The TASC Test
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It is believed that each year, more than one million students drop out of high school in the United States.
There may be many reasons why a person may fail to graduate. But the truth remains that those without a high school diploma may suffer long-term consequences, with earning potential significantly lower than high school and college graduates.
For those who may be looking to re-enter the world of academia and improve their employment prospects, the TASC test is a crucial exam.
The Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) assessment is commonly recognized in the following twelve states:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Although the TASC test was only introduced in New York State in 2014, it is already highly regarded as an indicator of an applicants’ employability or college readiness.
It ensures that knowledge is directly comparable to graduating high school seniors.
The TASC test was developed in a bid to create a more affordable testing program that could be easily revised to meet national education standards.
In many of the states listed (such as New York), the TASC test has directly replaced the GED (General Education Development) certificate.
As a high-school equivalency assessment, the TASC exam is open to anyone aged 16 years or more.
The only criteria are that the applicant is not currently enrolled in a high school curriculum and hasn’t received a high school diploma.
If you pass your TASC test, you will have officially passed a high school equivalency exam. This means that you can apply for college or apply for higher-paid job roles.
The assessment is split into five distinct areas designed to align with the United States core curriculum.
Subtests within the TASC exam include:
- Social studies
Each subsection has its criteria, but you should expect to require a minimum score of 500 on each subtest to pass your assessment, as well as a minimum of 2 out of 8 on the written essay.
Let’s take a look at the breakdown of each subject area:
The TASC math test will confirm your ability to focus on mathematical problems. You will be tested on areas including algebra, geometry, statistics and probability.
You will be allowed to use a calculator for half of the test.
The first thing we are going to look at is geometry.
You may be asked a question about triangles. You will be expected to know the difference between the different types of a triangle (for example, isosceles, acute, scalene) and you will need to know how to calculate the angle of a triangle.
Therefore, you could expect to be shown a picture of a triangle and given multiple-choice answers to say what type of triangle it is.
1. What type of triangle is this?
b) Right angled triangle
You could also be asked a question about square roots.
You will be expected to know what a square root is and how to find out the answer.
(Spoiler: a square root is simply a number multiplied by itself).
You will also be expected to recognize when a question is asking you about square roots. Typically, it would be demonstrated through the square root symbol – √
2. Solve √5,929
The TASC reading test will challenge applicants on a mix of informational and literary texts including poems, drama, non-fiction and stories.
Applicants will need to demonstrate an understanding of what they have read. They will need to focus on critical analysis, showing that they understand how to evaluate details in the text.
They will also need to be able to apply different themes and scenarios in different settings and contexts and understand how ideas and themes can lead to larger messages.
Within the TASC reading test, you can expect to be provided with a long passage and to answer questions relating to that passage.
Example passage: Romeo and Juliet
ACT II SCENE II
He jests at scars that never felt a wound.
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
What literary device does Shakespeare utilize as Romeo compares Juliet to the sun?
Within the science subtest of the TASC assessment, you will be tested in comparison to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
You will be asked to explain your knowledge of life sciences (such as molecules and organisms), earth sciences (human activity and the universe) and space sciences (comprising matter, motion and force).
There are many elements to the science TASC test questions; but broadly speaking, you will be provided with multiple-choice questions.
You may be given a scenario or a topic and the questions will relate to that topic.
Let’s look at the subject of energy as this may come up within the space science section of your TASC test.
For example, you may be expected to know the difference between kinetic energy and potential energy.
You may want to know how energy transforms between the two and be able to recognize examples.
Which is an example of kinetic energy?
a) A skateboard before it skates down a ramp
b) A bike traveling down a hill
c) A football before it is thrown
d) A book sat on a table
The social studies TASC test will quiz you on your knowledge of areas including history, geography and economics.
25% of your score will be based on your knowledge of US history (with a specific focus on colonial times, civil war times, WWI-WWII, the great depression and the post-war period).
You will also need to demonstrate your understanding of US government structure and citizen rights, which will make up a further 25% of your score.
The remaining 50% will be split between economics (20%), geography (15%) and world history (15%).
Although the social studies section of the TASC test is based on general knowledge, there are many areas of comprehension and critical analysis that may come into play.
