How to Get a GED in California – Your Complete Guide

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The General Educational Development (GED) test is a widely recognized high school equivalency exam suitable for individuals who haven’t graduated from traditional high school. As such, it allows you to earn a credential equivalent to a high school diploma even though your highest formal education level was elementary school. 

So, how do you get a GED in California?

This article will guide you through this process, from eligibility requirements to test preparation and registration. Further, you’ll find out if there are GED online California classes.

How to Qualify for California GED Diploma

Before embarking on your journey to obtain a GED in California, there are a few eligibility requirements:

Age Requirement

You must be at least 18 years old. However, if you are 17, you may be eligible if you meet additional criteria set by the California Department of Education, such as having an official withdrawal from your last school attended and parental consent.

California Residency

You must be a California resident or have documentation of your intent to reside in California.

Not Currently Enrolled in High School 

A GED certificate covers the academic gap caused by your inability to get a high school diploma. Therefore, at the time of GED program registration, you shouldn’t be in high school.

How to Get a GED in California

Once you meet the eligibility requirements, you can register for this high school equivalency test in California. Follow these steps:

Create an Account

Visit the official GED Testing Service website and create an account.

Schedule Your Test

Choose the testing center and date that is convenient for you. Keep in mind that test availability may vary by location.

Pay the Exam Fee

Pay the required test fee during the registration process. You will need a valid government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, to check in at the testing center. Make sure your ID matches the information you provided during registration.

GED High School Equivalency Test Format

The GED in California, like everywhere else, consists of four subject areas:

Reasoning Through Language Arts

This section includes reading comprehension, grammar, and essay writing.

Mathematical Reasoning

This section assesses your math skills, including algebra, geometry, and data analysis.


The science section tests your understanding of scientific concepts, reasoning, and problem-solving skills.

Social Studies

The social studies section covers topics in history, economics, civics, and geography.

To pass this adult ed test, you must achieve a minimum score of 145 on each of the four subject areas. 

It means your total score should be at least 580 out of a possible 800 points. Scoring higher is encouraged, as it can increase your chances for college admission and career advancement. You can retake that section if you do not pass a subject area on your first attempt. However, after your third attempt, you must wait 60 days before retaking the adult ed test. 

Where to Get California GED Prep Classes

To be GED-ready is essential for success. Although the GED test structure isn’t like high school diploma exams, it tests everything you know from elementary school upwards. 

For example, the language arts section evaluates your proficiency in language and literacy skills, including reading comprehension, writing, and critical thinking. 

The test typically consists of multiple-choice questions, short-answer responses, and an essay component. 

Fortunately, there are various options for GED preparation classes in California to help you study effectively and pass the test, even if you only went to elementary school. Here are some places where you can find GED prep classes:

Adult Education Programs

Many adult education programs in California offer GED exam preparation classes. You’ll get these programs at local school districts. Therefore, search for adult education programs in your area and inquire about their GED preparation courses. 

To find a program near you, visit the California Department of Education’s Adult Education website or contact your local school district.

Community Colleges

Community colleges often offer GED preparation classes through adult education or continuing education departments. These GED certificate classes are typically affordable and may be available in person and online. You can check the website of your local community college or contact their adult education department for more information.

Online GED Prep Courses

Several online platforms offer GED preparation courses that you can access from anywhere with an internet connection. Some online courses are free, while others may require payment.

Public Libraries

Many public libraries in California provide GED study resources and may host study groups or offer access to online GED preparation programs. Librarians can often guide you to relevant materials and resources.

Nonprofit Organizations

There are nonprofit organizations in California offering adult education and GED preparation. They may offer free or low-cost GED classes and support services. 

High School Equivalency Programs

Some high schools in California offer high school equivalency programs, including GED preparation classes. These programs cater to adults who want to earn their GED credentials. Contact your local high school to inquire about such programs.

Workforce Development Centers

Workforce development and career centers may offer GED preparation services as part of their adult education and training programs. These centers help individuals gain the skills needed for employment.

Online GED Forums and Social Media Groups

In addition to formal classes, you can join online GED forums, Facebook groups, or Reddit communities to ask questions, share study tips, and connect with others preparing for the GED exam. These online communities can be valuable sources of support and information.

Consider your learning style, schedule, and budget when choosing a GED prep class. It’s also a good idea to inquire about the availability of practice tests, study materials, and experienced instructors. 

By taking advantage of these resources, you can prepare effectively for the California GED exam and increase your chances of success.

Tips on How to be GED Ready

Being GED ready is crucial to passing all four subject areas: reasoning through language arts, mathematical reasoning, science, and social studies. 

Preparing for the GED test can be a challenging but rewarding endeavor. Fortunately, thousands pursue this education path every year, and their stories can motivate you if you get stuck. On top of that, do not neglect your studies. 

Consider using GED test prep books, online resources, or enrolling in GED prep courses offered by adult ed programs or community colleges. In addition, create a study schedule with dedicated time for each test subject. 

Since GED tests require essay writing, reasoning, and problem-solving, practice with sample tests to pace yourself. Lastly, hire a tutor for personalized guidance if you need extra help. 


Obtaining your GED certificate is a valuable step toward improving your education and career prospects. One of the best places to learn how to get a GED in California is the adult education section of the California Department of Education. They’ll tell you everything, from the requirements to the fees and GED prep classes. 

By meeting the eligibility requirements, registering, preparing adequately, and achieving passing scores, you can use this high school equivalency test to open doors to new opportunities in your life.


How much does it cost to take the GED in California?

It varies, but it may be around $35 per subject area. So, if you’re taking all four subject areas, the total cost would be approximately $140. However, fee waivers may be available for eligible individuals who demonstrate financial need.

Can I take the GED online in California?

Yes, GED online California tests are available through the online protocol of the GED testing service. However, you must meet specific technical and environmental requirements, and the online test may not be available in all areas.

How long does it take to receive my GED testing diploma after passing the test?

You receive your diploma within two to six weeks after successfully passing all four subject areas tested by the GED testing service.