In the U.S., four states offer the Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or TASC exam, for HSE (high school equivalency) testing purposes: Indiana, New Jersey, New York, and West Virginia

High School Equivalency testing offers individuals who didn’t complete high school the opportunity to get hold of an education degree that’s the equivalency of a common high school credential.

The TASC™ exam is similar to the former GED® edition but the GED exam has changed considerably some years ago so, in this post, we’ll take a look at the most significant differences.

If you live in a state that uses the TASC exam exclusively, you cannot take the GED exam for earning your high school equivalency degree. Then you’ll have to pass the five subject tests of the TASC exam.

The five TASC independent subtests (modules) cover the following academic subject areas: English Language Arts Reading, English Language Arts Writing, Social Studies, Mathematics, and Science.

You can take the modules one at a time and they are available both in a paper-based format and computer-based. This does not apply to New Jersey where the exam must be taken on a computer.


Just like the GED test, the TASC exam measures your skills and knowledge at a level comparable to that of high school graduates. The exam also assesses your critical reasoning and analytical skills.

In the U.S., there are three options open to states for the purpose of High School Equivalency testing, the GED, TASC, and HiSET exams.

Please be aware that the three HSE (high-school equivalency) exams are not identical. GED testing includes four separate subject tests that, as said before, must be completed exclusively on a computer.

The GED exam has combined two Language Arts sections into one “Reasoning through Language Arts” subtest. So the GED has four subtests (Math, Social Studies, Science, and Language).

The GED and HiSET exams can be taken at state-designated test centers or over the internet.

The five TASC modules are not offered online. You must come to an official TASC test center in person. You can read more about online GED testing here.

Most states still use the GED but as this option is only offered on a computer, more and more states offer multiple options.

States that offer the TASC exam

The TASC exam is used exclusively in Indiana, New York, and West Virginia, whereas New Jersey offers all three options for HSE (high school equivalency) testing, the TASC, GED, and HiSET exams.

The TASC exam was developed a few years back by Data Recognition Corp (DRC) in reaction to important changes to the GED exam that became only available on a computer, became in line with the American Common Core Education Standards, and the price increased significantly.

Consequently, two alternatives (the HiSET and TASC exams), were developed and several states decided to implement an alternative to the GED exam for high school equivalency testing.

The TASC is a rigorous exam and proper preparation is absolutely required. Testing occurs at a level comparable to that of graduating high school students. The most noticeable discrepancies between the TASC and the GED are the format (paper- and computer-based), flexibility, and cost.

The TASC exam is available in English and Spanish but that also applies to the GED test. For test-takers with special needs, the TASC exam is offered in large print, Braille, or in audio. On July 1, 2021, Indiana will transition from the TASC to the HiSET exam.

TASC advantages

Another advantage of the TASC is that it will be aligned to the Common Core State Education Standards gradually. In this way, more students will be able to stay competitive for professional and educational purposes.

But it not all easier than the GED. Many students say that the Math portion of the TASC is more difficult than the math section of the GED test.

The TASC requires a thorough understanding of all of the five academic subject fields, but particularly Math seems to be more challenging than on the GED but you can use a calculator, for example, the TI-30XS, and if you’ve learned how to use it well, passing the math exam should be a breeze.

The TASC measures knowledge on all sorts of subject matter, from trigonometry to chemistry, and usually, test-takers need to put in lots of studying if they want to be successful on the TASC exam.

In general, we can say that the TASC exam is slightly less expensive than the GED test, but the cost is varying by state. Check here to learn about the cost in your state.

The entire TASC exam (five subtests) will take around 8 hours to complete but you can take one (or more) of the subtests at a time. Let’s see what the five modules cover:

What is on the TASC exam?

  • Language Writing Test – This section is 105 minutes. Your English Language Writing knowledge is measured through multiple-choice questions. You also have to produce an essay that’s based on a prompt that’ll be provided and that includes one or two passages. Read here more about tips for writing your essay. It’s a post about writing a HiSET essay but the same applies to the TASC.
  • Language Reading Test – This portion takes 75 minutes. You must be able to identify the main idea and supporting details of a given passage. Sometimes, you’ll have to compare texts and determine arguments and style. The passages may be nonfiction or fiction.
  • Science Test – This part is 85 minutes and covers Life, Physical, and Earth & Space Science. There are multiple-choice questions about matter & energy, cellular life, ecosystems, waves, evolution, geology, meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy.
  • Social Studies Test – This section is 75 minutes long and contains multiple-choice questions relating to U.S. & world history, government & civics, economics, and geography. Most questions relate to government & civics, economics, and U.S. history.
  • Math Test – This portion takes 105 minutes. There are multiple-choice questions that relate to algebra, probability, statistics, and geometry. You can use a calculator and you’ll also get a formula sheet.

TASC scoring system

The five TASC modules are measured on a 300-800 scale and on each TASC subtest, you must reach at least a 500 score. So your overall score cannot be under 2500. And for your essay, you need to attain at least a score of 2.

Bear in mind that the minimum score (500 points) must be attained on EACH of the five sections. So even if your overall score is higher than 2500, you haven’t passed the TASC exam if your score on one of the subtests is less than 500!

If you failed one subtest, you can retake that subtest for free and you get two free retakes. This offer stands for 12 months. Thereafter, the regular fee will apply again.

The diploma that’s awarded after you have successfully taken the five TASC modules qualifies you for a well-paying job, job advancement, and also for a college education.

People that hold a secondary education degree will, on average, earn at least $9,600 more annually than people who don’t hold a secondary degree. Successfully taking the five TASC subject tests will definitely lead to a more rewarding and successful future!

The diploma that you will receive after you’ve passed the five TASC subtests is across North America recognized in the same way as a standard high school degree by institutions of high education, employers, and government organizations.


Last Updated on April 19, 2021.

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