Real Talk: Laura Cupeles’ TASC Test Story

March 11, 2016 Jennifer Brandt

How many times have you set a goal and it just didn't come to life? Everyone can relate to this in some way. For Laura Cupeles, earning her high school equivalency was a goal that never became a reality – until now.

“I knew in my heart and soul that this was something that had to be done. Not only for me, but also for my daughters, grandchildren, and family. How could I be a motivation to my kids if I did not have my [HSE]?” Laura said.

Now a TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ success story, we’re excited to share Laura’s triumphant and inspiring TASC test story with you today.

  1. Why did you drop out of high school?

I got pregnant when I was 16 years old. I was in the 9th grade. My daughter was born in September 1987. I was due to start 10th grade that September, but since I had a newborn and no one to watch her while I went to school, I was forced to drop out.   

  1. What made you decide to earn your high school equivalency? What was your motivation?

I attempted several times after my daughter was born to get my high school equivalency, but it never seemed to happen. Between getting pregnant again and having to work, I never seemed to find the time to make it happen. 

I was lucky to have found [employment], even though I had no high school diploma. But the jobs that I had were not good jobs – they barely paid the bills. I knew in my heart that I needed to [earn my high school equivalency].

Twenty-seven years later, I finally started to realize that I needed to stop making excuses [like] not having any time, and decided enough was enough. It was time to make this happen. I wanted to go to [a vocational and] training school, but they would not [admit] me because I did not have a high school diploma.

  1. What challenges did you face throughout the study and preparation process? How did you overcome them?

I finally started studying [for my HSE] at the Atlantic County One-Stop Career Center in Pleasantville, New Jersey. But then I broke my ankle January 2015, and I had to have emergency surgery. I ended up getting depressed and lost interest in studying, so I stopped for a while.

  1. How did you prepare for the TASC test? How did the TASC study materials help you prepare?

I realized that this broken ankle was really a blessing in disguise. I was on leave from work and had all the time in the world to study. I asked my sister to take me to get a lap top computer, and I started studying on KahnAcadamy.org. I also ended up buying Kaplan's new TASC test book with 2 practice tests. I [also] used the TASC test website to study several times. It was very helpful. I took the TASC Readiness Assessment [and it] helped me get an idea of the type of questions that were on the test.

I studied so much. When I went back to work, studying became a major part of my life. I would go to work, get out of work, and study into the wee hours of the morning. Nothing was going to stop me now!

  1. What goals and ambitions do you have for your future?

My goals and ambitions are to be successful. I am going to enroll in school and work [toward] a career – not just settle for having a job. I would like to attend Atlantic Cape College. I want to pursue a career in art and become a commercial artist or graphic artist.

  1. Fill in the blank: In 10 years, you will see Laura ____________.

…living the life she was meant to have, and having the career she worked so hard to get.

  1. What advice or tips do you have for future TASC test takers and anyone looking to earn their high school equivalency?

The TASC test is great! I was able to [take] two tests at a time, which made it easier to study. I left the math subtest for last. I had to take the math part twice, but I finally passed. I am so proud of myself. My kids and family are proud of me, too.

To everyone that is trying to pass the TASC test, my advice to you is to study hard. The math subtest is difficult, but you can do it! I am 45 years old and haven't been in school since 1987, but with the [TASC test study] books, the online study [material], and the online videos, you can do it!

Please do not give up. I never realized how important [getting my high school equivalency was] until I got older. With the TASC test, you can take one section at a time, which makes it much easier to study. No matter what obstacles are placed in your way, use them as stepping stones like I did and don't give up! Passing the TASC test is a great feeling and has opened up a lot of doors for me already. It will do the same for you.

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