CHSPE vs GED-Which Is Easier To Pass?

Last Updated on April 9, 2024.

Please note that California discontinued the CHSPE Program

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The results of passing the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) and the GED test are similar: you will get your high school equivalency diploma.

But to fully answer the question “CHSPE vs GED, which is easier to pass?” we need to look at the big picture.

The CHSPE exam is available only in California. It includes two test sections: Mathematics and English Language Arts.

To receive a Certificate of Proficiency, students need to pass both sections. The CHSPE questions are all in the multiple-choice, paper-based format except for the essay section.

Students can pass the CHSPE exam and still attend high school.

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The GED® exam, on the other hand, is offered across North America to students who quit high school without a diploma. Students can NOT attend high school and qualify for GED testing as well.

To pass the GED test, a student needs to pass four subject tests that measure knowledge in the academic fields of

  • Math
  • Language Arts
  • Science
  • Social Studies

The GED test has a computer-only format, and you can write the four sub-exams individually and in any order you like. Our free GED online classes will help you identify if online learning is a good option for you. If it is, sign up for Onsego’s accredited, comprehensive GED course to achieve your GED fast.

So, these are the main differences, but keep reading; there is more to the story.

More Differences between the CHSPE and GED

For California residents looking to earn a certificate of high school equivalency, there are several options. Technically, these options lead to a diploma that is equal to a high school diploma.

Both passing the General Education Development (GED) exam and the California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE) serve the same function. However, there are a few significant differences between the exams.

The CHSPE can be taken by all California students 16 years of age or older. Students who have been enrolled in 9th grade for at least one year or who are expected to complete 10th grade by the end of the current semester.

Though most states allow 16 and 17-year-olds to sit for the GED exam, there are states that limit it only to applicants 18 or 19 years of age and older.

As stated above, students who pass the CHSPE are not required to quit school; they just have the option to do so, whereas, to qualify for GED testing, a student cannot be signed up for another educational program.

10th or 11th graders who consider early graduation may take the CHSPE exam while still enrolled in high school in California. Then, after receiving the test results, they can decide to withdraw from their regular high school education.

 CHSPE and Early Graduation-Legal 18 Status

In California, this can be particularly relevant for students working in the entertainment business. If students pass the “Legal 18” status test gains, they qualify for working longer hours, do not require on-set tutors, and they also don’t need California entertainment work permits.

This makes that teenagers who hold CHSPE certificates are eligible for more auditions and roles, but it doesn’t require them to quit school.

Students who pass both subject tests of the CHSPE will be awarded the Certificate of Proficiency issued by the California State Board of Education.

This certificate is by state law equivalent to a conventional high school diploma, though completing all coursework included in earning a high school diploma is not required.

The U.S. Department of Education and also the Federal Student Aid Office recognize the CHSPE as equivalent to a conventional high school diploma. All institutions and persons subject to California state law must accept the CHSPE certificate in place of a high school diploma.

CHSPE vs GED Test Formats

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the CHSPE and GED in topics covered and format:

  • CHSPE length: 3.5 hours
  • GED test is divided into four sub-tests; every test length is between 75-150 minutes (7 hours in total)
  • CHSPE has a paper-based format
  • GED test is only computer-based
  • CHSPE subjects are Math and Language Arts
  • GED test includes four subjects: Math, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies
  • CHSPE fee-$130
  • GED test fee-$41 per subject, $164 altogether
  • CHSPE testing dates: 3 times a year in schools
  • The GED test can be scheduled at one’s convenience, almost every week in certified testing centers or online
  • After passing the CHSPE, you get a Certificate of Proficiency-an equivalent of a High School Diploma
  • After passing the GED test, you receive the GED Diploma-an equivalent of the High School Diploma
  • CHSPE certificate is accepted ONLY in California
  • The GED diploma is accepted nationwide

Is CHSPE Better than GED?

It depends. The CHSPE includes only 2 subjects, so it’s less to learn than the GED test. But there are also fewer preparation materials.

So, while the CHSPE comes with fewer subject tests and is shorter, the GED exam offers many more scheduling options and many free prep courses.

Additionally, the GED exam is used all across North America, whereas the CHSPE is exclusively available for California residents, and acceptance is also limited to California.

Another advantage of the GED exam is that test-takers who completed one or more GED sections in one state can complete the other subtests in California or any other state that uses the GED for its high school equivalency testing program.

Preparation Programs and Resources

The GED has been around for many decades and is used by multiple states, so there are numerous GED prep materials available. The GED is also offered in Spanish.

Besides, there are many great free online prep courses and practice tests to help students get ready for the GED exam. GED Testing Service also offers the GED Ready® test that indicates if a student will likely pass a GED subtest or not.

As stated earlier, for the California CHSPE exam, there are only a few preparation books available, and resources are limited. The only official free materials are some sample questions that are published on the official CHSPE website.

Going to College with CHSPE vs GED

The GED exam has four scoring sections (below-passing, high school equivalency, college-ready, and college-ready plus credit). If students receive a college-ready or college-ready plus credit score, they often don’t need to take the SAT or ACT exams. This counts for an increasing number of post-secondary educational institutions. Check here -> to learn all about GED scoring, and to read more about colleges that accept GED scores, check here.

Both the CHSPE certificate and the GED diploma are technically the same as a regular high school diploma. However, students wishing to enroll in trade school or college will often be asked to meet prerequisite requirements.

The CHSPE exam doesn’t come with science and social studies sections. So, college-bound students will have to demonstrate their proficiency in these subject fields by taking remedial coursework and/or a college entrance exam such as the SAT or ACT.

So, if you plan on attending college, choosing the GED exam might be a better option. All across America and Canada, the GED credential is recognized and accepted by governmental bodies, employers, and schools of higher education.

Please note that California discontinued the CHSPE Program.