A Guide to the California GED Exam
If you did not obtain your high school diploma, you are not alone. Millions of people, for whatever reason, do not complete high school. Unfortunately, to get ahead in today’s job market you must have one. As an alternative, you can earn a high school diploma equivalent called the General Educational Development (GED) certificate. In 2003, about 65% of the 45,000 people that took the test in California successfully passed. Here is information about the California GED exam so you can use this tool as a stepping stone to a better life.
What Does the California GED Look Like?
Except for one section, the California GED is a multiple-choice test divided into five parts:
- Language arts reading
- Language arts writing
- Social studies
The test takes about 7.5 hours to complete. The language arts writing section requires you to write an essay that will be graded by a human. You don’t need to have expertise in any particular subject. The goal of this part of the exam is to make sure you know how to write. For the mathematics section, you can use a calculator but only for the first part.
GED Scoring Information
The GED is designed to see how testers stack up against high school students. Each test is worth up to 800 points for a total of 4,000 points. To pass the test, you must score an average of 450 points per test but not get less than 410 points on any one test. Any test with less than 410 points will be given a failing grade and you must take it again to pass the entire exam.
The requirements for retesting differ between official testing centers. You may be required to wait a few weeks or complete a preparation class before you can take the test again. Statewide, you can only retake the exam up to three times. Anything beyond that and you must wait until January 1 of the following year to try again.
Eligibility Requirements for the CA GED
You must meet at least one of the following requirements before you can take the California GED exam:
- At least 18 years of age or within 60 days of turning 18
- Teenagers 17 years of age can take the test provided they have been out of school for at least 60 days and can furnish a request letter from a potential employer, a college or university, or the military
- Teenagers 17 years of age can take the test if he or she is incarcerated in a California correctional facility. Additional criteria apply.
- The person is within 60 days of his or her high school graduation date had he or she remained in school
Eligibility requirements can change. It is best to visit the California Department of Education website or contact an official GED testing site for information about current eligibility qualifications.
Registering for the California GED Exam
Registration can only be done at an official GED testing site. Proper identification must be submitted when registering and at the time of testing. The ID cannot be expired and must have the person’s name, birth date, address, picture, and signature. Acceptable forms of identification include a driver’s license, state ID card, military ID, and passports.
The cost of the test varies between examination centers. However, the maximum amount is $150 for the entire test and $30 per section retaken.
How to Prepare for the GED Exam
There are a number of resources available to help you prepare for the California GED exam. Many people prefer to take GED preparatory courses offered by community colleges or adult education centers. Another option is to purchase GED study guides and review the material on your own. The internet is also a great source of information about the GED exam and you can find study materials and practice exams on a number of websites.