Adults who have started the series are encouraged to finish all sub-tests or start over with the 2014 version.

Adults who have taken some but not all the sub-tests for a GED need to act by the end of the year, or they will have to start over with a new version that launches in January 2014.

"We've been on the phone to people who haven't quite finished," said Kathy Petz, adult education coordinator at Hutchinson Community College. She was previously in charge of a testing site at Pratt Community College that has closed.

The last testing date at HCC is mid-December, and she assumes that would be the case at each of 27 test sites in Kansas.

Hutchinson, Great Bend, Dodge City and Wichita are the closest sites for taking a test that is available in either a paper or computer version. The tests must be taken at a testing center, and the GED Testing Service has filed a federal lawsuit to dismantle a network of websites that claim to offer the GED test and fake high school credentials.

The 2002 Series GED test will be replaced with a new 2014 GED test on Jan. 2.

High school standards and assessments are changing to Common Core, or as it is known in Kansas, College and Career Ready standards, emphasizing higher levels of thinking. The GED will also be changing. Petz said previously all questions were multiple choice; test-takers can expect to provide some short answers on the new test.

Another change in 2014 is dropping the requirement that test-takers pay for and take a practice test.

Adults age 18 and over can take the battery of tests without preparation. Petz said HCC has had four or five in the last month who came in test-ready. Most people, however, are encouraged to go through a series of classes.

HCC offers an 8-week class that meets three times a week in the evening or four times a week during the day. They have explored the possibility of opening an outreach center in Pratt, Petz said, but finding a location has been a barrier.

The school plans to launch online preparation classes in January that could meet in Pratt or Kingman one night a week, with the rest of the work done as convenient for the student.

The Learning Center at Pratt Community College also offers preparation to take a GED test and the Pratt Public Library has materials that can be checked out.

The primary focus of The Learning Center is to help students get a high school diploma; however, they do offer a computerized GED test-prep course. The course is self-directed, so students take as little or as much time as they need to get ready and it's a more realistic alternative than driving to a GED preparation course at Hutchinson or Great Bend several times a week, TLC director Debbie McGreevy said.

Over the past five years, approximately 16,600 Kansas adults have taken the GED test, with over 95 percent passing the exam. Last year, nearly 800,000 adults in the nation sat for the GED test, which is accepted by virtually all U.S. colleges and universities.

A person who has taken some GED tests at one location but prefer to finish at another can have their scores transferred, Petz said.