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The New GED Test

/ / Education News

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A passing score on the GED is accepted worldwide as proof of a student’s readiness for higher education or for the workforce. 2014 saw the update of the GED High School Equivalency Exams, in both content and delivery.

What do these changes mean for the Torah community?

In the past, many yeshiva students concentrated exclusively on their Gemara studies during their high school years, and relied on the GED High School Equivalency Exam to provide them with their ticket to higher education, if they would ever wish to avail themselves of that option. Indeed, thousands of yeshiva students have successfully passed the GED exam after intensive self-study or after culmination of an educational program designed for GED preparation.

However, the new GED test presents new challenges. The new testing format is computer-based and demands familiarity with the question types typical of online courses. A student lacking computer savvy will not succeed on his test day, regardless of his amount of knowledge. Therefore, preparation for the GED test now must include actual computer-based study.

Yet, in truth, there were already many hopeful GED test-takers who did not succeed in passing their exams, or did not pass with a sufficiently high score in order to enter the institutions of their choice. They had relied on the popular assumption that the test wouldn’t be overly difficult for a student who had succeeded in advanced Torah study, which is known to demand even more intellectual prowess. And, it’s true that Talmud students have a foundation of analytical skills and a background of diligent study habits.

The difference was that these students weren’t allowing themselves enough time to acquire their secular knowledge in a solid fashion, building block by block.  While it may be possible to memorize historical facts, algebra and writing skills don’t lend themselves to being mastered overnight. Plus, the lapse of continuity in the student’s secular education considerably lengthened the learning process, as many subjects were already a “foreign language”. Also, many students belatedly discovered that their elementary school secular education hadn’t ever provided them with a basic foundation of reading comprehension and math computation. Add to that mixture, financial and family pressures looming in the background of a married man looking for a job – and it’s a recipe for overload.

The Best Solution

Fortunately, there is another way in which these prerequisite subjects can be painlessly mastered. In fact, the educational experience will be actually enjoyable and can comfortably fit in to the normal study breaks of a typical teenage Torah scholar’s schedule.

Melamed Academy offers a customizable study track for students of all ages wishing to prepare for the GED exams. This comprehensive course contains both the designated course material, plus familiarity with the question formats of the new computer-based exams.

These courses can be studied at a student’s convenience, at home or in the Melamed Academy learning center. Kosher computers provide students with an internet connection that is limited to the specific educational apps utilized in the courses.  Test packs provide simulated exam practice to ensure that students are well prepared for their test day, and are set up for success.

Melamed Academy’s GED-Aligned Comprehensive Study course is suitable for students seeking to fill knowledge and skill gaps in preparation for the GED® High-School equivalency exam. This course prescribes a customized learning prescription for every student, based on a series of pretests that check proficiency and knowledge. This course is designed to service students of all backgrounds – ranging from minimal High School experience through more advanced learners.

Teacher support and guidance is provided in all subjects, according to students’ individual pace.

GED® is a registered trademark of the American Council on Education (ACE) and administered exclusively by GED Testing Service LLC under license. This material [or content] is not endorsed or approved by ACE or GED Testing Service.



Reading, Writing, & Language Arts

The English exams test the students' command of English language conventions and literature styles. The student must successfully demonstrate an ability to read, write, and express his thoughts well in the English language.

In the Reading section, students must read texts ranging between 450-900 words. 75% of the texts are informational; 25% are fiction. Students must read closely, determine the main idea, point of view, meaning of words and phrases, and other inferences and claims.

The Language section tests students’ command of English language conventions including grammar, usage, capitalization, and punctuation. Students demonstrate knowledge by selecting the best alternative from drop-down menus and by editing texts.

In the Writing section, students must analyze arguments and use evidence to develop ideas. The writing must have correct structure and use standard English conventions with clarity and command of language rules.

Reasoning & Mathematics

The Math exam tests students' knowledge in Algebra I, Geometry, and Data Representation.
In the Math exam, students may use a calculator for most sections; while computation problems must be performed without any calculating device.
45% of the problems test quantitative problem solving; 55% test algebraic problem solving.
Emphasis is placed on applying mathematical skills and ideas to real world problems. Statistics and data interpretation competence must be demonstrated.

Life, Physical, and Earth Science

The Science exam tests scientific knowledge and reasoning. 40% is Life Science based, 40% is Physical Science, 20% is Earth Science.

Students must understand the scientific method and be able to explain how scientists conduct experiments and reach conclusions.

Students also must master the scientific vocabulary and concepts in each scientific area.

History, Government, Economics, & Geography

This test examines students' knowledge of American History and Government. Students must be familiar with key documents, dates, people, and events. Students must also study world events, world geography, and key developments.
The Social Studies exam demands that students analyze arguments, use evidence, and apply reasoning skills. Test material is based 40% on civics and government, 20% on US History, 15% Economics, and 15% Geography and the World.