Created: 11/04/2013 6:22 PM KSTP.com
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It’s helped more than 18 million people get a certificate that’s equal to a high school diploma over the years.
Now, the GED is about to get a make-over.
"The skills that are being reflected on the new GED test line up more with what students are being targeted now and the skills they need for preparing for the future, whether it's higher education or a new job," said “Transition To College” instructor Judi Needham.
2014 will bring the first major changes to the GED program in more than a decade. It means the end of pencil-and-paper.
"The student will be answering the questions on the computer, including writing essays and short answers," Judi Needham explained.
The five tests that make up the current GED will also be reduced to four.
"They will be combining the reading and the writing into one test," Judi Needham told us.
“Right now I'm starting my first year here at Riverland community college," said Keisha Jewett. She got her GED in May, after having been home-schooled.
“Having that piece of paper is important because education is such a big demand in society."
“If you haven't started taking the GED test you should wait until 2014, and then just start with the new test," Judi Needham explained.
But if you're in the middle of the GED process you need to finish it by the end of the year.
"If you've taken some of them already and think you're ready to go ahead and pass the rest of them, you do need to take them this fall, otherwise you will need to start over with the new test format, starting in January."
“I'm hopefully going to be going into screenplay writing,” Keisha Jewett told us. “That's what I want to do. And also writing books. There's a difference between intelligence and being smart, and to be smart you can just make the right choice. This is the right choice educationally."
Many locations have added GED testing dates and slots to help those who are in the middle of the process meet the end-of-year deadline.