The 2002-series of the GED test is being phased out in favor of a new computerized test format starting in 2014. This change in format brings a few other changes to the testing process. One of the biggest changes is a reduction in the number of test sections required to complete the GED. With the last version, there were five subject tests that had to be passed for the high school credential. But starting in 2014, there are only four subject tests that must be challenged and passed. They are similar to the last version but bear some marked differences worth understanding.
Mathematical reasoning is the section of the GED that challenges the test-taker’s understanding of basic arithmetic and algebra. About 45% of the mathematics section covers quantitative problem solving while the remaining 55% covers algebraic solutions. The problems are based on academic examples and also examples that might occur in the workplace. One of the biggest changes to this section is the new on-screen calculator provided to each test-taker. Rather than requiring each student to bring their own calculator, the new computer format allows everyone to use the same instrument.
The new version of the science subject test is very similar to the 2002-series test. There are three basic categories of questions covered: life science, earth science, and physical science. These three fields represent the broadest coverage of science possible. The majority of questions are equally shared between life science and physical science, comprising about 80% of the science test. Earth and space sciences only account for about 20% of the test. There are two main themes that all the questions relate to, regardless of their field of science. Human Health and Living Systems focuses on the physical body, how it functions, and the material basis of life. Energy and Related Systems focuses on the transference of energy between living and organic systems.
Reasoning Through Language Arts
Reasoning through Language Arts is the combination of the previous test’s subjects on reading and writing. Now, this test challenges students to read and write about specific passages within a single subject test. 75% of the reading material covered comes from nonfiction, scientific sources, and workplace scenarios. The remaining 25% of the reading material covered comes from literature. The biggest difference in this section is that test-takers must type their answers and essays instead of writing them out in pen.
The social studies subject test covers U.S. history and other subjects of social relevance. 50% of the test questions on the social studies section cover civics and the operations of the government, 20% covers U.S. history, 15% covers economics, and the remaining 15% covers global geography. This part of the test has not been changed very much from the 2002-series and much of the subject material has remained the same.