Getting a GED in California
About the GED
Five separate tests make up the GED Tests–-one each in Mathematics; Social Studies; Science; Language Arts, Reading; and Language Arts, Writing. The writing test includes writing an essay. The tests provide adults who did not complete a formal high school program the opportunity to demonstrate they have high school-level academic knowledge and skills. The tests are normed on graduating high school students, and only 60 percent of graduating high school seniors would pass the GED Tests on their first attempt.
Am I Eligible to Take the GED?
You are eligible to take the GED test if you are a resident of California and meet any one of the following criteria:
- The individual is 18 years of age or older, or within 60 days of his or her 18th birthday (regardless of school enrollment status).
- The individual must be within 60 days of when he or she would have graduated from high school had he or she remained in school and followed the usual course of study (please note that examinees testing under this criteria may not be enrolled in school).
- The individual is 17 years of age, has been out of school for at least 60 consecutive school days, and provides a letter of request for the test from the military, a post-secondary educational institution or a prospective employer.
- The individual is 17 years of age and is incarcerated in a California state or county correctional facility; persons testing under these conditions must meet all of the following criteria:
- The examinee does not have a realistic chance of completing the requirements for a high school diploma.
- The examinee has adequate academic skills to successfully complete the GED test battery.
- The examinee understands the options available regarding acquisition of a high school diploma, the high school equivalency certificate or the high school proficiency certificate, and the requirements, expectations, benefits, and limitations of each option.
- The examinee has sufficient commitment time left to complete the entire GED test battery; however, if released before the test is completed, the examinee may complete testing at an authorized testing center.
Persons who pass the GED test at age 17 will not receive the equivalency certificate until their 18th birthday; a letter of intent is issued which states that the certificate is being held pending the examinee’s 18th birthday.
Find a GED Testing Center
Locate your closest testing center here.
Or by calling: 1-800-62-MY-GED
Testing schedules are determined by local testing centers; the State GED Office does not maintain detailed scheduling information for individual centers. However, testing centers usually offer the test several times each month over a one- to three-day period (the entire test takes about seven-and-a-half hours to complete).
Special Accommodations Based on Need/Language
GED Tests come in special editions for those with hearing or vision impairments. Special testing accommodations can also be offered for test-takers with attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder, emotional/mental health conditions, physical/chronic health disabilities or any other condition that may interfere with your ability to fully demonstrate what you know under standard testing conditions.
To learn more about testing accommodations, visit Request Testing Accommodations.
GED Tests can be taken in three languages: English, Spanish, and French. Locations offering these special language tests may vary. If you test in a non-English language, you may be required to pass an additional test of English as a Second Language (ESL).
How Much Does It Cost?
Testing fees are also determined by local testing centers; the State GED Office does not maintain fee information for individual centers. On the average, though, testing centers will charge approximately $150 to take the entire test, though some centers will charge a higher or lower amount. Most centers will also charge a fee if all or part of the test must be re-taken.
Testing center fees include state and national fees plus the cost of materials, the cost of scoring the essay portion of the test, and some of the costs of test administration.
What ID do I Need to Take the Test?
All GED candidates requesting to take the GED Tests must have valid identification when they appear at the test center, both at the time of registration and at the time of testing.
The identification must be current and include the examinee’s name, date of birth, photograph, address and signature. Acceptable identification includes:
- Driver’s licenses issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Identification cards issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Identification cards issued by the military.
- Identification cards issued by U.S. or foreign governments.
- Passports issued by U.S. or foreign governments.
- Identification cards issued by post-secondary schools.
Prepare for the GED
The GED test covers science, mathematics, social studies, reading comprehension and writing. There is an essay-writing section to the test.
GED preparation materials are available at most local bookstores and public libraries. Many testing centers also have preparation programs available without charge; however, if they do not, staff at the testing site should be able to provide you with a referral to a preparation program.
Most adult schools in California offer GED preparation classes as well. For information on adult school programs in your area, contact your local school district office.
Half-length and full-length GED practice tests, comparable in content, difficulty, and format to the GED Tests, are available in English, Spanish, French, and Canadian versions. It includes tables to convert the number of correct items to GED standard scores; self-scoring answering sheets are also available. Visit www.GEDpractice.com to learn more.
This section of the GED web site provides several example questions from each section of the GED Tests. When you click on an answer from the options given, a pop-up window will tell you whether you are correct. If your Internet browsing software does not accommodate pop-up windows, you can obtain the correct answer and an explanation from the Answers page.
Please select from one of the sections below:
- Language Arts, Writing, Part I
- Language Arts, Writing, Part II (Essay)
- Social Studies
- Language Arts, Reading
- Formulas Page
- Examples of Using the Calculator
- Examples of Alternate Format Questions
- Calculator Operations Video (Windows Media File, 8:00)
- Operationes con Calculadora (Windows Media File, 8:14)
- Alternate Format Gridding Video (Windows Media File, 8:00)
- Alternativas de Formato de Cuadratíca (Windows Media File, 8:12)
How Will I Know if I Passed or Failed the Test?
Completed GED tests are forwarded to a centralized scoring location in Concord, California, and the results are posted to a secure internet site. Only authorized staff at Official GED Testing Centers have access to this site. The scoring site mails the High School Equivalency Certificate and an Official Report of Test Results to examinees who pass the test. The testing center mails an unofficial transcript to examinees who fail or do not complete the test.
GED scores for each subtest are reported as “standard scores” which range from 200 to 800 and percentile ranks ranging from 1 to 99; higher scores result from correctly answering more test questions.
To pass the GED Test in California, examinees must:
- Receive a standard score of at least 410 on each of the five GED subtests, and
- Earn an average standard score of 450 or higher.
If an examinee does not meet both these criteria for passing, the test is failed. The examinee may retake all or part of the test to attain passing scores. Testing centers may require examinees who fail the test to take preparation classes or wait a pre-determined amount of time before attempting to re-test. Examinees may test a maximum of three times on a given test in a single year.
Examinees who pass should receive the California High School Equivalency Certificate and an Official Report of Test Results within six to eight weeks from when they complete the test and it is submitted for scoring.
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