Adult Literacy – Preparation for the GED® Tests and Basic Skills/College Prep Instruction
The Adult Literacy Program provides free instruction to adults (ages 16 or older) who want to improve their basic skill levels in order to advance their workplace or education goals. We can help you improve your reading, writing and math skills, or help you become computer literate. We can also assist as transition into college. Listed below are the current class sites. If these options don't work for you, contact the Adult Literacy Office
Spring/Summer Class Locations and Schedule: Click Here
Obtaining Your GED® Diploma
The General Educational Development (GED®) tests enable individuals who have not completed high school to obtain a High School Equivalency Diploma from the State of Iowa. This certifies that an individual has achieved a level of educational development comparable to that of a high school graduate. The GED® certificate will provide access to better jobs, and entrance to college and training programs. In order to obtain the diploma, an individual must successfully complete testing in the following subject areas: Language Arts Reading, Language Arts Writing, Science, Social Studies and Mathematics. The GED® tests are available in English, Spanish and French and are available in alternate formats for individuals with documented disabilities.
NEW - Online Preparation for the GED® Tests
NCC now offers free online preparation courses for the GED® tests through an individualized program called i-pathways. You may be a good candidate for this option if you:
• Have reliable access to a computer with high speed internet connection, preferably at home.
• Have basic computer skills such as keyboarding, using email and navigating the internet.
• Have the ability to work independently and be willing to spend at least 5-7 hours per week studying online.
• Pass a placement test in reading and math (during orientation).
Who is eligible to begin testing?
Individuals are eligible to begin testing if they meet the following criteria:
- 17 years old or older
- Not currently enrolled in high school
- Not a high school graduate
The following forms may be required and can be obtained from the Adult Literacy Office at NCC:
- High School Drop Form – If your graduating class has not graduated, you must have a form signed by someone in the high school stating that you have officially withdrawn from school.
- Parental Permission Form - If you are under 18, you will also need permission from your parent or guardian to test unless you are married, divorced or have a child.
How do I get started?
- Enrollment - The first step is to set up an appointment with the Adult Literacy Office at Northwest Iowa Community College. As part of the enrollment process, you will work out an education plan which will identify the skills you wish to acquire for success in college or the workplace.
- Preparation - Most people need to improve their skills before attempting the GED® tests. Based on assessment results, you may be referred to an instructor for assistance. Don’t be surprised if it takes at least 8 hours to prepare in each subject area. Assistance is available in the classes listed above.
What is the cost?
The cost for taking the GED® tests and receiving your diploma is $100. Payment is due when testing begins unless other arrangements have been made. If you are in need of financial assistance, please contact the Adult Literacy Office at NCC.
How long will it take to complete the official GED® Tests?
The time it takes to prepare for the GED® tests varies among individuals based on their skill level and knowledge. Your instructor will refer you to the GED® Examiner for each official subject test as soon as you pass an official practice test. Practice test scores will be valid for two months so it's recommended that you take each subject test when ready. The official test takes about 8 hours to complete so don’t plan on doing it all in one day.
- Mathematics - 50 questions, 90 minutes
- Language Arts Reading - 40 questions, 65 minutes
- Science - 50 questions, 80 minutes
- Social Studies - 50 questions, 70 minutes
- Language Arts Writing - 50 questions plus an essay, 2 hours
Where and when can I test?
The GED® Examiners are located in the Learning Center at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon. Testing appointments are required in order to ensure that test proctors are available. Daytime and evening testing is available if needed. Please contact the Adult Literacy Office to set up your appointment. Be prepared to show your photo ID.
Accommodations for Disabilities
Individuals with a documented physical or learning disability may qualify for test accommodations. Evidence of a disability must be submitted to the State of Iowa for approval of accommodations. This process takes several weeks so discuss your needs with the Adult Literacy Office before you are ready to begin testing. Official Accommodations Request Forms.
What score is needed to pass?
A minimum score of 410 points on each test and an average score of 450 points on all five tests (a total of 2,250 points) are required for successful completion of the GED® tests. If a passing score on part of the GED® test is not obtained, you will be required to retest in that subject area. You may also need to retest in one or more areas in order to obtain the average score required. There is a $5 charge for each retest. You will be allowed 2 years to complete the GED® tests.
What is the NCC Trustee’s Scholarship?
Students who earn their GED® diploma who reside in the Northwest Iowa Community College district and average 550 on the GED® tests are eligible for the Trustee's Scholarship if they wish to continue their college education at NCC. For more information:
- Please stop by the Foundation Office, Bldg D - Room 405D
- Call us at 800-352-4907 or 712-324-5061
- Email the NCC Foundation
What about my diploma?
If you are 18 or over and your class has graduated from high school, you will receive your diploma about six weeks after you complete all the requirements. Until you receive your official diploma, an official transcript will be given to you which may be used as verification for academic and employment purposes. If you are required to submit a GED® transcript for employment or college entrance, please contact the Adult Literacy Office.
What comes next?
Getting your GED® diploma is a terrific accomplishment but don’t stop there! The Adult Literacy program can assist as you improve your workplace skills or begin the transition into college. We can provide assistance in the following areas or refer you to:
- Resume preparation
- Career assessment & counseling
- Basic computer
GED® and GED Testing Service® are registered trademarks of the American Council on Education® and may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the American Council on Education.
Adult Literacy - English as a Second Language (ESL)/Citizenship Preparation
English language instruction is available at the following sites, with some instructors also assisting in the citizenship process. Individuals may join the class at any point after completing the enrollment process.
- Citizenship instruction
- Basic and intermediate ESL instruction in classroom settings
- Computer literacy instruction for English language learners
Spring/Summer Class locations and Schedule: Click Here