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How to Prepare for the Tests of Adult Basic Education (TABE Exam)

Updated on January 23, 2012

CTB/McGraw-Hill publishes the Tests of Adult Basic Education. These TABE exams are used by companies to determine basic skills needed to perform certain jobs. They can also be used for ESL testing or more advanced subjects like algebra. The TABE tests are also often used to assess whether an adult is ready to take the GED test.

There is no well-hidden secret to doing well on TABE tests. Like any standardized test that assesses actual knowledge (as opposed to aptitude tests that may require certain natural skills), every person of reasonable intelligence has a fighting chance on TABE exams. That is because the bulk of knowledge tested on these Tests of Adult Basic Education is going to be found directly in the textbooks used in high school to teach those subjects.

Let's look at the TABE 9 and 10 to start. It assesses an adult's knowledge in the basic skills of reading, math, language, language mechanics, vocabulary, and spelling. Outside of math, it is well known that the best way to actually read well is to read as much as possible. Now, to really improve your vocabulary, reading comprehension, and spelling, it would be good to have a dictionary handy when you read. Take that dictionary and look up any words you do not know as you read. Over time, you will naturally improve your vocabulary, reading, and language proficiency.

Now, English is not a particularly easy language when it comes to spelling. But there are ways to improve if you are a weak speller. As you read, take note of every time you were not sure how to spell a word. Write it down at least 10 times. Then, read the word and vocally spell it out a few times. Leave those words for a while and then come back in a few days and do it again. Repetition is the key to improving your spelling.

Math can be a little difficult to learn on your own, but the textbooks used in middle and high school should be enough to give you the knowledge to do well on the TABE math exam. If you have problems understanding the lessons, do not be shy to ask really any adult to help you. Even ask a boss or co-worker if you are having problems understanding something.

The same rule applies for the advanced TABE tests, which include science, social studies, algebra/geometry, and writing. Other than writing, which can get tricky, you are going to find that the relevant textbooks are the best source of knowledge for those Tests of Adult Basic Education.

Writing would require some special skills that may be found in English textbooks in middle school and perhaps high school. Even an entry-level English textbook for college should include information about how to construct an essay. Once you know how to write an essay, you can use the same format over and over again. Do not be afraid that your writing may seem cheesy or unsophisticated. You will receive credit for just about any opinion or analysis as long as it is plausible. ACT study guides are also helpful at providing tips on how to do a writing essay for this type of test.

For additional tips and direct instruction on TABE tests, consult a local community college or adult learning center and ask about GED classes.


CTB/McGraw-Hill: TABE Overview


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