To earn your HSE (high school equivalency) credential in California, you will have to pass the GED® (General Education Development) or the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test) exam. The GED exam is entirely computer-based and includes four independent subtests.
The HiSET exam is offered both on paper and on a computer (at most testing sites) and comes with five testing subject fields as the section literacy has separate writing and reading tests.
The High School Equivalency Diploma is equivalent to a common High School Diploma and is recognized and accepted by practically all employers, schools, and government agencies across North America.
California HSE (High School Equivalency) Testing Requirements
- You cannot already hold a high school diploma or equivalent.
- You cannot be signed up for any other education program.
- The minimum age in California is 16 but test-takers 16 or 17 years of age must have permission from their school district and parental consent. Younger test-takers will not get their HSE diploma until their 18th birthday. If they want, they may receive a letter of intent proving that California will hold the certificate until they turn 18.
California does not require applicants to be state residents. The four GED tests are $35 per testing field or $140 for all four tests.
The California HiSET exam costs $100 (computer-based) or $140 (paper-based). You only pay for the subtest(s) you register for. This also applies to the HiSET exam.
The GED subtests are scored on a 100-200 scale. The following applies:
- Below Passing Score: 100-144
- High School Equivalency Score: 145-164
- College Ready Score: 165-174
- College Ready + College Credit Score: 175-200
The GED must be taken on a computer and the exam’s four subtests are in Social Studies, Mathematical Reasoning (Math), Reasoning through Language Arts (RLA), and Science. The HiSET exam includes five testing fields in Social Studies, Math, Language Writing, Language Reading, and Science.
The GED is a modular exam meaning you can take one (or more) of these four GED modules (subtests) at a time, and this does also apply to the HiSET exam.
In California, applicants do not have to take a prep course first. However, it is advisable to attend a prep course or follow an online course to get all set for your high school equivalency test. GED and HiSET testing can be done at official testing sites or online for eligible students. If you require accommodations, you need to apply in due time.
For GED testing, you need to go to GED.com and create an account with the portal MyGED which enables you to register for, schedule, and pay for your tests.
The HiSET is measured on a scale that goes to 20. The minimally required score on each subject is 8 and your essay score must be at least 2. Your overall result needs to be at least 45. Check with a testing center in your area which test(s) they administer as not all sites offer both options.