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All About the GED: California

Without a high school diploma, it can be difficult to pursue postsecondary study or advance a career. Taking the General Educational Development (GED) exam can result in a credential equivalent to a high school diploma, opening up educational and professional opportunities. Read on to learn more about taking the GED tests in California.

Information about the GED in California

The GED consists of a series of tests designed to measure the knowledge and skills expected of a high school graduate. According to the GED Testing Service (www.gedtestingservice.com), 97% of U.S. colleges and employers recognize the GED credential. In California, successful completion of the exam results in the California High School Equivalency Certificate.

Eligibility

In order to take the GED exam in California, one must be a resident of the state. California residents must be within 60 days of their 18th birthday to sit for the test without exceptions. Young adults aged 17 may take the exam after providing additional documentation, but this is the absolute minimum age in California.

Test Format

The GED exams cover four content areas, requiring about seven and a half hours to complete. The subject areas consist of the following:

  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Mathematical Reasoning
  • Reasoning through Language Arts.

Sections are comprised of a combination of multiple-choice questions, reading tasks, short answer, and extended response questions.

Preparing for the Test

According to the GED Testing Service, the current test has the same difficulty level as the level required to pass high school. GED test prep courses are available at adult basic education centers throughout California. The Adult Education Office at the California Department of Education (CDE) can help one locate courses nearby (www.cde.ca.gov). If home study is preferred, the council also offers information on finding free practice tests and sample test questions online. Books and other materials can be purchased from official test preparation companies.

Taking the Test

The fee for the GED exam in California is $35 per subject area test. At this time, it's not possible to take the GED exam online. However, the state of California offers 180 active testing centers; their locations can be found through the CDE.

In order to pass the entire exam, test takers must achieve a minimum standard score of 150 on each subject area. Individuals who fail one of the subject area tests are able to retake the test two times without a waiting period between retakes. After the second retake, there is a 60-day waiting period before another attempt at the GED test can be made. The fee in California to retake the test is $20 (if taken within 12 calendar months) for the first two retakes.

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