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HSE FAQ

Frequently asked questions about the California High School Equivalency Test.

HSE Testing Options

What are my options for the HSE Test?

In California, you have three options for the HSE Test:

  • The General Educational Development Test GED® External link opens in new window or tab.
  • The High School Equivalency Test HiSET® External link opens in new window or tab.
  • The Test Assessing Secondary Completion TASC External link opens in new window or tab.

State Requirements and Policies

How old do I have to be to take the test?

In California, the minimum age required to take the HSE Test is 18 unless you meet any one of the following criteria:

  1. You are 18 years of age or within 60 days of your 18th birthday.
  2. You are within 60 days of when you would have graduated from high school had you remained in school and completed the usual courses required for graduation.
  3. You are 17 years of age, have been out of school for at least 60 consecutive days and provide a letter of request from the military, a post-secondary educational institution, or employer that states the need for you to take a HSE Test.
  4. You are at least 17 years of age, have accumulated fewer than 100 units of high school credit and are confined to state or county hospital or correctional agency and you meet all of the following criteria:
      • You have adequate academic skills to successfully complete the HSE Test.
      • You understand the options available regarding acquisition of a high school diploma, the High School Equivalency Certificate, or the High School Proficiency Certificate, and the requirements, expectations, benefits, and limitations of each option.
      • You have sufficient time left to complete the entire HSE Test while confined; however if released before the test is completed, you may complete testing at an authorized testing center.
When will I get my High School Equivalency Certificate if I pass the test as a 17 year old?

If you pass the HSE Test at age 17 you will not receive the High School Equivalency Certificate until your 18th birthday. A letter of intent is issued that states the certificate is being held pending your 18th birthday.

Do I need to prove I am a resident of California to take the test?

Yes, in California you are required to prove you are a resident or a member of the armed forces assigned to duty in the state using a valid form of identification. The following are examples of documents that may be used to meet this requirement:

  • Current California driver's license
  • Current California identification card
  • Current identification card issued by the military (if it includes proof of being stationed in California)
  • Current United States government issued documentation (shows city, county, or state)
  • Current state and federal tax returns
  • Current vehicle registration
  • Current utility bill statement
  • Current voter registration
  • Current bank statement
  • Current residential lease
The closest testing center is in a different state. Can I take the test there?

States have different policies on allowing out of state test takers. Also, not all states offer the GED®, HiSET® and TASC. You will need to check the residency and age requirements for the state you wish to test in to confirm eligibility and test availability.

What happens if I move to a different state in the middle of testing? Can I continue testing in my new state?

States have different polices on allowing out of state test takers and not all states offer the GED®, HiSET® and TASC. You will need to check the residency and age requirements for the state you wish to test in to confirm that eligibility and test availability.

Do I need to take a class or receive instruction before I can take the test?

California does not require you to prepare for the HSE Test in an adult education class. However, studying in a classroom setting or reviewing official HSE Test preparation materials are good ways to review the topics and areas you will find on the HSE Test.

Where can I find an adult education center and official preparation materials?

Each HSE Test vendor provides information on authorized instructional classes and preparation materials. Please visit the following vendor web sites for further information:

  • The General Educational Development Test (GED® External link opens in new window or tab. )
  • The High School Equivalency Test (HiSET® External link opens in new window or tab. )
  • The Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC External link opens in new window or tab. )
Can I take the test in different formats?

If you are taking the HiSET® or TASC, you can take part of the test on paper and part on computer. For example, you may take the math section on paper and the other test sections on computer. Please note not all local authorized testing centers provide both versions of these test.

Can I combine subtest scores from the GED®, HiSET® or TASC to get my California High School Equivalency Certificate?

No. You must pass all subtests from one of the approved HSE Tests to earn your California High School Equivalency Certificate.

Can I take my HSE Test in Spanish?

Yes. In California you can take the HSE Test in Spanish.

Am I allowed to combine different language versions of the test together?

Yes. California residents are allowed to combine different language versions to complete the test. This means you may take any test subject in the language of your preference, either English or Spanish, to earn your California High School Equivalency Certificate.

Does California have any requirements for English as a Second Language?

English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction can help non-native English speakers, but there are not any requirements for ESL classes in California.

My employer or school is not familiar with the HSE Test I passed. What should I do?

In California, the GED®, HiSET®, and TASC are all approved options to get your California High School Equivalency Certificate. The California Department of Education and the United States Department of Education have released letters for employers and schools.

Registration and Scheduling

How do I register for and schedule an HSE Test?

Each High School Equivalency Test vendor Web site has information on registration, scheduling procedures, and a list of authorized California testing centers. Access vendor Web sites for information on registering and scheduling a HSE Test.

Who do I contact if I have questions or issues while registering for an HSE Test?

For registration issues such as clearing alerts, please contact the authorized California testing center where you plan to test. Each vendor Web site has a list of testing centers authorized to provide their HSE Test.

Can I take all of the HSE subtests at one time or do I need to set up different appointment times?

In California, you can take all test sections on the same day; however, not all testing centers may be able to schedule the entire test on the same day due to staffing levels and hours of operation. Please contact the authorized California testing center where you plan to test.

 

Questions:   High School Equivalency and Outreach Office | hseoffice@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-9438
Last Reviewed: Friday, September 20, 2019
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