For individuals who never completed high school, earning an online GED (also known as High School Equivalency, or HSE) sounds like a very attractive option. High school graduates have historically performed better in college and in the work force than those who dropped out of school. If you didn’t complete high school, earning a high school equivalency diploma remains the best alternative.
Earnings – Is High School Even Worth my Time?
High school diploma holders earn $10,000 more per year on average than workers without a high school diploma ($35,086 per year compared to $24,963, as seen in the chart).
This chart depicts earning levels based on education for three categories: those with less than a high school diploma earn approximately $24,963; those with a high school diploma earn approximately $35,086; those with some college but no degree earn approximately $38,531. (Note: Data are for persons employed full-time, age 25 and over. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013)
Can I Earn An Online GED?
It is possible to take preparatory classes for your online GED; at the time of this writing (March 2015), however, it is not possible to take the exam itself online. Regrettably, many individuals desperate to earn a GED online have fallen for online scams from websites that claim they offer the GED online. For the moment, the official GED test remains a pencil-and-paper exam. Although officials plan to computerize the exam in the near future, as will be discussed below; for the time being any company claiming to offer a GED online exam is either blatantly fraudulent or, at best, misleading.
Legitimate companies haven’t helped the situation; to bring customers in, they use the words “online GED” or “get your GED online,” but actually what they offer is online GED preparatory classes. Sometimes these companies also offer practice tests for students online, but these practice exams should not be mistaken for actual GED exams.
Improvements in Online GED Preparation
The GED Testing Service, which is the organization that administers the official GED tests, announced on its website that it will “unveil a new assessment in all jurisdictions… that ensures the GED is no longer an endpoint for adults, but a springboard for more education, training and better-paying jobs.” The new version of the GED tests were to begin in January 2014. What does this “new assessment” mean for people who plan to take the GED in 2015 and beyond?
For starters, there’s a good chance that students can expect the GED to get harder. Research in the past few years has shown that GED holders do not truly possess the same skills as high school graduates. High school graduates, after all, spend thousands of hours in school, doing homework and completing projects. GED holders generally only take a preparatory course for a few months and often take the exam after less than 100 hours of work.
Online GED Exam Info 2015
To address the discrepancies between holders of high school diplomas and holders of GEDs, the GED Testing Service has completely redesigned the exam. The testing organization’s president, Molly Broad, originally conceived the new exam in 2008 when she announced her decision to change the main focus of the test from high school equivalency to college and job preparedness. At about the same time, the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) was sweeping through the United States. These common academic standards were adopted by many states as an agreement as to what types of skills and knowledge high school students should have when they graduate.
For GED candidates, what all this means is that they might not be able to take the paper-and-pencil exam that is currently offered. If the new version of the exam is implemented, then the exam will only be computer-based. The GED Testing Service has already entered into a joint venture with testing service Pearson VUE to offer the new exam at the company’s computer centers.
I Don’t Know How to Use a Computer
Everyone starts somewhere. If you don’t know your way around a computer, you’re not the only one … by far! If you have any doubts at all about your computer skills, simply watch the easy-to-follow video below, “Testing Online: It’s Easier Than You Think.” You can quickly learn enough to research and prepare for taking the test.
How to Prepare for a GED Exam
Individuals who wish to earn a GED should investigate the various free preparatory classes available to them before enrolling in an expensive preparatory course. Community colleges, for example, often provide free preparatory classes for the GED. Unfortunately for those looking for online preparatory classes, however, these free classes tend to be held on campus. However, with a little research, you might be able to find online GED classes that are free or priced reasonably.
For people who cannot commit the time to go to a community college to take GED preparatory classes, online GED classes are certainly still an option. Though they are not usually free, the advantage to these online preparatory courses is that they can be completed on the candidate’s own time. For example, individuals who work during the day can take the courses on their own computers at night; individuals who work at night can take the courses when they want during the day.
You can do it! In summary, don’t fall for “GED tests online.” GED scams abound on the Internet. Instead, either take a preparatory class at a local college or enroll in an online GED preparatory class. In both cases, individuals who want to earn their GEDs would be wise to complete their preparation and exam this year before the new test (allegedly) comes out later this year.