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Last Updated On: March 10th, 2021

The current pandemic has thrown a lot of plans into question. If you were a student who was planning to take the CHSPE last year and were unable to do so, or if you’re looking to earn your high school equivalency this year, you might consider taking the GED instead. The GED offers test-at-home and online options, along with many resources for test preparation, which can allow you to take and pass the test on your schedule rather than waiting for the pandemic to end.

Who can take the GED?

In California, the minimum age to take the GED is 18. Though there are a few exceptions to this rule, even those test takers who receive permission to take the test at a younger age won’t receive an official California High School Equivalency Certificate until age 18. The GED cannot be used for Legal 18 status, so working actors and actresses will have to wait for news about the new CHSPE, which has not yet released its test schedule or information about the new test format.

What are the current options for the GED test?

Most states—including California—have an online test-from-home option. This requires you to have a reliable Internet connection, a good webcam, sound and a microphone, a private room, and a score of “Green” on the official “GED Ready” practice test. A proctor watches through the computer to ensure that you are following test protocols and the test is entirely your own work.

The biggest advantage of the online test is that this option is available during the pandemic and there are many dates and times to choose from. Some disadvantages are that there are no breaks permitted and students aren’t allowed to write on scratch paper or use a physical calculator. An online calculator and online scratch paper and notes are allowed.

You may also have the option of taking the computerized test at a Test Center, though the pandemic will likely affect availability.

What are the format and topics of the GED?

The GED has four sections: Mathematical Reasoning (115 minutes), Reasoning Through Language Arts (150 minutes), Science (90 minutes), and Social Studies (70 minutes). The question formats are multiple choice, drag and drop, fill in the blank, select an area, and drop down. The Language Arts section includes one essay.

Test takers can take the entire test in one sitting, or choose one or more sections at a time. Since you aren’t allowed breaks with the test-from-home option, scheduling more than one day of testing is probably preferable.

What is the best way to prepare for the GED?

Fortunately, there are many resources available to prepare for the GED. You can take the “GED Ready” practice test for $6 per section ($24 per test). Once you diagnose the areas where you need the most work, there are a variety of online and paper resources to help make sure you are ready for the test. A class or tutor can also help you prepare, especially if you benefit from outside structure and accountability.

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