2024 Edition

CHSPE Test Guide

The CHSPE Test Summary
What: The CHSPE is an exam students in the state of California may take in order to earn an equivalent of a high school diploma.
Who: Tests are available to eligible students who have not completed high school.
Where: Testing sites vary. Prior to registering for the exam, students should look up the nearest county in which the CHSPE is offered.
When: Testing dates vary but typically occur in the months of October, May, and June.
How: The CHSPE is offered in pencil and paper format.
Type: The CHSPE evaluates a student’s eligibility to earn an equivalent to a high school degree.
Why: The CHSPE is an alternative for students who cannot or do not wish to complete high school in the state of California.
Time: 3½ hours
Language: English
Preparation: Students should review appropriate high school-level subject matter. There are numerous resources available to help in preparation including sample multiple-choice questions and essay topics.
Cost: The CHSPE can cost $92 -$110 depending on when a student registers.

By: Jessica McNally, Tests.com Contributing Writer


By passing the California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE), eligible students living in the state of California can earn what is considered a legal equivalent of a high school diploma. According to CHSPE.net, students are only eligible to take the CHSPE on test day if they:  


     -     “Are at least 16 years old, or


     -     have been enrolled in the tenth grade for one academic 

           year or longer, or


     -    will complete one academic year of enrollment in the

          tenth grade at the end of the semester during which the

          next  regular administration will be conducted. (Regular

          administrations are the fall and spring administration

          each school year.)”


Test Format


The CHSPE contains two general test sections:


     -  The English-language Arts section consists of two subtests:


-     Language

48 multiple-choice questions evaluate a student’s language expression and language mechanics abilities.


     -     Reading

There are 54 multiple-choice questions about reading comprehension, and 30 multiple-choice questions regarding vocabulary on the Reading subtest. The reading comprehension section contains questions that test a student’s initial understanding, critical analysis, and interpretation strategies of different types of texts. The vocabulary questions evaluate a student’s ability to read context clues, and test one’s knowledge of synonyms and multiple-meaning words.


     -     The Mathematics segment consists of 50 multiple-choice

           questions in the areas of:


          -    Patterns, relationships and algebra

          -    Number sense and operations

          -    Statistics, data, and probability

          -    Measurement and geometry


On test day, students can opt to take the English-language arts Reading or Language subtests or Mathematics section, or any combination of the three tests. The test fee remains the same no matter how many of the categories of tests a student decides to take.


Three and a half hours are provided for students to take the CHSPE.


Passing the CHSPE


In order for students to receive a CHSPE proficiency certificate, they are required to pass both the English-language Arts and Mathematics sections. Students, however, are not required to pass both of the sections on the same day. Thus, one advantage to the CHSPE is that students can take the exam at their own pace and only complete one test section at a time if they so wish. Furthermore, there is no limit to the amount of times a student may attempt the CHSPE.


If a student who is a minor does pass both parts of the CHSPE, the Certificate of Proficiency does not exempt him or her from attending school. A minor must have signed verification from a parent or guardian granting permission to drop out of high school.


To find test preparation materials, see our CHSPE Test Directory.


Source: CHSPE.net