Similar to the GED® and the HiSET® tests, the TASC exam is an option that states may use to demonstrate high school equivalency for students who have not earned a diploma. It has been an option for students since 2014. There are several advantages to taking the TASC exam: it can be less expensive and more flexible, although it may not be available in all areas. Like the GED, the TASC exam is aligned with common core goals for secondary education. It’s imperative that all students check the availability of the exam in their area.
The TASC exam is published by the Data Recognition Corporation and it is offered in either a paper-and-pencil format or as a computerized exam. Either option may be available depending upon what your local testing site offers.
The exam itself comprises five sections: Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Here is a summary of the structure of these sections:
Mathematics: 42 multiple-choice questions (43 on the paper-and-pencil version), 11 grid-in questions, and one constructed-response question. The computerized version also has one technology-response question. The mathematics section is divided into two parts. The first one is 50 minutes and the use of a calculator is allowed. The second section is 55 minutes and the use of a calculator is prohibited.
Reading Literacy: 48 multiple-choice questions (49 on the paper-and-pencil version) along with one constructed-response question and eight passages. The computerized version also has one technology-response question. Examinees have 75 minutes to complete this section.
Science: 48 multiple-choice questions (49 on the paper-and-pencil version), one constructed-response question, and eight stimuli questions. The computerized version also has one technology-response question. Examinees have 75 minutes to complete this section.
Social Studies: 48 multiple-choice questions (49 on the paper-and-pencil version) one constructed-response question, and eight stimuli questions. The computerized version also has one technology-response question. Examinees have 75 minutes to complete this section.
Writing: 50 multiple-choice questions (51 on the paper-and-pencil version), one constructed-response question, and two passages with one writing prompt question. The computerized version also has one technology-response question. Examinees have 105 minutes to complete this section.
Since the TASC exam is so comprehensive and covers a great deal of material, it is a good idea to become familiar with each section and understand the content you will encounter on the exam.
The TASC Mathematics section contains two parts. In the first part, you will be allowed to use a calculator, but not on the second part. You will be provided with a page of math formulas to assist you during the test.
The TASC Mathematics section contains 37 multiple-choice questions as well as 12 “gridded response” items and two technology-enhanced items. For the “grid in” questions on the actual test, you won’t have answer choices and you will need to enter your answer in number boxes by choosing each digit from a list of the numbers 0–9. We cannot provide exactly this experience with our multiple-choice questions, but you will need to choose which answer looks like what you would fill in on the test.
Topics covered in the items include Numeration, Algebra, Functions, Geometry, and Statistics/Probability.
The Math section is divided into two parts, with a 15-minute break between their administration.
The TASC Reading section requires you to read and understand various genres of literature. They will include literary as well as informational text. Be prepared to understand and analyze literature (novels, poetry, and drama) as well as texts from content areas (science, social studies, and technical).
In addition to comprehending what is written, you need to be able to use that text in the following ways:
A total of 42 of the questions in this section of the TASC are in multiple-choice format. There are two “technology-enhanced” questions, as well.
In the Science section of the TASC, you will find 42 multiple-choice questions and two technology-enhanced questions. Questions in this section cover the Physical, Life, and Earth/Space sciences. You need to be able to understand passages about various topics in these science domains and be able to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate what you read.
The TASC Social Studies section tests the understanding of texts and graphic materials as well as the ability to analyze, apply, and evaluate them. Reading material is taken from these areas: U.S. History, World History, Geography, Civics/Government, and Economics. There are 42 multiple-choice questions and two technology-enhanced items.
The TASC Writing section is actually a two-part endeavor. First, you will complete about 44 questions. These questions are mostly multiple-choice, but also include two “technology-enhanced” items. The final 45 minutes of the 110-minute time allotment will be used to write an essay.
Subjects covered in the questions will include:
In order to show your skill in these areas, you will be required to edit previously written material that contains errors. The text you edit may come from the workplace or be concerned with academic, business, or other informational subjects.
The essay portion of the Writing section asks you to plan, write, and revise an essay on a given topic. The test graders will be looking for these skills:
The TASC exam is very long. It generally takes between eight and a half hours and nine hours to complete in its entirety. Due to its length, it is sometimes administered over two days and some examinees may have the option to take it over either one or two days. It’s important to check with your testing site before your scheduled exam days to find out details about the testing center’s policies.
In addition to determining the testing center’s policies, there are several other things you can do to start the day on a positive note. It’s always a good idea to get a good night’s sleep and eat a hearty meal before arriving at the testing center. This will prevent you from becoming distracted by hunger and drowsiness and let you focus on the exam itself. It’s also a good idea to plan to arrive early and give yourself extra time for arrival and registration. That way, if any issues arrive (such as difficulty finding the test center or issues with registration), you have extra time to iron them out before the exam begins.
On both days of your scheduled TASC exam, you will be required to bring valid and government-issued photo identification. Your testing center may also require that you bring registration forms. If you know that you are taking the paper-and-pencil version of the exam, you will also need to bring several sharpened pencils. You may also bring a calculator. Some testing centers also allow examinees to bring a snack or lunch, but will not allow these items in the exam room.
Electronic devices, such as cell phones, tablets, and wearable devices, are prohibited during the exam. Some testing centers also have restrictions on hooded clothing, hats, and other personal items. It’s a good idea to check with your local testing center to determine their policies and procedures.
The TASC exam is very long—so long that it is one of the few standardized exams delivered over two days. Since there are different types of questions found in each section, one of the best ways to prepare for this exam is by taking many practice tests beforehand. These practice exams will help you to get comfortable with the types of questions you will encounter as well as help you identify the areas on which you should focus your study efforts.
Many examinees find it helpful to supplement their practice tests with alternative study methods to get a more well-rounded study experience. Study aids, such as flashcards for the TASC and study guides for the TASC can help to improve retention of the information and help you feel more prepared on exam day.
All of the sections of the TASC are timed. And it is an incredibly long test. For these reasons, one of the best ways to prepare for exam day is by simulating the entire testing experience. The simulation process will help you to determine how well you perform under the time restrictions for each section, which can help you understand how to pace yourself in a way that allows you to complete all questions in each section. Simulation can also help you to understand if and when mental fatigue sets in (which is common during long exams). Understanding your response to prolonged testing can help you identify tips and strategies to overcome this mental fatigue to ensure that you are focused and performing well for the duration of the exam.
The TASC exam is comprehensive and includes a ton of material. To feel and be prepared on exam day, you will need to devote an adequate amount of study time toward preparation. Because the material is so comprehensive, it’s important to develop a study plan that devotes time each day to reviewing material for several weeks (or months) before your scheduled exam day.
While the memorization of certain information is important, you will be better served by covering general concepts first. These concepts can often help you determine the correct answer (or narrow down your guesses).
There is no penalty for guessing on the TASC exam. So, if you don’t know the correct answer, take a guess. You might get it right!
The TASC exam is generally less expensive than other high school equivalency exams. It usually only costs about $10.40 to take a single section of the exam and $52 for the entire test. These costs vary slightly across states and at different testing sites.
For the paper-and-pencil version of the exam, it can take up to 10 business days to report the exam scores. For the computerized version of the test, the scores will be available within 24 hours of completion of the test.
Yes, students are allowed two retakes per calendar year.
To pass the TASC exam, students must receive a score of 500 on each of the sections, and at least a 2 out of 8 on the writing prompt in the Writing section. If you receive a passing score on some of the sections, but not all, you should focus on the sections you did not pass and schedule a time to retake those sections when you are better prepared.
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