WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Right now many people are cramming for the GED exam. Before a more rigorous and expensive format rolls out in the New Year.
"It's really hard and believe me it's gonna be harder later," said one woman who just finished taking the GED exam.
To many people, it's the start to a better life.
But starting in January, the new format for the GED is expected to be more difficult. The test will be based on the common core standards now taught in most schools across the country. It's no longer about high school equivalency but college and career readiness.
"They're going to have to be computer literate so for people who haven't been on the computer very much they have that skill to learn before they can even take the test," said Nancy Johnson from the Literary Coalition.
The exam will include more non-fiction reading, longer passages and advanced math problems. It will also ask you to complete professional letters commonly written in the workplace.
"Now I work as a housekeeper...and I'm trying to become a nurse practitioner," said Althea Stone, who just completed the test on Monday.
Stone's high school diploma from Jamaica didn't transfer to the States. Many people fear a harder exam will keep them from landing a better job.
"Wherever you go for a job, first thing they ask you is for your GED," said another woman who just finished taking the exam.
Stone wants to attend nursing school in the spring. If she doesn't pass, she will have to take the entire exam over. At a cost of two hundred dollars instead of the current seventy dollar rate.
"These are people who don't have a high school degree and generally aren't making much money," said Johnson.
"To go back to school after 21 years, it wasn't easy..so to at least try and start, I consider that great," said Stone.
Johnson says overall the new exam is a good thing and will help people become better prepared for the workforce.