Getting Your High School Equivalency: What to Expect

Jul 3, 2023

Regardless of your age or circumstance, taking the first step on your journey to a high school equivalency degree can be a little scary. We understand! Just keep reading. We break it all down for you so you know what to expect.

PCLC Equivalency Program Overview

Our programs prepare you for GED and HiSet high school equivalency exams. Unlike other programs that only offer certain subjects on certain days, we tailor a class schedule that works for you. The classes and the practice tests are free, but there is a fee for the final exam. However, we provide financial help if you meet minimum test scores on the practice tests.

With an average class size of between four and six students, you’ll get as much personalized attention as you need. PCLC’s High School Equivalency instructor Gwen Soult makes it clear to every student that “my goal is to get you a high school equivalency diploma.” She’ll do whatever it takes, working with her team of tutors, to make sure that if you’ve got the desire and are willing to work hard, you’ll walk away with the prize: a high school equivalency diploma.

Getting Started

The first step is to contact PCLC through our website or by phone. Either way, just let us know that you want to get your high school equivalency degree. We’ll schedule a time for you to fill out paperwork and take assessment tests. You should plan on spending five to six hours with us.

You’ll meet with Emma Groff, PCLC’s social worker. She’ll complete the intake form, then chat with you to see how else PCLC can help you. For example, an ID is needed to take the final tests, so she can help you get a state-issued ID. What about transportation or childcare? We can help with that, too.

Next comes online testing in reading, math, and language arts. The first is a pre-TABE test, followed by the TABE test. What’s TABE, you ask? Test of Adult Basic Education. The tests identify your academic strengths and where you could use some improvement. The TABE test will also determine your grade level in those subjects and several others.

Now it’s time to meet Gwen for orientation. “Most students are kind of shell-shocked from taking all the tests,” she notes, “and then I show them the big phonebook of a book.” That book – the Kaplan GED HiSET program – looks intimidating because it contains all subjects and grade levels as approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. You’ll only complete the sections relevant to you.

Orientation continues with a review of TABE test results, if they’re available. Gwen also covers expectations for the class, including the days and times available for instruction. Currently, they are:

Monday – Thursday | 9 am to noon and 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Monday – Wednesday | 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

The Real Work Begins – Studying for Your GED

When you come in for your first class, you’ll get your own copy of the Kaplan GED HiSET program book. If she didn’t already cover your test scores, Gwen will do that now. She’ll also help you come up with a study strategy. One approach is to start with the hardest subjects first to get them out of the way. The other is to begin with favorite subjects and work up to the more difficult ones.

Gwen will work with you to figure out your best path forward. She has a favorite saying: “You are the driver of this journey. I am only your GPS.” Like any GPS-led trip, some rerouting might be necessary. She likes to say, “I’ll help you get to your goal, but ultimately, it’s your foot on the gas pedal.”

Once your study strategy is figured out, it’s time to buckle down and start doing the lessons. You work at your own pace both in the classroom and on your own. How long it takes to be test-ready depends on you! Gwen has another favorite saying, “A lesson a day gets your GED. Yay!” But that timetable doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s ok.

As you complete each subject, you’ll take practice tests – online for GED and on paper for HiSet. When you’re ready for the final test, you’ll be able to take it almost immediately. Testing appointments are offered three times a week so that you can pick the test time most convenient for you.

And when you pass all of the subtests? You’ll go online to, where you’ll print off your official high equivalency diploma! We encourage you to bring it to our office so that we can print it on linen-style paper. We’ll also send you home with additional copies since you can download your diploma only once.

Then it’s time for some pictures and a celebration! Trust us – we are as excited as you are! All your hard work has paid off, and you have your high school equivalency diploma. With it, new job opportunities will open up, allowing you to build the foundation for a better future!

If you’re ready to take the first step toward earning your equivalency degree, we’re ready for you. Call at 717.567.7323, email us, or stop by our Newport office. Gwen, her tutors, and everyone at PCLC will do everything we can to fully support you on this life-changing journey.

About PCLC

The Perry County Literacy Council is dedicated to delivering the programs and services that impact Perry County, providing a One Stop site in Newport where Adult Education and CareerLink® partners are accessible at a single point of contact.

Tell Us Your Story

We believe that all Perry Countians should have access to services, education and credentials that will support self-sustaining wages. If you are currently facing challenges, please reach out to us. If we can’t help directly, we can direct you to the right resource.

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