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Central Washington University

GED Exam to Go Exclusively Online in January

After nearly 70 years of traditional paper-and-pencil general equivalency diploma (GED) testing, the exam will go paperless in Washington State, converting to online testing, in January.

“[With the online exam] I can open testing three to four times per week,” says Bill Thelen, director of Central Washington University’s Testing Services and its chief GED examiner. “In the past, I would offer the exam once every other week, but this makes it easier for students to schedule their exams.”

The new 2014 test will be comprised of four content areas—literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies—in comparison to the five-part test that is currently in place.

Those now going through the GED program must finish up before 2014. Those who have not passed all five parts of the current tests will be required to start the new four-part test, from the beginning, in order to receive their high school diploma equivalent. This includes paying the fee again for the test.

By going online, GED staff has the ability to make frequent changes to test contents, as needed. It also allows students to take the test more often.

Through the ease of updating its format and content, the online exam is designed to more accurately measure a foundational core of knowledge and skills necessary for career and higher education readiness. The 2014 test will cost $30 per section, or $120 total.

CWU has been a GED testing center for 41 years and, last October, was one of the first sites in Washington State to fully convert to computer-based testing.

Annually, more than 14,000 Washington State students, an average of 150 from Central’s testing center, complete their GEDs, leading to better jobs or higher education. More than 18 million people have earned GEDs since testing began nationwide in 1942.

CWU’s Testing Services offers hundreds of certification exams including the Medical College Admission Test, Law School Admission Test, Washington Educators Skills Test, Postal Service exams, FBI and Border patrol exams, mechanic certifications, various computer certifications, and certain medical certifications.

Additional exams may be available upon request. For additional questions concerning the GED or any other tests, contact Testing Services at 509-963-1847.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,

July 23, 2013

Release prepared by Kyra Jo Garnich

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