How Can I Get a GED in California?

The General Educational Development test (GED) diploma is awarded to residents who meet eligibility requirements established by the California Department of Education. Read on to find out about how to get a California High School Equivalency Certificate.

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What Is the GED?

The GED certificate is designed for adults who have not graduated from high school. The test measures skills and knowledge that would have been acquired in high school. The GED credential is considered equivalent to a high school diploma by most employers and colleges.

The exam is divided into five parts that cover writing, reading, science, social studies and mathematics. The questions are mostly multiple-choice, but you will be required to write an essay for the writing portion of the exam.

Am I Eligible to Take the Test?

You're eligible to take the GED if you are a resident of California, at least 18 or within 60 days of your 18th birthday. If you're 17, you still might qualify to take the test by meeting additional criteria. To find out more information about taking the GED at 17, contact the California Department of Education's GED website or your local testing center. Those who pass the GED at 17 will receive a letter of intent stating that they passed, but they won't actually receive the certificate until their 18th birthday.

Where Can I Take the Test?

The GED must be taken at an official testing center. The California Department of Education website lists test centers by city and county. Testing schedules are determined by each center, but the GED test is usually offered several times a month. Find your local test center for more specific information.

How Can I Prepare for the GED Test?

Adult education programs often offer GED preparation. Classes are beneficial because they provide direct instruction, feedback and individualized assistance. The adult center staff might give you a pre-test to see what areas you need to study and then help you devise an individualized study plan. You can find an adult center in your area by contacting your local school district office.

If you're not able to take a class, there are many manuals available at bookstores and libraries to help you prepare. The staff at a testing center might be able to recommend an online program or other sources.

What's a Passing Score?

You need to average a 450 on each sub-test and receive a total score of 2250 to pass the GED. Any score that is below 410 on any test is a failing score. You're allowed to retake the entire exam or portions of the exam up to three times per calendar year. Depending on the policy of the test center, you might have to wait a period of time or take preparation classes before taking the test again.

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