• High School Equivalency (HSE) Certificate GED®, HiSET® Frequently Asked Questions

    Can I take the GED at Acalanes Adult Education?

    Acalanes Adult Education does not administer the official test, but does offer a class in a Learning Lab to prepare one to take the test.  This may include practice taking sample tests.  The Learning Lab instructor can direct students to Centers where the test is given.


    What are my High School Equivalency (HSE) Certificate options?
    The High School Equivalency (HSE) Certificate is recognized in all fifty states as the equivalent to a high school diploma. Those who successfully pass one of the tests recognized by the State of California are issued the California High School Equivalency Certificate by the State of California.

    The three tests are:

    • GED® (General Educational Development / Pearson-Vue); and,
    • HiSET® (High School Equivalency Test / Educational Testing Service).

    What are the eligibility requirements to take these tests?
    You are eligible to take these tests if you are a resident of California and meet any one of the following criteria:

    • You are 18 years of age or older, or
    • You are within 60 days of your 18th birthday (regardless of school enrollment status).
    • You must be within 60 days of when you would have graduated from high school had you remained in school and followed the usual course of study (please note that examinees testing under this criteria may not be enrolled in school).
    • You are 17 years of age, have been out of school for at least 60 consecutive school days, and provide a letter of request for the test from the military, a post-secondary educational institution, or a prospective employer.

    Individuals who pass the HSE test at age 17 will not receive the equivalency certificate until their 18th birthday; a letter of intent is issued which states that the certificate is being held pending the examinee's 18th birthday.


    What ID is necessary to take the test?
    All candidates must document identity with valid identification, both at the time of registration and at the time of testing.

    The identification must be current and include the examinee's name, date of birth, photograph, address, and signature. Acceptable identification includes:

    • Driver's licenses issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles
    • Identification cards issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles
    • Identification cards issued by the military
    • Identification cards issued by U.S. or foreign government
    • Passports issued by U.S. or foreign governments
    • Identification cards issued by post-secondary schools

    How can I prepare for the HSE test?
    Acalanes Adult Education offers test preparation classes on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Enrollment is ongoing.  If you are not able to take the class, preparation materials are available in libraries, at all major bookstores, and online.


    Where can I take the tests?
    The tests are offered at various locations throughout the county; the Contra Costa County Office of Education maintains a current calendar on their website under High School Equivalency Testing.


    For GED®:
    Visit GED Test Center Search and input your zip code to find your nearest test center.

    Students register online for the GED® test using the MyGED™ portal at http://www.ged.com. Students are required to sign up for a MyGEDTM account at www.GED.com and then they are able to access the dashboard full of information about studying, test day, scheduling, scoring, and college and career opportunities. When students are eligible to schedule, they can log in to www.GED.com, click "Start scheduling" on their dashboard, complete the demographic questions, schedule one test or multiple tests at a time, and pay for their appointment.

    How much does it cost to take the GED® test?
    Check with your test center for test pricing. The GED® test costs at least $35 per section of the test, $140 for all four sections, and will cost more at different centers. For up-to-date prices and state rules, visit the GED Price & State Rules website.

    Are accommodations available for examinees with disabilities?
    Yes. Test-takers seeking accommodations will register at http://www.ged.com. During the registration process, test-takers seeking accommodations will select “yes” when asked if they intend to apply for testing modifications (accommodations) based upon a documented disability. After selecting “yes,” test-takers will receive an email with specific information on where to submit their accommodations request, which will include a link to the accommodations website: http://www.ged.com/about_test/accommodations.

    Test-takers will be notified in writing of the accommodations decision, usually within 30 days. If approved, test-takers will be given specific instructions for how to schedule their accommodated GED® Tests with the Pearson VUE Accommodations Scheduling team. If not approved, test-takers will be advised about the appeal procedures. Either way, test takers will then have the ability to call to discuss the accommodations decision.

    Further questions about accommodations can be answered by contacting GED. A GED® Testing Service representative will get back to you.

    For HiSET®:
    Visit HiSET website and click on “Find an adult education center or test center near you.”

    How much does it cost to take the HiSET®?
    Check with your test center for test pricing. The HiSET® test costs at least $140 for all five sections. If paid in full in advance, free retakes are available.

    Are accommodations available for examinees with disabilities?
    All test takers requesting any accommodation must register by mail through ETS Disability Services and have their accommodations approved before their test can be scheduled. The request should be submitted as early as possible, especially if requesting an alternate test format. Documentation review takes approximately six weeks once the request and complete paperwork have been received. If additional documentation must be submitted, it can be another six weeks from the time the new documentation is received until the review is complete. 


    Test takers requesting accommodation cannot schedule an appointment through their HiSET account. Once accommodations have been approved, contact ETS Disability Services to schedule the testing appointment.

    What scores are required to pass the HSE?

    GED®—To pass the GED® Test in California, examinees must receive a score of at least 145 on each of the four GED® subject tests. The examinee may retake all or part of the test to attain a passing score. GED® Testing Service allows individuals to take the test three times without any waiting period. After the third attempt, test-takers must wait 60 days after their last attempt before they can test again. This will result in test-takers having up to eight opportunities to test in a year should they require that many attempts.

    HiSET®—Each of the five subtests in the HiSET battery is scored on a scale of 1–20. In order to pass, you must do all three of the following:

    • Achieve a score of at least 8 on each of the five individual subtests
    • Score at least 2 out of 6 on the essay portion of the writing test
    • Have a total combined score on all five tests of at least 45

    If the entire battery is paid for initially, two free retakes are available within 12 months of the original test date.

    How will I know if I passed or failed the test?
    Examinees will be able to access their scores online. Scores will be returned from computer-based tests within twenty-four hours of completion of each test module, but usually earlier. Paper test scores for the HiSET will be available within five to ten business days of when the tests arrive.

    How can I obtain copies of my past GED® records?
    You can obtain your GED® Test transcript by going through the official GED® website Life After GED.