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. The American Council on Education (ACE), which produces the GED tests, reports that 95% of U.S. colleges and universities accept a GED credential in lieu of a high school diploma ( It also says that approximately 96% of employers accept a GED credential. In California, successful completion of the exam results in the California High School Equivalency Certificate.


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 five content areas, requiring about seven hours to complete. The subject areas consist of the following:

  • Language arts, reading
  • Language arts, writing
  • Science
  • Social sciences
  • Mathematics

Each section is made up of a combination of multiple-choice questions and reading tasks. Composing an essay is required for the writing section.

Preparing for the Test

In order to pass the GED tests, individuals must demonstrate skills at or above the level of 60% of high school seniors. 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 ( 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

Individual testing centers establish the fees for taking the GED exam in California. At this time, it's not possible to take the GED exam online. However, the state of California offers 190 active testing centers; their locations can be found through the CDE. The minimum overall passing score on the GED exam is 2250, and a score of at least 410 on each individual subject test is required. California doesn't require individuals to wait to retest if they don't pass one or more subject tests, but a retesting fee is necessary.

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