The HiSET® is one of three available high school equivalency exams in the U.S. The other two options are the GED® and the TASC™ exams.
The HiSET exam (short for High School Equivalency Test) includes five tests in these fields: Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, Literacy Writing, and Literacy Reading.
The topics addressed in the GED and HiSET tests are quite similar so using these free practice tests to get all set for HiSET testing is a great idea!
The five HiSET subtests are modular, meaning they are independent and that you don’t need to take them all in one session.
The TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion) has also five independent modules while the GED test includes four modular tests.
The HiSET exam is, like the TASC exam, offered both in a paper-based and a computer-formatted version.
The four GED modules need to be completed on a computer.
The HiSET subtests are offered separately. Get prepared by taking our free HiSET practice tests.
The HiSET is published by ETS and, and as stated above, the five subtests closely reflect the skills and knowledge of high school graduates.
HiSET testing is pretty challenging. The minimally required score on each of the five modules is so that around 40-45 percent of all high school grads would not pass the HiSET subtests on their first attempt.
The HiSET, just like the other two alternatives, is for individuals who did not complete their high school curriculum and gives them one more chance to earn a credential that is nationally accepted in lieu of a standard high school degree.
After successful completion of the HiSET exam, students will be awarded their state’s HSE (high school equivalency) credential. This is a great way to advance careers, join the armed forces, start out on a training program, or continue their education in college or university.
When you pass the HiSET exam, you will receive your HSE certificate or diploma.
The HSE diploma will open the doors to a fine college education and a secondary education diploma (high school or equivalent) is more or less a ‘must’ for practically all future employment positions. See also this post about HiSET test centers by state.
To be able to qualify for credit classes or get financial support at schools of higher learning, you definitely are required to hold a high school or equivalent diploma, so be wise, and try to get your HS equivalency diploma as soon as you possibly can.
Some states subsidize the HSE examination partially, and there are four states that fully subsidize the cost of the exam for their residents (New York-TASC, West Virginia-TASC, Maine-HiSET, and Connecticut-TASC).
There are also states that offer their HSE exams at no cost to first-time test takers (Missouri and Kentucky).
The HiSET exam, like the GED, could not be taken online. You had to go in-person to a state-designated test center. Recently, however, we saw the introduction of the online proctored ‘HiSET-At-Home’ exam. Keep also in mind that online studying can be an excellent solution for students living in remote areas or those who are not in a position to attend classes in a traditional setting.
Language Arts – Reading
This is a 65 minute-long test in which applicants must read and analyze a number of written texts and answer questions regarding the main topics, identify the meaning of words and phrases, and come to conclusions. Candidates may be required to describe and compare some ideas in a number of texts or identify the author’s arguments.
Language Arts – Writing
Candidates have 120 minutes to deal with part 1 and part 2 of this exam portion. This multiple-choice section (part 1) examines a candidate’s skills in English grammar and structure. In part 2, candidates must show they are capable of writing a well-structured essay, describe and develop a statement or argument, come up with evidence to support the idea, and come to a conclusion.
Applicants have 90 minutes to complete the mathematics section. This part requires them to address issues in the fields of algebra, geometry, and statistics. They must have command of basic arithmetic operations, determine the probable outcome of events, analyze and interpret graphics, and handle measurements of central tendency.
This is an 80-minutes section that examines applicants’ knowledge of physical science, life science, and Earth science issues. Applicants need to answer questions about, for example, our solar system and the layers of the Earth. The need to be able to describe the structures of ecosystems and demonstrate that they are familiarized with the principles of physics. Check out also this website’s free Science video lessons.
To pass this 70-minute test, applicants must show they know essential events going on in the world and have sufficient knowledge of U.S. history. They additionally are required to be able to answer questions about different types of government, and about the roles that citizens play in democracies.
This section also addresses topics as economics (supply and demand questions), physical geography, and human demographics.
HiSET passing score
To pass the HiSET exam, test-takers need to attain at least an eight-score (out of a possible 20) on all five HiSET subtests and their overall score cannot be less than 45. Additionally, their essays must result in a score of at least two.
All five HiSET subtests have between 40 and 50 questions that are all multiple-choice except for, of course, the essay section in the writing test.
HiSET Exam Overview
The HiSET exam is one of three available High School Equivalency Tests in America. When you pass the HiSET exam, you will receive the High School Equivalency Diploma from your State.
HiSET is short for the “High School Equivalency Test”. The HiSET exam assesses knowledge and skills at a level that compares to that of high school graduates.
The HiSET is one of the alternatives to the GED test and is NOT available in every state. Check the HiSET availability in your state here.
The HiSET exam is for adults who, for some reason, were not able to finish their regular high school education and offers them the chance to secure a diploma that is across North America recognized and accepted in lieu of a common high school credential.
HiSET testing includes five separate subtests that cover the academic fields of English Writing, English Literature and the Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science.
The five subtests require test-takers to understand and apply reading, writing, mathematical, and critical reasoning skills. The five HiSET subtests may be taken separately and in any order provided mathematics and language writing are not taken last.
When students have passed all five HiSET subtests they will be awarded their states’ High School Equivalency Diploma. As said above, this credential is the equivalency of a regular H.S. diploma and accepted by just about all employers, universities and colleges, state and federal government agencies, and the armed services.
The HiSET was introduced in 2014 as a more affordable alternative to the GED (General Education Development) program that introduced a new version that allowed students to take the test only in a computer-based format while the price had gone up dramatically. The HiSET exam is available in both a paper-based and a computer-based format.
The HiSET is available in 23 states: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming.
On each of the five HiSET subtests, test-takers need to attain a score of no less than 8 out of 20 to pass that section. There are five tests (so 100 is the maximum score) and the minimally required overall scaled score is 45 while on the essay part, the score must be at least 2 out of a possible 6.
The HiSET is a pretty challenging exam. The passing score is set in a way that some 40 percent of high school graduates would not be able to pass the HiSET exam on the first try.
All of the five HiSET subtests come with multiple-choice questions. Only the Writing part of the English Language Arts subtest requires you to write an essay.
When you take the HiSET exam in a computer-formatted version, you can skip questions if you don’t know the answer immediately and come back to them later, review questions, change your answers later, and see if you missed any of the questions.
When you’re working on your essay, please keep in mind to budget your precious time. You’ll need the time to think about what’s given in the prompt, you’ll have to plan your response carefully, and write your best possible essay.
When you’ve finished your essay, you should check for errors.
Occasional grammatical, typographical, or spelling mistakes will not influence your essay score, but persistent and/or severe errors will affect the quality of your essay and have a lowering effect on your score.
Last Updated on August 17, 2020.