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Minor Changes Coming to the GED® Test in 2019

The General Education Diploma, or GED, is designed to assess the academic competency of individuals who have not received a high school diploma. The battery of tests found in the GED assess aptitude, knowledge, and skills. There have been recent changes to the test, including a greater focus on college and career readiness content.

The GED test is revamped occasionally, with the last major changes occurring in 2014. While the tested content will remain the same in 2019, there will be changes made to the format.

These changes are found in the Reasoning Through Language Arts (RLA) section. They are being introduced in an effort to help students perform their best, mostly by providing clearer instructions. The changes were determined to be necessary by research and feedback received from students over the last few years.

Modifications will include the enlargement of the “Extended Response” (ER) response box. Historically, this box was smaller than the stimulus material, and despite efforts to highlight the importance of a 300–500 word response, the smaller box may have encouraged students to write responses of insufficient length.

The instructions for the RLA tasks will also be easier to access. Rather than appearing in two places—in brief on the right side of the screen and in greater detail in a separate section called the Answer Guidelines—the full instructions will appear on the right side of the screen. Previously, many students failed to read the portion in the Answer Guidelines, so they often completed this section without the complete instructions. The new format hopes to address this issue.

The last change is the removal of the tabs from the stimulus material. While they were originally meant to make scrolling easier for students, research has shown that students actually prefer to scroll. While there will still be two tabs for the students to click, the reading passage will be entirely contained on one of them, while the instructions for the section are found on the other.

Despite these formatting changes, it is important to remember that the test requirements and content have not changed and students should prepare accordingly.

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