New GED test launching in 2014 expected to be tougher

French students work on the test of philosophy as they take the baccalaureat exam (high school graduation exam) on June 17, 2013 at the Arago high school in Paris. Some 664.709 candidates are registered for the 2013 session. The exam results will be announced on July 5, 2013. AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR (Photo credit should read FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images) FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

The General Educational Development exam is being revamped for 2014, with examiners saying the new test will be more adaptable for today's job market, where two-thirds of jobs require more than a high school diploma.

It will also be based on more rigorous academic standards.

"The test itself was pretty self-explanatory and it wasn't difficult for me, but I heard that the new one is going to be more difficult," said 32-year-old Longview, Wash., resident Sabrina Clements, who recently completed the GED exam and is going back to school to become a special education teacher, during a telephone interview with CBSNews.com.

The high school equivalency exam has been in existence for 70 years and is designed for adults who did not complete high school.

It currently covers language arts, writing, math, science and social studies. A score of 410 is required to pass each subject, with a total score of 2,250 required to pass overall.

The new test features a more intensive version of the same subjects.

"I just worked odd jobs and now it's hard to find a job and I figured it's probably about time to go and get a degree," said Clements, "After taking the test, I feel like I'm ready to go to college and not have to start at the bottom."

There is growing criticism that the current GED exam does not offer an equal chance to the 39 million American adults who do not finish high school. Research shows that present GED diploma holders earn the same as high school dropouts without credentials.

Jim Sturdivant, 45, is an IT technician from Seattle, who recently took the GED.

"I didn't make it to high school. If you have a certain set of knowledge or skills, then as long as you can prove that you have the knowledge or skills to do the job, most employers are at least willing to put you in at the ground floor of that skill set and then let you earn your way to the top. I've done that a couple of times, so it hasn't been a terrible hindrance for the most part," said Sturdivant.

However, Sturdivant said he has been getting more interviews since receiving his GED certification.

"I think this test is really good and if they can improve it in anyway, then I'm all for that," said Sturdivant.

The new, all-computer-based test is almost doubling in cost, jumping from $58 for the entire test and $10 for each subject, to $120 for the entire test and $20 for one subject.

The passing rate is pegged at 60 percent of high school seniors passing it at their first try.

News of the new test has apparently set off a scramble of students hoping to pass the old test by December, as their scores will not be valid in January and they will have to start from scratch.

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    Jessica Hartogs is a news editor for CBSNews.com. You can find her on Twitter: @jessicahartogs

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