Posted by Christy Williams on December 17th, 2015
“The journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step.” – Lao Tzu
Preparing for the High School Equivalency (HSE) exam does not have to be an overwhelming journey. Breaking the process down into actionable steps makes the preparation more manageable. Five steps for successful HSE preparation are: 1) Identify the HSE exam for your state; 2) Use an assessment to identify weak areas; 3) Complete review and practice activities; 4) Take practice tests; and 5) Review as necessary.
1. Identify the HSE exam accepted by your state. In 2014 the requirements for HSE testing changed. States no longer all take the same test. Instead, each state has selected which test will be considered acceptable for high school equivalency. In addition to the GED® test, the current exam choices are HiSET® and Test Assessing Secondary Completion™.
2. Use an assessment to identify weak areas. Creating a baseline of knowledge is an essential step towards preparing for any HSE. The assessment can be delivered formally or informally with the primary goals of highlighting areas of strength and finding deficiencies for additional support. The data used from the baseline assessment should be used to craft the study approach.
3. Complete review and practice activities. Once areas of strength and weakness have been identified, review and practice should be strategic. Review material should focus heavily on the weak areas. After reviewing the concepts, practice activities should allow students to put the learned skills to use. Review and practice activities are available in a variety of formats including worksheets, games and web-based. Many of the resources can be accessed from home, through a test prep program or at a local library.
4. Take practice tests. Part of successful test taking comes through practice. Practice tests should be scheduled at regular intervals during the preparation period. The practice allows students to become familiar with the layout, instructions and timing of the test. Practice tests are available in written and online formats. The online practice tests provide an additional layer of training for testers now that HSE exams are computer based.
5. Review as necessary. Each time students take a practice test, the results will provide additional insight on areas of progress. Use the results to determine which areas need consistent review leading up to the test compared to those that will just need maintenance of the skills. Structure reviews in a manner that allows direct, repetitive focus on the areas of weakness.