In the U.S., there are three alternative exams available for the purpose of high school equivalency (HSE) testing, the GED, HiSET, and TASC exams.
The HSE exam is a state-specific exam and individual states decide about which of the three options they use. Some states use multiple options.
The most widely used HSE exam is still the GED® (General Education Development) exam which has been around for almost eight decades, but more and more states opt for the HiSET® alternative or offer multiple options.
While the GED must be done entirely on a computer is the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test) offered in both a paper-and-pencil version and on a computer.
In this post, we take a closer look at the minimally required score to pass the HiSET exam, qualification requirements, and retesting policies.
The HiSET exam is made up of five independent modules, individual subtests that cover the academic subject fields of Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, English Language Writing, and English Language Reading.
HiSET passing score
The HiSET exam will, in total, take a little over 7.5 hours to complete but the exam is modular, so you can take the subtests (independent modules) one at a time.
The five HiSET modules are scored on a scale that runs up to 20 and on each subtest, you must reach at least a score of 8.
Additionally, your cumulative score must be at least 45, and on your essay (part of the Writing subtest) you must come to at least a 2-score (out of 6).
If you have reached the HiSET passing scores, you will be awarded your state’s High School Equivalency Diploma (some states award a Certificate) which is all over North America accepted in the same way as a conventional high school degree.
All five subject tests contain 40 to 50 multiple-choice questions and as part of the English Writing section, you also need to write your essay.
So if you didn’t attain the passing score on one subtest, there’s no need to take the entire exam again. You can just the section that you failed. The HiSET is a rigorous exam that requires appropriate preparation.
Well, the HiSET is a state-specific exam and regulations may vary slightly by state. In general, however, we can say that adult learners qualify for the HiSET exam if they don’t already have a high school degree, not are registered for some other education program, and are at least 16 years of age. You can learn more about your state here.
For 16 and 17-year old’s, there will be some pretty strict additional requirements. They must, in general, be officially withdrawn from school, have written parental consent, and also submit written permission to take the exam signed by their school districts.
Some states require HiSET test-takers to first show proof of completing an adult education program or attaining satisfactory results on the HiSET OPT (Official Practice Test). If you take the HiSET exam online, the “HiSET-At-Home” test, you must attain sufficient results on the OPT first.
There are states that offer the HiSET exam exclusively to state residents. Many states subsidize high school equivalency testing so it makes sense that HiSET test-takers need to be state residents. Check here for states that offer the HiSET exam.
Through the HiSET exam, states offer one more chance to individuals who never completed high school to secure an education credential that is of the same legal value as a regular high school degree and accepted as such across the country.
If you fail one of the HiSET subtests, you can take that section again. You cannot take that subject test more than three times within one calendar year, and that includes the actual test and two retakes.
You can retake a subject test twice within one year after you initially registered for that section at no charge, except for possible test center fees! After one year, the original fees will apply again. So make sure if you need to retake a subtest, get optimally prepared before scheduling a new appointment!
As said, there are no ETS (the HiSET publisher) fees for retaking a subject test but it has to be the same format as your initial test and you’ll have to complete the retests within 12 months or the regular fees apply again.
All states and jurisdictions have their own retesting policies. In some states, for example, there is a waiting period before you’re allowed to take a test again and there may, again, also be additional test center fees.
Rescheduling a test appointment
In case you can’t make it to your HiSET test appointment, you have the option to reschedule that appointment. You can reschedule the testing date and time, but also the test center. Let’s look at the rules you should follow to not lose your paid testing fees or pay extra fees.
- You can cancel and reschedule your appointment ultimately the day before your testing appointment.
- Your new testing day needs to be less than a year from your initial registration. You have up to 12 months to do so.
- You can only retake the subtest in the same format as you registered. It is not possible to switch between paper-based and computer-based test formats for free. If you would like to change the testing format, you must cancel your test appointment and buy a new test.
Last Updated on April 20, 2021.