On January 1, 2016, the GED (General Educational Development) test, offered by GED Testing Service, changed big time, and so did the options available to the states in the U.S., each of which sets its own requirements. States now have three testing choices:
- GED Testing Service (partner in the past)
- HiSET Program, developed by ETS (Educational Testing Service)
- Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC, developed by McGraw Hill)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
If your state isn't listed here, it offers one of the other high school equivalency tests. Find out which one in our list of states: GED/High School Equivalency Programs in the United States
What's on the HiSET Test?
The HiSET test has five parts, and is taken on a computer:
- Language Arts - Reading (65 minutes)
40 multiple-choice questions that require you to read and interpret literary texts from various genres, including memoirs, essays, biographies, editorials, and poetry.
- Language Arts - Writing (Part 1 is 75 minutes; Part 2 is 45 minutes)
Part 1 has 50 multiple-choice questions that test your ability to edit letters, essays, newspaper articles, and other texts for organization, sentence structure, usage, and mechanics.
Part 2 involves writing one essay. You will be graded on development, organization, and language.
- Mathematics (90 minutes)
50 multiple-choice questions that test your reasoning skills and understanding of numerical operations, measurement, estimation, data interpretation, and logical thinking. You may use a calculator.
- Science (80 minutes)
50 multiple-choice questions that require you to apply your knowledge of physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, health, and astronomy. Interpretation of graphs, tables, and charts is involved.
- Social Studies (70 minutes)
50 multiple-choice questions regarding history, political science, psychology, sociology, anthropology, geography, and economics. You will be required to distinguish fact from opinion, analyze methods, and judge the reliability of sources.
The cost of the test, as of January 1, 2014, is $50 with individual parts costing $15 each. The $50 price includes free test prep and two free retests within 12 months. Fees may be slightly different in each state.
The HiSET website provides a free tutorial video, study companion in the form of a PDF, sample questions, and practice tests. You can purchase additional prep materials on the website.
The HiSET site also offers some helpful tips and strategies for passing the test, including how to know if you're ready, how to organize your time, how to answer the multiple-choice questions, and how to approach the essay question on the writing part of the language arts test.
The Other Two Tests
For information about the other two high school equivalency tests, see:
- The GED Test
- The Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) -- coming soon!