California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE)

The California High School Proficiency Exam consists of two sections. Passing both the Mathematics and English Language Arts sections will earn you the legal equivalent of a high school diploma in the state of California and a Certificate of Proficiency.

Who is Eligible?

All candidates must:

  • Be at least sixteen years old, or
  • Have been enrolled in grade ten for at least one academic year, or
  • Will have completed one academic year of grade ten by the end of the semester that the next regular administration of the exam is scheduled

Registration for the CHSPE is most easily completed by creating a registration form online; however, pen and paper registrations are possible. This process will require you to submit proof of your eligibility and an exam fee of $130 by the appropriate registration deadline.

When and Where is it Taken?

Regular administrations of the exam fall once in the spring and once in the fall of each school year. Your school will be able to tell you exactly when these dates are. Most exams begin at 8 am.

It is important to know that not all exam sections must be taken together. Also, the fee does not change regardless of how many or which sections you are taking at one time.

During your registration, you will schedule yourself for a specific test area. It is important to note that this is not a definite location and could change. However, if this is the case, the CHSPE office makes every attempt to have it in the same general area.

Changing or canceling your exam should be done before registration deadlines. Making any changes after the regular registration deadline will result in additional fees or the forfeiture of the exam fee.  

Once you have registered for the exam or any of its sections, you will be sent a confirmation email. About two weeks before your scheduled exam, you will be sent an admission ticket, both my mail and via email. You will need to keep this, as it will be required at the testing center.

What Can I Expect on Test Day?

It is important to arrive early for your exam, as it will begin promptly at 8 am. There is a check-in process to be completed beforehand, and latecomers will not be allowed to enter and will have to reschedule, forfeiting all fees.

Along with your above-mentioned admission ticket, you will need to show valid and current identification. This should be an official school or government-issued photo ID that includes your full name as it appears on your admission ticket and a recognizable photo.

You may bring a solar or battery powered, non-programmable basic calculator for use on the math section only. You will also need to bring your own No.2 pencils.

Personal items are not allowed at the testing site. These include, but are not limited to, cell phones, study materials, bags or purses, hats and hoods, and any food/drinks. If these are found, you will be immediately dismissed and your scores voided.

What Does it Cover?

This exam is made up of two main sections: English Language Arts and Mathematics.  You will be given three hours and 30 minutes to complete all questions. The sections are not timed separately, allowing you to spend any amount of time needed on each.

The English Language Arts sections are further divided into two subtests: Reading and Language. The Reading subtest contains 84 multiple-choice questions while the Language subtest has 48 multiple-choice questions and 1 writing task.

The Mathematics section consists of 50 multiple-choice questions. Mathematics will cover knowledge and skills in the areas of number sense and operations, patterns and algebra, statistics and probability, and geometry and measurement. You will also be tested on your ability with mathematical processes of communication, problem-solving, and estimation.

A reference sheet containing a few necessary formulas will be provided for the Mathematics section.

What About my Scores?

As each section can be taken separately, they are also counted and scored separately. The English subtests are also scored separately. Below are the lowest passing scores for each section/subtest.

  • Math – 350
  • English Reading – 350
  • English Language – a combination of your multiple-choice and writing task in which your writing must earn at least 2.5. The higher your writing score, the lower your multiple-choice score can be to pass.

You will receive your official score report about five weeks after your test date. If you have passed, you will also be mailed your Certificate of Proficiency. If you do not pass the exam, you may retake any sections or subtests as many times as needed. You do not need to retake sections you have already passed. However, you will need to reregister and pay a new fee each time you retake any section.

How Can I Prepare for the CHSPE?

We believe that different learning styles require different tools for success. We have compiled a list of the best study guides, flashcards, and practice tests that we’ve found on the market. Some of these guides have review videos, for you visual learners out there. Others have practice tests, which have been proven to increase student scores by a whole letter grade (in some cases more than that)!

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Last Updated: July 31, 2019