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Become a High School Graduate in Arizona: State Requirements

Like other states, Arizona has curriculum and credit requirements that students must meet to earn their high school diplomas. The following is a review of Arizona's requirements for a traditional high school diploma and a high school equivalency diploma.

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Arizona's Graduation Requirements

High school students in Arizona need a minimum of 22 credits that covers core academic subjects. Students must take four years of English courses that cover writing, grammar, reading skills, composition and American literature. The social studies curriculum includes American and world history, geography, economics and government. Math curriculum graduation requirements cover Algebra I and II, in addition to geometry.

Although the minimum requirement is 22 credits, the Arizona Dept. of Education allows individual school districts to expand diploma requirements with additional courses. As of 2015, Arizona no longer requires students to pass the reading, writing and math state assessment tests to graduate. Students will take a new assessment exam, AzMERIT, but passing the test is not a state requirement for a diploma.

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Arizona's GED Program

Arizona has an extensive network of adult education centers that help people prepare to take the General Education Development or GED high school equivalency exam. The GED is a seven-and-a-half hour exam with four different tests in math, science, language arts and social studies. These tests are taken on computer, in either English or Spanish, at authorized test centers located throughout the state. The following test sections can be taken in any order:

  • Mathemathical Reasoning - The math test is 115 minutes long and covers arithmetic, algebra and geometry. You can use a calculator and a formula sheet for most of the test. Questions cover a broad range of high school math topics, including percents, decimals, measurements, fractions, linear equations and inequalities, polynomials, the Pythagorean Theorem and the area and volume of geometric figures.
  • Reasoning Through Language Arts - This 150-minute test asks you to demonstrate your reading abilities and writing skills. Some questions will ask you to analyze reading passages and identify themes, draw conclusions and evaluate details and settings. There are also questions that require you to correct errors in grammar, punctuation and word use. As part of this test, you will have 45 minutes to write and revise an essay.
  • Science - The GED science test covers topics in life sciences, physical science and astronomy. Questions ask you to interpret scientific information, apply scientific principles and evaluate concepts and data. The 90-minute test uses reading passages, charts, graphs, tables and diagrams as a source for questions.
  • Social Studies - The social studies test is also 90 minutes long and covers civics, U.S. history, geography and economics. Questions are based on reading selections, maps, illustrations, graphs and tables. This test includes a short essay that you will have 25 minutes to write.

GED Testing Eligibility

Anyone 18 or older can take the GED exam in Arizona. You can take the test as early as 16 if you provide an official Withdrawal from School form and a letter of consent signed by a parent or guardian. Although there is no residency requirement in Arizona, you must take the last of the four GED tests at an Arizona test center in order to earn an Arizona High School Equivalency Diploma.

To pass the GED, you need a minimum score of 150 on each test section. If you score below 150, you can take that test again twice without waiting. If you need a third retest, you have to wait 60 days before testing again.

In Arizona, the fee for each GED test is $35. You can register and schedule tests on the GED website, GED.com. The website also has a test center database to help you find a testing site located near you.

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