Educators often say that students begin in adult education with the TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) and end with the GED (General Educational Development) Test. Although both are tests, one measures basic skills learned in prior schooling, while the other measures common knowledge that high school students are expected to learn before they graduate. Preparation for the TABE test is different from preparing for the GED.

TABE Subtests

The TABE test was designed by McGraw-Hill in 1967. According to McGraw-Hill, many adult education programs use the TABE as an entrance exam. It consists of three subtests: Reading, Mathematics and Language. For adults who have been out of school for many years, studying for the TABE can be an intimidating task. There are five levels to the TABE itself, ranging from the limited literacy level to advanced. Students can take the math test on one level and the reading test on a different level. The TABE takes approximately 2 1/2 hours to complete.

Studying for the TABE

You have several online study options for the TABE. First, take a TABE practice test to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. Both Test Prep Preview and ProProfs have TABE practice tests available online. Once you have pinpointed your strengths and weaknesses, you can concentrate your preparation on the areas of weakness uncovered during the practice test. For the Reading subtest, the Florida Department of Education website posts TABE progress checks for reading comprehension that help you pinpoint reading difficulties and work to fix them. For Mathematics, the Math Help site gives guided lessons and practice to help you work through troublesome problems. And for Language, Purdue University's Owl English website has worksheets and exercises to help with grammar problems.


The GED Test was first developed to assist returning soldiers during WWII who needed to complete their high school equivalencies. Today, the GED is used by approximately 450,000 adults each year to gain entry into postsecondary education or to enter the workforce. Similar to the TABE, to prepare for the GED you should take a practice test to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. The GED for Free website offers practice tests as well as online study guides. You need to register, but the guides and practice tests are free. GED Study Guide has online study guides and practice questions for all subtests of the GED Test.

Studying for the Subtests of the GED

Some students have no problems passing all parts of the GED Test, but many students have difficulty with one or more subtests. If you do not pass all sections of the GED, you can retake the subtests you did not pass. For the Language Arts subtests, Purdue Owl Engagement offers extensive preparation for writing. Waybuilder offers reading preparation. McGraw Hill/Contemporary also has a website for reading preparation, especially reading comprehension. For the Mathematics subtest, has worksheets, tutorials and lessons online for everything in math from algebra to addition. The lessons are easy to follow, and you can replay them. GC Learn Free is another good math tutorial website.

Related Articles