About the HiSET®

Successful completion of the HiSET® exam earns a state-issued high school equivalency credential which you can use to advance your career, join the military, begin a training program or continue your education. Each state has its own requirements about who can take the HiSET® exam. Be sure to check your state’s requirements before preparing for or scheduling your exam.

The HiSET® exam lets you demonstrate that you have attained the knowledge equivalent to a high school graduate.  The exam consists of five subtests that measure your knowledge in five core areas:

  • Language Arts–Reading: contains 40 multiple-choice questions and measures your ability to understand, comprehend, interpret, and analyze a variety of reading material.
  • Language Arts–Writing: contains two sections of 51 multiple-choice and one essay question, and measures your ability to edit and revise written text, and to generate and organize ideas in writing.
  • Mathematics: contains 50 multiple-choice questions and assesses your ability to solve quantitative problems using fundamental concepts and reasoning skills.
  • Science: contains 50 multiple-choice questions and measures your ability to use science content knowledge, apply principles of scientific inquiry, and interpret and evaluate scientific information.
  • Social Studies: contains 50 multiple-choice questions and measures your ability to analyze and evaluate various kinds of social studies information.

You can take all five HiSET® subtests on the same day, or you can schedule the subtests in any order you choose, and at your own pace so you have time to prepare for each test.

Each of the five subtests in the HiSET battery is scored on a scale of 1–20. In order to pass you must do all three of the following: 

  • Achieve a score of at least 8 (out of 20) on each of the five individual subtests*
  • Score at least 2 out of 6 on the essay portion of the writing test
  • Have a total combined score on all five tests of at least 45 The total score of 8 and essay score of 2 MUST be earned on the same test date. Scores from multiple tests cannot be combined.

* Some states and jurisdictions may set passing scores that are higher, but under no circumstances can you pass with a total score lower than 45 on the full battery of tests.

Each HiSET® subtest costs $10. There may be additional fees applied by your state, jurisdiction and/or test center. To learn more about your state’s or jurisdiction’s fees and policies, please check the Requirements by State section online at www.HiSET.ets.org

  • There are approximately 50,000 HiSET exam attempts each year.  The completion rate for all test core areas is approximately 85%. (Source: HiSET 2014 Annual Report)
Quick Facts
Subject Areas Language Arts -Reading, Language Arts - Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.
Total number of questions Approximately 220
Test Time Approximately 7 hours, 30 minutes Language Arts - Reading  -  1 hour, 5 minutes (Approximately 40 Multiple Choice Questions) Language Arts – Writing – 2 hours (Approximately 50 Multiple Choice and 1 Essay Prompt) Mathematical Reasoning – 1 hour, 30 minutes (Approximately 50 Multiple Choice Questions) Science – 1 hour, 20 minutes (Approximately 50 Multiple Choice Questions) Social Studies – 1 hour, 10 minutes (Approximately 50 Multiple Choice Questions)
Test Fee $10 per subtest. There may be additional fees applied by your state
Maximum Score 100

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