Minneapolis saw a big increase in the number of people who took the GED last year.
City adult education officials say they gave 8,600 GED tests in 2013, more than twice the number handed out in a typical year. They credit the spike to a new test for 2014, that's tougher, more expensive and administered entirely on computer.
Nearly 850 people passed the old test in 2013, 300 to 400 more than usual.
People who didn't pass the entire test will need to start over in 2014 but the shouldn't panic. The studying they've done has prepared them for the new test, said Carlye Peterson, manager of adult education for Minneapolis Public Schools.
"You still have a chance to pass the exam," she said, "so try it again."
Earning a General Educational Development (GED) diploma has helped high school dropouts for decades get into college or find a job.
The GED got its start after World War II as a way for GIs to get their high school credentials. Over the years, the national standardized test -- really, a group of tests that cover math, social studies, science, reading and writing -- has increasingly become an option for high school dropouts, older workers and immigrants.
The new GED will be a better indicator of whether test takers are ready to start college or a career, Peterson added.