To earn your HSE (high school equivalency) credential in California, you will have to pass the GED® (General Education Development), the TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion), or the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test) exam. The GED exam is entirely computer-based and includes four independent subtests.
The TASC and HiSET exams are offered both on paper and on a computer (at most testing sites) and come 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 fields or $140 for all four tests. You only pay for the subtest(s) you register for, and your results are valid for two years from your first registration. This does not apply to the TASC and HiSET exams that are also slightly cheaper.
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 TASC and HiSET exams include 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, but you must complete the GED battery within two years. This does not apply to HiSET and TASC testing.
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, HiSET, and TASC testing must be done at official testing sites, online HSE testing is not possible, and if you require an accommodation, 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. The TASC is scored on a scale that runs up to 800, and your minimally attained score on each of the five subtests needs to be 500. This means your overall TASC score must be no less than 2500 points, and your essay must have a score of at least 2. Check with a testing center in your area which test(s) they administer as not all sites offer all options.