No more pencil and paper, GED Exam goes digital

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - 2014 brought with it changes in the High School Equivalency Exam, better known as the GED.

Last year, more than 35 thousand Ohioans took the GED Exam. Many took it using paper and pencil. However, this year tests can only be taken on a computer. The idea has many people nervous.

Barb Taylor is among the estimated 40 million Americans without a high school diploma. Many of Taylor's friends are helping her study and she's taking a GED preparation course.

"I've been going to school faithfully," says Taylor. "I go to Ministry Mercy over there in Woodburn right around the corner."

The prospect of taking the exam on a computer has Taylor a bit worried.

What are some of her concerns? "Not being able to type fast enough and not being able to answer the questions fast enough," explains Taylor.

Taylor says her preparation course is really helping out. Mercy Neighborhood Ministries works to build on skills that students already have. Preparation is key because the test makes you think.

"I wouldn't say it's going to be tougher, it's going to be more complex so the types of questions that are going to be asked are going to require the students to do more than one step when they answer their questions," explains Doctor Mark Mussman, Mercy Neighborhood Ministries Education Coordinator. "They're trying to focus on the critical thinking skills that the students are able to show through the test so that they are more prepared for college or a different work setting."

A job is what Barb Taylor is after.

"I do volunteer work here at the YMCA and for you to be a full employee, as you can see I'm a volunteer and I come here faithfully, you have to have a GED or a high school diploma," explains Taylor.

The test can now be taken at more sites than ever, like National College in Bond Hill.

"The computer is really easy to use," says Joe Stewart, a National College Test Procter. "It's mostly multiple-choice. For math things you just type in numbers. You used to be able to use a hand-held calculator. [You] can't do that anymore."

The price of the test has also gone up $120. The state is providing an $80 voucher for people taking the test for the first time.

Individuals need a cumulative score of 600 to pass.

Copyright 2014 WXIX. All rights reserved.