with calls from people asking about the new tests.

"We have had people worried that the computer (test) is going to be changing drastically overnight," Smith said.

But it won't be. Smith said testing questions will gradually increase in complexity over the next 10 years.

Still, she recommends if you're thinking about taking it, do it now.

"If you can get a GED and demonstrate you have a certain skill set, knowledge base, it helps in obtaining jobs," Smith said.

Smith said Central Oregonians have about a 90 percent GED passing rate.

But without a crystal ball, it's anyone's guess whether a harder test will mean fewer people getting their GED next year.

The test is only available at the Redmond COCC campus.

You can sign up at www.gedcomputer.com. The test costs $155. Students who fail the test can retake it for free through August.