The nationally recognized test to measure high school level skills, in place of a traditional high school program, is changing in a way that could force thousands of people to start over.
"I decided to do the program because it's a better opportunity for me and I can get a better job and go to college," said Maria Flores, who is studying for her GED. "I also want a better life for my daughter."
Flores is a student at Boise State University's High School Equivalency Program, or HEP for a year.
"They have me taking practice tests and once I get a good score I get sent off to take the real GED test," Flores said.
The 26-year-old has played by the rules and is on track to get her GED, already passing two of the five sections, but her work will be for nothing if she doesn't pass by the end of the year.
Michelle Kelly is the director of the HEP program and says the newly imposed deadline is adding a lot of pressure.
"They have to have that exam finished by December 19, 2013, and if they don't they'll have to start all over again starting in January," said Kelly.
It makes you think... what happens if I don't pass it? I'd have to come back again," Flores said.
The new test will look more closely at how prepared students are for college.
"It will be more rigorous and students will need to be more prepared for the new exam," Kelly said.
Flores says she's dedicated for herself and her daughter to complete the test by the deadline.
"My mind is just positive, positive, positive about it," Flores said. "So I'm pretty sure I'll finish this year and I'm pretty excited about it."
Kelly suggests you take your test sooner rather than later because the closer the deadline gets the harder it will be to get a slot at a testing center.