The HiSET exam is a high school equivalency testing programs to help you earn credentials needed for a continued college education or to succeed in your career choice. This exam was created as a more accessible, affordable, and flexible option for those needing to take high school equivalency tests. It is developed and maintained by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Iowa Testing Programs.
Who is Eligible?
Each state or jurisdiction sets their own standards of eligibility such as a minimum age, being a state or jurisdiction resident, or having completed a preparation course. Please make sure you understand these requirements and are able to abide by them before you begin to schedule a HiSET appointment.
The cost and applicable fees for this exam differ by state, jurisdiction, and/or test center as well. Make sure to check out the requirements and fees that may apply to your area.
Once you have determined your eligibility, you will need to create a MyHiSET account online. This will give you access to register, schedule, and retake your exam, as well as check out your scores and more.
When and Where Can I Take it?
The HiSET is offered year-round through ETS testing centers located throughout the U.S. It can be taken on a computer or using paper and pencils. Choose one that is convenient for you. However, it is recommended that you register early as space may be limited at some locations and is filled on a first come, first served basis.
Special accommodations are available at some locations for those with disabilities or who cannot test under normal conditions. Make this request early during your registration process to ensure approval.
Should you need to reschedule or cancel your exam appointment, you may do so by contacting ETS no later than 11:59 pm on the day before your original exam. If you decide to wait longer, you will not be able to make changes and be counted as a no-show when you don’t arrive. You will also have to forfeit any fees paid up to that point.
What Should I Bring?
It is imperative that you arrive at least 15 minutes early for your scheduled exam appointment. This will allow you enough time to complete the check-in process and to be ready to begin on time.
Those who arrive late will not be allowed to enter the testing area. They will forfeit any fees paid and will have to reschedule for another date.
You will need to bring at least one valid and current, government-issued photo ID with you. This must have your signature, date of birth, full name as it appears on your registration, and a recent and recognizable photo. If you present an ID with missing or incorrect information, you will be asked to present another form of ID or will not be allowed to enter.
Some states or jurisdictions may ask that you present more than one form of ID upon your arrival. Please make sure to check with your state HiSET requirements to be sure.
The test center will provide you with all the testing materials you will need. This includes scratch paper and pencils, a calculator, and test booklets and answer sheets (if you are taking a paper version). This means you will not need to provide these or any other personal items, including but not limited to:
- Cell phones
- Food and drinks
- Study or testing materials
- Watches and/or jewelry
- Hats or head coverings
These items are strictly prohibited and will result in your dismissal and scores being voided if you have them in the testing area.
What Does it Cover?
This exam covers multiple topics that you are expected to know as a high school graduate. These are divided into five main subjects or subtests.
Below you will find a brief outline of each of these, including the number and type of questions.
Language Arts-Reading: (50 multiple-choice questions)
Assesses your ability to comprehend, understand, analyze, and interpret various reading selections
Language Arts-Writing: (60 multiple-choice and one essay question)
Assesses your ability to revise and edit written selections and to organize and produce ideas into writing
Mathematics: (55 multiple-choice questions)
Measures your ability to use fundamental concepts and reasoning skills to solve quantitative math problems
Science: (60 multiple-choice questions)
Evaluates your ability to apply principles of scientific inquiry, use content knowledge, and interpret and measure scientific information
Social Studies: (60 multiple-choice questions)
Assesses your ability to gauge and analyze different kinds of social structure and studies information
Each subtest may contain a number of pretest items. These will be unidentified and scattered throughout the exam. They do not count towards your score.
How is it Scored?
Scores for each subtest are available within 3-5 business days for multiple-choice subtests and within 6-10 business days for written essay subtests. These will be available through your MyHiSET account.
Your comprehensive score report is listed first on your account. This includes the highest score for each subtest you have taken only. You will also have access to an Individual Test Report, which includes your score for each subtest and an explanation of what that score means.
Each subtest is scored on a scale of 1-20. To pass, you must achieve a score of at least 8 for each subtest and at least a two out of six on the essay section. You must also have a combined score of at least 45 for all five subtests to be considered passing.
If you should need an official score report, these can be printed at your test center or by contacting ETS to have it sent to scholarship programs or institutions.
How Can I Prepare for the HiSET Test?
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)!