GED Placement Tests-TABE Test

When you want to attend a GED® instructional class, you often will have to take the TABE test. TABE stands for Test for Adult Basic Education.

There is no passing or failing the TABE test, but your scores offer adult education sites and schools a good indication of your academic level so they can provide proper placement and appropriate courses that match your level when preparing for the GED exam.

The TABE, developed by education publisher CTB/McGraw-Hill, is also used by many technical colleges and trade schools to assess a student’s academic level and skills. The TABE is aligned with the American College & Career Readiness standards.

Three TABE testing areas

So basically, the TABE is a good placement test that helps schools get a good idea of the level of academic instruction you are likely to manage without too much difficulty. The TABE covers three main academic fields, English Reading, English Writing, and Mathematics (read more below).

Based on your TABE scores, GED prep sites can decide what level your GED preparation requires and what you should focus on during the prep course. Perhaps you require some basic courses first or maybe you are ready to attend advanced courses.

As stated earlier, there is no TABE passing or failing score. It provides schools with standards and guidelines to determine what level of courses you require to get ahead with your academic education.

A low TABE score doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not fit for a college education. It’s just an indication that you will likely need to put in some pretty hard extra work if you want to accomplish your academic goals.

How hard is the TABE?

In general, the TABE is not considered to be a difficult test, but, like with all tests, some decent preparation and studying will be required. This website offers free GED video lessons and GED practice tests to help you attain better scores on the TABE test. Good results on the TABE will improve your chances of being able to sign up for the college courses you want.

There are 195 questions on the TABE test that will take you around three hours to complete and the shortened version (the “survey” test with 100 questions) will take around half that time to deal with. On the TABE “Applied Mathematics” part, the use of a calculator is permitted.

College Entrance

In the U.S., there are many college entrance exams like the ACT, SAT, TSI (in Texas), PERT (in Florida), ACCUPLACER, and if you attain a “College-Ready” (165-174) or “College-Ready Plus Credits” (175-200) score on the GED exam, the requirement to take a college entrance exam may be waived.

Many colleges require students that want to attend their programs to take the TABE prior to admission. This also applies to GED graduates that attain scores in the GED high school equivalency range (145-164). You can read more about GED scoring here.

When GED students are asked to take the TABE, they should contact a school in their area that provides TABE testing and for guidance on the registration process.

There is a TABE test especially for adult learners of the English Language, called the TABE CLASS-E. The regular TASB test comes with five difficulty levels that are as follows:

Level L (Literacy, K-1)
Level E (Easy, 2-3)
Level M (Moderate, 4-6)
Level D (Difficult, 6-8)
Level A (Advanced, 9-12)

If you are uncertain at what level you should take the TABE, please speak with a study advisor at the testing center to avoid any disappointment.

The TABE English Section

In the TABE English section, a student’s communication skills are assessed. These are the skills required to function effectively at work, in daily life, and in the classroom. Some students think that if they graduate from high school they will get a GED as well, but the two credentials are quite different, though equivalent. The main four English language domains are:

Standard English Conventions
Language Knowledge
Types and Purposes of Texts
Vocabulary Acquisition and Vocabulary Use

The TABE Reading Section

In the TABE Reading section, a student’s basic adult reading skills are measured. Test-takers need to construct and indicate the meaning of texts and use information from texts that relate to everyday life. There are four main reading domains:

Basic Reading Skills
Craft & Structure of Texts
Main Ideas and Supporting Details
Integration of Ideas and Knowledge

The TABE Math Section

In the TABE Math section, a student’s problem-solving and logical reasoning skills are measured in math computations and applied math. The use of a calculator is allowed as long as that’s an approved model. Please check with your test center. The main Math fields that are addressed are:

Number Sense, Expressions, and Equations
Four Basic Operations
Measurement and Data
Number in Quantity
Ratios and Proportions
Statistics and Probability

So the Test of Adult Basic Education is a diagnostic test that’s used to determine aptitudes and skill levels in a number of situations. The test is used by many companies for hiring and promotion purposes or for determining which employees are eligible for further education and training programs.

The TABE test is additionally used by adult education programs, post-secondary schools, and public service agencies who specialize in guiding people into suitable employment or to be properly placed in adult education programs in trade schools, technical colleges, or obtaining a GED diploma.


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