Time is running out for nearly one million Tennesseans to take a test that can help them get a better job and go to college.
The GED examination is changing January 1, 2014.
The new test will be more rigorous and expensive. Currently it costs $75 to take the GED.
After January 1, the cost will be $120. The test will now all be computer based. This will be the first change to the test since 2002.
Advocates of the upgraded test say it will be a more accurate measure of what students are supposed to learn in high school.
The pending test change is causing several adult education centers to add testing dates and expand the teaching hours available.
At the Tennessee College of Applied Technology more students are trying to take the GED before the deadline.
“Without your high school diploma you can not go into post-secondary education,” Adult Education Coordinator Derrick Hines said. “Employers are also making employees come back and get their GED. “
The GED is separated into five sections. Students must pass the reading, writing, math, science and social studies portions before January 1 or start over with the new version.
“It is critical at this point because it gives students the opportunity to move up or to find a job,” Hines said.
The college offers two GED prep classes a day. Each class is three hours long.
Nashville's News 2 talked to Emma Williams just after she took one of the preparation classes.
Williams is scheduled to take the math and writing section of the GED December 10.
If she does not pass, the social studies, reading and science sections she has passed will be invalid.
“I am learning that even though the work is a challenge I can take it and do it to the best of my abilities,” she said.
Williams said her 10-year-old son and her dream of one day owning her own business motivated her to study for the GED.
“It was just to show my son if I can do it, he can do it,” Williams said. “[After I get my GED] I am going to go on to become a bartender and then open up my own business.”
Even though the test will not change until January 1, people may still run out of time right now because classes and testing dates may fill up.
After January 1, the state will start offering the HiSet. The HiSet is a different high school equivalency exam that will be closer to the $75 cost of the current GED.
There are more than 903,000 adult Tennesseans who do not have a diploma or GED.