The Top 5 Changes to the GED Test for 2014

Are you curious about the new GED test scheduled for release in 2014? Take a look at our video outlining five of the most impactful changes.

Hi there! My name is Bill and I’m the Director of Adult Education and Workforce Development here at Wonderlic. Today I will review the top 5 changes to the upcoming GED test that will be released in 2014.

The first, and biggest, change is the switch to Constructed Item Response. The new test will have both short answer and extended item response writing exercises on all four subtests, with longer extended item response items appearing on the literacy and social studies subtests.

The second, and perhaps most visible change, is that the test will be administered only on computer; there will be no option for paper-based testing. It will be necessary for GED candidates to be familiar with keyboarding skills in order to keystroke their responses. Further, candidates should have practice opportunities in their GED preparatory programs to experience computer-based testing.

Third, the new GED Test will be aligned with the Common Core Standards in an attempt to focus on knowledge and skills most strongly correlated with success in career and college. The Common Core Standards are being implemented throughout K-12 across the nation.

The fourth change is the new item types the test will feature. All generations of the GED Test— including the current version—have featured multiple choice questions. The 2014 GED test will add several new item types:

  • Fill in the blank
  • Drag-and-drop
  • Hot spot
  • Cloze
  • Multiple select
  • Short answer
  • Extended item response

Because of these new items types, candidates’ use of test-taking strategies will be minimized and a more in-depth demonstration of skills and competencies will be required. Thus, the effectiveness of prep classes that teach “test-wiseness” may have a diminished impact on a candidate’s ability to pass the GED.

And finally, the change that might be most difficult for candidates to prepare for is that prior knowledge will be required. The current GED Test does not ask candidates to possess prior knowledge in order to complete and pass the test. However, the new test will require that candidates use prior knowledge in order to successfully complete the test. This means that the GED Test is no longer “just a reading comprehension test.” Candidates will have to possess background information in a variety of content areas, for example, social studies and science, in order to pass.

These changes are significant, and will require teachers to update their competencies and skills in order to effectively instruct GED candidates. All teachers should actively seek out opportunities for professional development so they can help their students meet the heightened demands of the 2014 test.

I want to thank you for spending a few minutes with me today. I hope you’ve found this video helpful. Be sure to visit our blog for more videos and helpful articles, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for news and information on workplace and human resource issues, student achievement, and more!

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To be ready for the new GED Reasoning through Literacy extended response questions will require dropping the silos of reading and writing instruction--they need to be two sides of the same coin; responses require reading comprehension AND writing specifically to what was just read, citing passages relevant text in a new argument. Many programs will need to re-think practice if students are to be ready for this.

Bill Walker's picture


You make a cogent statement in your blog reply.  The literacy Assessment Targets for the 2014 GED Test combine Common Core Anchor Standards from the content areas of reading, writing, and language.  These Assessment Targets, and more importantly the Indicators that point out specific skill we need to incorporate in GED preparatory instruction—can be found in Chapter 2 of the Assessment Guide for Educators published by the GED Testing Service.  Successful GED candidates will master the ability to read closely, to write clearly, and to edit and understand the use of standard written English.

I agree with everything Bill has written--excellent synopsis of key points. These points will help the field and practitioners to prepare themselves to teach the next generation of GED graduates.

Bill Walker's picture

Thanks for the kind comment Stephanie.  You will also want to know that the Wonderlic professional development series for autumn 2012 is featuring 3 webinars on the 2014 GED Tests.   These webinars will address the content, context, and cognitive demands of the 2014 GED tests of literacy, mathematics, social studies, and science.  Registration is online at

Wow! You mean people didn't have to have any prior knowledge of anything when taking the old GED tests?

Your tongue-in-cheek remark regarding prior knowledge and the 2002 generation of the GED Test is spot on! What is meant to highlight in my writing is that for the next generation of the GED Test will test a student's recall of prior knowledge in the content areas. Thanks for reading with an editor's eye!

OF course, knowledge was required in order to pass the GEDs in the past. There was less specific content of the type you memorize; the focus was on reasoning and inferring. Reading passages often included those a person might encounter in the workplace. The effectiveness of this new test and the assumption that the sole purpose of high school is to prepare people for college in today.s economy remains to be seen

Since I am the lead teacher in our Adult Education program I have done a great deal of research on the new GED. My main concerns are: (1) what about our older students who have never used a computer? (2) what about our lower income students who do not have access to computers except when they are in our classes? (3)I have a Master's degree in English; however, I am able to teach the math that we have on the current GED, what is going to happen when the students need more math than we can offer? (we are a small program)

That was a really nice video from Bill. I am really excited to know about the changes in GED test for 2014.

Is there still an essay to write? That's the only thing I know I won't be able to pass on the test.

John Moye's picture

Thanks for your interest, Marissa. We suggest that you contact the American Council on Education for the most up-to-date testing requirements. You may contact them at 

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