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Getting a High School Diploma May Expand Your Job Options

December 2000

The General Education Development (GED) diploma is a high school equivalency diploma. The GED diploma documents that you have high school level skills in reading, writing, social studies, science and math.

Passing the GED test gives adults an opportunity to continue their education. According to the Center for Adult Learning, 96 percent of colleges and universities admit GED graduates who meet their other qualifications. A high school diploma or GED is required to qualify for state and federal student financial aid.

The GED can also improve your employment prospects or help you to step up to a better-paying job.

Five-Part Test

The GED test is broken down into five parts: reading, writing, social studies, science and math and an essay question. The complete battery of tests takes seven and one-half hours.

In Los Angeles, GED tests are offered at the GED Test Center located in the Abram Friedman Occupational Center, 1646 S. Olive St. Most adult schools that offer GED test preparation classes administer the GED tests twice a year as well. If you can't find a testing center near you, call the GED toll-free number, (800) 626-9433, for a referral to a local test center.

The GED Testing Center at Abram Friedman Occupational Center offers tests every Thursday. The initial visit to the GED Test Center is by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call (213) 202-5400 between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. A photo ID is required at both the time of registration and when you arrive to take the GED tests.

An average testing center will charge between $40 and $75 to take the entire test, though some centers will charge a higher or lower amount. The cost of the GED test at the Los Angeles Testing Center is $46 for the initial test battery, $20 for each partial re-test and $40 to re-test the entire battery.

To be eligible to take the GED tests in California you have to be a California resident and be 18 years of age or older. Current California identification is required both at the time of registration and at the time of testing. Acceptable photo identification includes California driver's license, DMV ID card, passports and military ID.

Preparation is Essential

While most people gain some knowledge and skills through life experience, you will probably find that you need some help preparing for the GED tests. Regardless of your ability, you will be more prepared if you know what to expect in advance.

GED preparation materials are available at most bookstores and public libraries. CliffsNotes and other publishers offer a variety of GED preparation materials. GED preparation videos and books are available on the web at

Some public television stations offer home study programs for the GED. To find a GED broadcast series near you, call your local public television station. Kentucky Educational Television sells a GED workbook for $30. Send a check or money order to KET, 560 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY. 40502. Official GED practice tests can be obtained in both Spanish and English by calling Steck-Vaughn at (800) 531-5015.

Several GED web sites offer sample questions to help you decide how much preparation you will need to take the GED tests. Visit the Center for Adult Learning at or the PBS GED site at or the California GED site at

To prepare for the GED tests, you may find you need assistance beyond self study. Many programs are offered by local school districts at adult schools, occupational centers and community colleges. Staff members at these resource centers can help you decide whether you will need to study for all the tests, or whether you should spend time brushing up in just a few areas.

If you have questions about the GED, call APLA's Work Services Program at (323) 993-1659 or (323) 993-1616.

Rice Russell is a specialist in AIDS Project Los Angeles' Work Services Program. He can be reached by e-mail at

This article has been reprinted at The Body with the permission of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA).

This article was provided by AIDS Project Los Angeles. It is a part of the publication Positive Living.
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