Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - A new version of the GED test will arrive in January 2014 with multiple major changes.
Those who have passed some, but not all of the five parts of the current test, will need to complete it before their results expire on Dec. 31.
40,000 adults in Onondaga County are estimated as reading at a sixth-grade literacy level. The GED is designed to address such reading deficiencies, but education officials say the new test could be more challenging.
“If an adult is reading at or below a sixth grade level they're not going to be able to do many of the things you and I take for granted,” said Marsha Tait, Director of Literacy Volunteers of Greater Syracuse.
Tait says those with weak reading skills may have trouble when it comes to reading the back of a cereal box or establishing a household budget.
Tait helps students get ready for high school equivalency tests like the GED, preparing them for jobs and much more.
“Literacy tests have to do with what adults need to do in real life - in their own lives - in order to be employed, take care of their families, and be active and productive citizens in our community,” she said.
Students can expect to see the test go from a paper version to a computer version, meaning everyone will need basic computer literacy skills to take the test.
Those who want to avoid additional challenges are encouraged to take the test this year.
"We are encouraging anyone to come in and sign up if they think they're ready to sit for that exam because you only have so many tries within a one year span," said Marlena Daher-Rahman, associate director of the Syracuse Educational Opportunities Center
Those seeking their GEDs have three chances in one year. After this year, they will have to start over and study for an entirely new exam.
Because of the volume of people in Onondaga County who are trying to take the test, some centers have stand-by lists.
GED Test Centers in Onondaga County are: Syracuse Educational Opportunity CenterSyracuse City School DistrictOCM BOCES