Ready, Set, Test - The New High School Equivalency Exam is Here

New  York  State  has  chosen  the  Test  Assessing  Secondary  Completion  (TASC™)  for  the  high  school  equivalency  (HSE) exam  beginning  January  2014.  TASC™  is  produced  by  CTB/McGraw‐ Hill for national use.  Starting in January 2014, individuals in New York State who are seeking a  High School Equivalency Diploma will no longer take the GED®, but will instead take the TASC™. 

The Exam

TASC™ includes five sections:

  • Language Arts - Reading
  • Language Arts - Writing (which includes an essay)
  • Mathematics (which includes a calculator section and a section in which calculators are not allowed)
  • Science (calculators are permitted)
  • Social Studies

A New Exam Based on Learning Standards Designed to Help Examinees Succeed in their Careers and in College

English  language  arts  and  mathematics  education  in  New  York  State  is  now  based  on  the  national Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS). The CCLS are considered more rigorous than the previous learning standards used throughout the state, and better at preparing students to  succeed in their careers and in college.  To ease the transition from the GED® to the new TASC™ exam,  the  TASC™  will  increasingly  measure  these  new  learning  standards  between  2014  and  2017.  The  TASC™  is  also  based  on  new  science  and  social  studies  learning  standards  also considered more rigorous than those previously used in New York State.  Because of these new,  more  rigorous  learning  standards  in  English  language  arts,  mathematics,  science,  and  social studies,  students  may  find  the  TASC™  exam  more  challenging  than  the  GED®  exam  that  was  available in New York State prior to 2014. 

Examinees should expect and be prepared for a more rigorous test based on these standards. Specifically,  many  exam  questions  are  more  demanding,  complex  and  may  require  multiple  steps to solve. Although examinees may find that the TASC™ questions are more difficult than the  questions  they  may  have  experienced  on  the  GED®,  the  score  needed  to  pass  the  new  TASC™ exam accounts for this increased difficulty.  Specifically, the number of correct answers required to pass a TASC™ section is lower than the number of correct answers required to pass the corresponding GED® section.  As such, examinees should not  become discouraged by the  difficulty of exam questions while taking the TASC™. 

Preparing for the TASC™ Exam

The TASC™ takes about nine hours to complete and is usually administered in one or two days. If  one  or  more  of  the  five  subject  area  subtests  are  not  passed,  those  parts  may  be  retaken  after 60 days. First time TASC™ test takers must complete all five subtests. 

  • Examinees should be relaxed, positive and prepared to put forth their best effort.
  • Statistics indicate that those who have participated in test preparation programs are more likely to pass an HSE exam.
  • Examinees should know that in addition to determining HSE diploma status, one purpose of taking these exams is to find out which concepts have been mastered and which need further development.
  • The difficulty level of the test questions varies.
  • The essay will be scored based on a rubric.
  • The Texas Instrument TI‐30XS™ scientific calculator will be provided during testing for one section of math and for the entire science section. A guidebook on the use of the calculator can be found on the Texas Instrument website.  Familiarity with the calculator is strongly suggested.
  • Examinees should attempt all questions. Read each question carefully and make the best attempt at answering each one.

More information about the TASC™ is available at the TASC™ website.