California GED Requirements

To earn your high school equivalency credential in California, you will have to pass the GED (General Education Development) exam or the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test). The GED® exam is entirely computer-based and includes four independent subtests.

The HiSET® exam is offered both on paper and on a computer and comes with five independent subject tests as the section language Arts has separate writing and reading tests.

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The California 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 GED 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 to qualify for the exam in California is 16.
  • Test-takers 16 or 17 years of age must meet strict additional criteria. They must, for example, have permission from their school district and hold parental consent.
  • Under-age 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.
  • There’s no requirement in California to attend a prep course prior to testing.
  • There’s no requirement in California to attain satisfactory results on the GED Ready® or some other practice test.

California GED online

In California, GED test-takers can sit for the GED exam at one of the many state-approved test centers or in an online proctored (O.P.) format. To qualify for online testing, however, test-takers must first reach “green” (likely to pass) scores on the GED Ready practice test.

The GED Ready test can be purchased on the official GED Testing Service website,, at $6.99. There are four GED Ready tests (one for each of the four GED subtests) so that will cost you an additional $28 on top of the testing fees.

The HiSET exam can also be taken both at a test center and in an online format, the HiSET-At-Home test, also referred to as the Remote Proctored (R.P.) HiSET exam. Satisfactory scores on the HiSET Official Practice Test are required for online testing.

California GED price

The California GED price is $35 per subject exam (or $140 for the entire GED battery) when taken at a testing center.

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When taken online, each GED sub-exam will set you back $41, so the entire online GED exam costs $164. You should, however, also count the $28 for the four GED Ready tests, which totals it all to $192.

California HiSET price

The California HiSET exam costs $100 (computer-based) or $140 (paper-based). You’ll understand that when you take the HiSET exam online, only computer-based testing is available. You only pay for the subtest(s) you register for. This applies to both the GED and HiSET exam.

GED scoring

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

HiSET scoring

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 excluding your essay result. Please check with a testing center in your area which test(s) they administer as not all sites offer both options.

What’s on the GED test?

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 independent sub-exams. Here, there are separate Language Arts Writing and Language Arts Reading subtests. The testing fields are Social Studies, Math, Language Writing, Language Reading, and Science.

How to prepare for the GED test

In California, you are not required to sign up for a prep course first. However, both the GED and the HiSET are difficult exams. The fact of the matter is that some forty percent of all high school graduates would not pass the exams on their first try.

So it is highly recommended to attend a prep course or learn with books available from local libraries and book stores. There are also a few very good online courses these days, for example, the GED Prep Course by ONSEGO, that will get you ready for the real thing efficiently. No matter your preferred way of learning, just be sure to get properly prepared!

How to schedule the GED test

To schedule your GED tests, you need to go to and create an account with the portal MyGED. This is the place where you can register for, schedule, and pay for your tests. Here, there’s also a lot of interesting information available about all the things connected to high school equivalency testing, developments in the job market, academic programs, and so on. To set up your HiSET account, go to If you require accommodations, you need to apply in due time.