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Sarah Bradstreet

California GED Test Requirements

GED California

Are you considering taking the GED exam in California? Each state has different requirements and procedures, so it’s important to read up on the rules in the state where you plan to test. Read below for the major details about the GED California test requirements.

How Old Do I Have to be to Take the GED in California?

California requires test takers to be at least 18 years old (unless you meet certain requirements for an exception).

For those underage, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are within 60 days of your 18th birthday.
  • You are not enrolled in school, but are within 60 days of when you would have graduated high school had you not left.
  • You are 17, have been out of school for 60 consecutive days, and have a letter requesting the test by an approved institution, such as the military, a university, or employer.

Note that if you take the test at 17, you will not receive your equivalency certificate until you turn 18.

Do I Have to Live in California to Take the GED There?

Yes. In order to take the test in California, you must be a California resident and must show proper proof of residency.

If you’re a California resident, you can take the GED test at a nearby testing center in another state, if that allows out-of-state testing (check that state’s residency requirements). Note that your credential, however, would list that state and not California.

Find out how to locate your GED testing center.

How Much Does it Cost to Take the GED in California?

In California, the cost of the GED is $140 ($35 for each of the four subject tests).

TOTAL$140
Reasoning Through Language Arts$35
Mathematical Reasoning$35
Social Studies $35
Science$35

If necessary, you can retake each subject test up to two times at a discounted rate within 12 months. Retakes cost $15 per subject area test. (After two retakes, the price returns to $35.)

What Do I Have to Do to Prepare for the GED in California?

Besides residency and age, there are no additional requirements to take the GED test. You do not need to take a practice test or be enrolled in an adult education program. Simply sign up for the exam using MyGED.

To do well on the exam, however, it is a good idea to prepare. If you want to take a class locally, use the GED locator tool to find a preparation program near you.

If you’re studying on your own, check out some great ways to study online and access free GED practice tests.

For more information on testing in California, visit the GED Testing Service’s California Policy page or the California Department of Education’s High School Equivalency Diploma Program page.

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About Sarah Bradstreet

Sarah is an educator and writer with a Master’s degree in education from Syracuse University who has helped students succeed on standardized tests since 2008. She loves reading, theater, and chasing around her two kids.


2 Responses to “California GED Test Requirements”

  1. Argemy Jennings says:

    Ms. Bradstreet,
    If the kid is California
    resident but took GED
    exam in Illinois but
    intended to go to College
    back in California, will he 
    be considered non-
    resident in California? He
    is just in Illinois so I can 
    coach and guide him to
    pass GED exam. But it’s 
    expensive for him to go
    back to California because 
    he will be taking exam one
    or two subjects at a time 
    and not all at the same date.
    Please help. Thank you!

    Very Respectfully,
    Argemy Jennings

    • David Recine David Recine says:

      Hi Argemy,

      There are a number of complications here. First off, Illinois, like California, generally doesn’t allow non-Illinois residents to take the GED in-state (see the eligibility rules here). So your son might have to declare or demonstrate Illinois residency. While residency in two states is allowable under federal law, it can create tax complications. Moreover, since in-state-residency for college purposes is tied to taxes, it seems possible that taking the GED in Illinois could affect your son’s California residential tuition in some way.

      …Or it might not, since this is a complex situation. What I recommend is to contact the Illinois GED testing center where your son hopes to take the test, to check and see whether your son can be eligible to take the test there. Then, if your son’s Illinois testing does indeed require Illinois residency (and he’s able to demonstrate Illinois residency and take the test in Illinois), you’ll want to contact the California school or schools where your son intends to enroll, and see if having residency in both Illinois and California would affect his status as an in-state student.

      If, on the other hand, your son is able to get the residency requirement waived in Illinois, an out-of-state GED score, even from a distant state, probably won’t create problems in California. However, you may still want to call your son’s prospective CA schools to double-check.

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