By developing unique skills in interpreting information, you can use these skills across a broad range of subject areas where you may be asked to share your knowledge.
A common example of this is being able to determine if you’ve read a fact or opinion.
This is a good skill to learn; it helps you to read information and check your interpretation. It also allows you to check your reading comprehension skills and that you can remember the information that you have learned.
This is a good example of a question which checks your comprehension and interpretation skills.
Throughout the TASC test, you may be provided with a statement about a moment in history. You will need to decipher whether that statement is historically accurate (and can be proven as a fact) or whether it’s the perception of the author (in which case, it’s an opinion).
By understanding how to interpret the information provided to you, you can show your critical thinking skills.
1. What should you ask yourself if you are trying to determine if a statement is a fact or an opinion?
a) Can the statement be proved true or false?
b) Does the statement reflect a personal view held by the author?
2. In which year did World War II start?
The TASC writing test is comparable to the skills learned in Grades 7 to 12.
It requires you to showcase how you express yourself through sentence structure, use of paragraphs, understanding of grammar and use of correct tenses.
The test will comprise of 50 multiple-choice questions as well as an essay prompt which will ask you to write a compelling argument, demonstrating your understanding of writing technicalities.
A lot of the questions asked within the writing TASC test will be based on the ‘rules’ that can be found within writing competencies.
This could be checking your ability to spot spelling errors or your understanding of grammatical devices.
Which homophone is correct?
a) I’m going to the shop
b) I’m going too the shop
c) I’m going two the shop
Hopefully, you should now be a little clearer on what questions to expect on your TASC test.
But here are some of the fundamentals that you need to consider for test day:
This will depend on your state. Most states will allow you to create an online profile and register for a testing date at a time convenient to you.
Generally, the TASC tests take place in community colleges, adult education centers and local school boards.
Your state will be able to confirm your nearest test center.
You can complete the TASC test in English or Spanish. Copies are also available in Braille if required.
The TASC test should take up to nine hours, split across two days. There are clear time limits for each section of the assessment:
- Reading – 75 minutes
- Writing – 105 minutes
- Math – 105 minutes
- Science – 75 minutes
- Social Studies – 75 minutes
You can take the entire test up to three times in any calendar year.
If you pass certain subtests, you can retain those scores and only retake the sections you failed.
Some people may choose to participate in an online version of the test. Others may prefer a paper option.
Your test center will supply you with a calculator for your math test to ensure standardization among applicants.
You will be expected to pass each subset of the assessment.
Your TASC test score will require a minimum of 500 points per subtest as well as a minimum of 2 out of 8 for the written essay.
If you haven’t received the required score for one area, you can retake that test until you have passed the whole exam.
When it comes to passing your TASC test, it’s important to undertake as much preparation as possible.
Those who spend time studying for each component of the TASC test will find themselves at an advantage.
A great score can significantly boost your employment opportunities so there is no better motivation to prepare.
Here are some of our top tips for making the most of your TASC test study:
Make the most of the practice TASC tests. There are many options available online which will help you to understand the types of questions that you could be asked during your examination. Using these practice tests will not just help you to improve your knowledge (many are typically accompanied by lesson plans) but they will help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and gauge your potential TASC test score.
Focus your time on your tricky areas. If you know that you are weaker on the math TASC test than reading comprehension, focus your study time accordingly. You need to be confident in all areas of the exam, so you may want to spend more time on your weaker areas to ensure success.
Pay attention to the grading. Think about what the examiners are looking for. If we take the social science element of the test as an example, 50% of the TASC test score will be based around US history and US government structure. In comparison, World history equates to just 15% of the score. Therefore, it stands to reason that you should put more attention into the higher marked areas of the exam.
We hope that this article has helped you to understand what you can do to improve your test scores.
Your potential success will come down to the preparation that you do.
We know that if you have not graduated high school, you may need additional support when it comes to passing your TASC test. However, there are plenty of resources available to use for free online.
We would also recommend making the most of our helpful community forum. If you have a question about any of the areas involved in the exam, or you are unsure of how to figure out an answer, our community is full of helpful hints and tricks to improve your study.