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Since 2014, a state can offer up to three options for obtaining a high school equivalency. The TASC is a test that is being used in some states in lieu of the traditional GED® test or as an option to it. The HiSET® test is another high school equivalency test that is used in some locations. The TASC may be less expensive and the testing experience more flexible than that for the GED®. Check with your state adult education program to find out if taking the TASC is an option where you live or find your state portal. A state must have adopted the TASC as an approved test of high school equivalency for it to be valid in that state. Also, find out about any additional requirements your state may have for receiving a high school equivalency certificate.
Both the TASC and GED® are aligned with the Common Core goals for secondary education (which now drives traditional high school study) and College and Career Readiness standards. Additionally, both tests include varied answer formats, including the traditional multiple-choice, but also include things like “grid-ins,” extended writing responses, and technology-enhanced items.
One difference between the GED® test and the TASC is that the testing center can choose to administer either a paper-and-pencil or computer version of the TASC, or it can offer both. The GED® is now administered via computer only.
If you are unfamiliar with testing on a computer, TASC testing centers often have a “TASC Readiness Test” that will help you become familiar with the TASC testing experience. You can contact your center to request this.
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The cost may vary between states, but it will probably cost you about $10.40 to take an individual TASC subtest and about $52.00 to take the entire test battery. These figures do not include any state fee that is not absorbed by the testing institution or any fee for using the test center. Comparative figures for taking the GED® are $30.00 and up for individual tests and $120.00 for the complete GED® test. Your first two retakes of any TASC section are free of charge.
Test centers may vary somewhat, so check with yours for required items. You should probably plan to bring the following on the day of the exam:
You may or may not be allowed to bring your own calculator, so check with your testing center for local or state guidelines on this. Some centers provide an approved calculator and others allow you to use one of your own as long as it is on an approved list. Here is a link to more information about calculator approval.
You may bring snack or lunch items, but you may not take these into the exam room. Some centers allow earplugs and some do not allow hooded clothing or hats, so be sure and check. There will also be varying rules concerning cell phones, so find out the rules for your testing center.
The TASC provides assessments in five areas: Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. You must score at least 500 on each of the subtests and 2 out of 8 on the writing essay to pass the entire TASC.
Fewer and fewer employers are giving consideration to applicants without a high school diploma or its equivalent. If you do not have one, you are severely limited with regard to job choices and opportunities for further education. Getting a high school equivalency can open up all sorts of possibilities for new career directions in your future. Preparing well for the TASC can speed up this process.
In order to take the TASC, you must:
The financial benefits of a high school diploma or equivalency are usually the most obvious, but there are many others. Finishing high school can make a person feel better about himself/herself and open up additional educational and training opportunities. You will also gain knowledge and experience, while setting a great example for younger members of your family and community.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a high school diploma alone will enable you to earn $9,634 more per year than a person who did not graduate. Having a diploma or its equivalent will also make you eligible for many avenues of further training. This will increase your earning potential even more.
The TASC can be administered at any state-approved test site. It is often given at boards of education, community colleges, or adult education centers. Check with your state or local institution for the location of testing sites in your area. There are also provisions for English and Spanish versions of the TASC and visual/auditory testing accommodations.
Each section of the TASC has a different time limit. Add 5 minutes to the length of times below if you are taking the Spanish form of the test. Note that the math section is divided into two parts, but is considered one test.
Math, Part Two (calculator): 55 minutes
Math, Part One (no calculator): 50 minutes
Writing: 110 minutes (including 45 minutes to write the required essay)
Reading: 85 minutes
Science: 75 minutes
Social Studies: 75 minutes
If you are planning to take the entire TASC in one day, allow at least an entire day for completion. Some testing centers may choose to spread the entire test over 2 days since total testing time is about 9 hours.
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