By Mike A. GlaschMay 10, 2007
FORT JACKSON, S.C. (Army News Service, May 10, 2007) - Do you know your score' The answer to that question can be important when referring to your credit, but it is just as important for Soldiers looking to advance their careers.
Whether a Soldier is interested in reenlisting, changing his or her military occupational specialty, or applying for Officer Candidate School or Warrant Officer School, a low General Technical score can hold them back.
For Soldiers needing help raising their GT score, the Army Continuing Education System offers the Basic Skills Education Program.
"BSEP is a two-and-a-half week prep course to get Soldiers ready to take the Armed Forces Classification Test (a version of the ASVAB for those already in uniform)," said Shirley O'Neal, education services officer, ACES.
The classes review basic general education requirements in reading, math, spelling and language.
Ms. O'Neal said Soldiers usually don't need to start from scratch, and may need study just one or two areas.
"If you don't continue doing math, you may remember doing it, but you've lost some of those skills or may not be able to do it as quickly as you used to," she said.
That was the case for Spc. Kiana Sneed, dental specialist. She has been out of school for two years and is planning to apply for the Green to Gold program but needs a GT score of 110 or better.
"As much as you think you know, it's surprising how much you forget," she said. "It's a good refresher."
Before enrolling in the program Soldiers take an assessment test to determine which areas they need to focus on.
The popularity of the classes has grown here in the last few months.
"The last four classes we have had have been really packed," said Brenda G. Johnson, ACES education counselor. "The June class is already full. We've had full classes for the last four to five months."
Besides instruction, Soldiers are given several practice tests during the two-and-a-half weeks.
"We do that because speed in answering the questions is a very important part of the AFCT," Ms. Johnson explained. "So a lot of the BSEP class is testing to show the Soldier that he or she can build their speed in answering the questions and build their accuracy as well."
Staff Sgt. Robert Keil, a drill sergeant with the Fitness Training Center here, is confident the constant testing will help him raise his GT score so he can apply for OCS.
"We know what is coming up for the testing," he said. "It helps you to have confidence in yourself."
For Soldiers leery of seeking educational help, Spc. Sneed offers advice.
"We pride ourselves on Army values. It's one of those personal courage things to be able to come forward and admit you need a little bit of help," she said. "You'll be better for it in the long run."
(Mike A. Glasch writes for the Fort Jackson "Leader.")