The HiSET® exam is a five-subject high school equivalency test that enables you to demonstrate your college and career readiness by measuring your academic skills and knowledge relative to that of a high school graduate. The HiSET exam is available in computer- or paper-based formats and can be taken in English or Spanish. Five content areas are covered: Language Arts – Reading, Language Arts – Writing, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science.
Many people need to take classes before they are ready to take the GED®, HiSET, or TASC™ tests. To find classes near you, search the National Literacy Directory. Practice tests, such as this one, are available online to help too.
Why Take the HiSET Exam?
Without a high school equivalency credential, your college and employment opportunities are limited. Earning a high school equivalency credential by passing a high school equivalency test opens doors that may be closed to you.
There are three high school equivalency tests currently available, and each state decides which test or tests it offers. Depending on where you live, your state may offer the HiSET exam as the only test or as one of the tests. Today, there are millions of adults in the United States who did not graduate from high school and many are eligible to take the HiSET exam to earn their high school equivalency credential.
The HiSET exam first became available in 2014, and is now offered in most states and territories across the United States. The test measures academic skills and knowledge in the subjects of Language Arts — Reading, Language Arts — Writing, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science.
Individuals preparing to take the HiSET exam span across life stages — from teenagers to older adults — and come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Many participants learn English as a second language.
Many forms of HiSET testing assistance are available, from local adult education centers to printed resources that should be available at your local library. In some cases, you may be eligible for financial assistance if you're taking the test.
Your local adult education center can guide you through the process and is the best place to get started with the HiSET exam. Use the ZIP code finder above to find a center near you.
Tips on Preparing for the HiSET Exam
Preparing for the HiSET exam is an important step in completing what could be a lifelong goal to further your education or career. In order to receive a passing score on the HiSET exam, studying is very important.
Many adults can feel overwhelmed at the prospect of studying for a test. Perhaps it's been some time since you've been in school, or maybe studying has not been easy in the past. Here are five general tips for studying for the HiSET exam:
- Dedicate a specific amount of time each day to studying. This can be in the evenings after work or early in the morning — whatever works best for you.
- Divide your study time into 15-minute sections: some for reading the practice material, some for reviewing the material once you've read it, and another period for taking practice tests.
- Don't try to cram the studying into one extended session. Studies show that a person's ability to focus decreases after 45 minutes, so it's important to break up study periods into manageable sections.
- Try to visualize real-world examples of the lessons in your studies. For example, if you are trying to remember a math equation and you have worked in retail or as a cashier in the past, think of a time when that equation would have applied to your position.
- Establish a support network of family and friends who are positive and support your success. Surrounding yourself with positive energy and cheerleaders is key to reaching your goal.
To get started, use the Directory to find a local adult education center — they'll help you every step of the way!
Interpreting your Scores
Congratulations on taking the HiSET exam! Now that you have your score, let's talk about what it means.
The HiSET exam contains five subtests: Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts — Reading, and Language Arts — Writing. In addition to the subtests, you must complete an essay.
The goal of the test is to compare the subject knowledge of test takers with that of high school graduates. Each subtest contains a score ranging from 0 to 20, meaning a total score of 100 is possible. If you score a minimum of 15 out of 20 on a subtest, you have demonstrated college and career readiness. To pass the HiSET exam, you must score at least 8 out of 20 on each subtest and a minimum of 2 out of 6 on the essay.
Takers of the HiSET exam receive both a Comprehensive Score Report as well as an Individual Test Report. The former contains the cumulative record of the highest scaled score for each subtest.
The Individual Test Report breaks down each subtest in terms of items correct and incorrect, as well as an individual performance summary by individual competency. It also provides a college- and career-readiness indicator by scoring at least a 15 out of 20 per subtest.
After you pass the HiSET exam, you will receive a College and Career Opportunities Report which provides you information about local education and employment opportunities, such as:
- nearby colleges and technical schools
- program information at these local institutions
- pay rates for jobs in a variety of industries for your area
- median annual income for your area based on educational attainment
Most people who take the HiSET exam pass the first time. But in case you don't, you can take two free retests within a 12-month period.