HiSET vs GED: Which High School Equivalency Exam is Right for You?

The High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) and the General Educational Development (GED) exams are two of the most common tests individuals take to earn a high school diploma equivalent.

Both tests measure the skills and knowledge typically acquired through four years of high school education. While both tests serve the same purpose, there are some differences between them that individuals should consider when deciding which test to take.

This article aims to comprehensively compare HiSET and GED to aid individuals in choosing the proper test. 

Eligibility and Requirements

To take the HiSET and GED exams, candidates must fulfill specific criteria related to age, where they live, and the documents they provide. If a candidate has a disability, special arrangements are available to assist them.

Age Requirements

In most states, candidates must be 18 to take the GED exam. However, some states allow candidates 16 or 17 years old to take the exam if they meet specific requirements.

For example, they may need to provide a consent letter from a parent or guardian. On the other hand, the HiSET exam has a lower age requirement, and candidates as young as 16 years old can take the exam in most states.

Residency Requirements

To take the HiSET or GED test, you need to live in the state where you’re taking the exam. You might also have to show something like a driver’s license or a bill to prove you live there.

Documentation Requirements

Candidates must provide specific documentation to take the HiSET and GED exams. Typically, they must provide a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. Sometimes, they may also need to provide a social security number or other identification documents.

Special Accommodations for Disabilities

Candidates with disabilities can receive special accommodations when taking the HiSET and GED exams. These accommodations may include extra time, a separate testing room, or assistive technology. To receive accommodations, candidates must provide documentation of their disability and request accommodations in advance.

Test Format and Content

The HiSET and GED test both assess if you have high school-level skills and knowledge. Yet, they have different formats and topics.

Test Structure and Subjects for HiSET and GED

The HiSET exam has five parts: Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies. You can take it on a computer or paper, and it’s offered in both English and Spanish.

🌟 Hey Students! 🚀 Ready for the ultimate experience? Join us on Studentsinside.com's Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn. Click now for tips, fun, and success vibes! 🌈✨ #StudentLife #JoinUs

On the other hand, the GED test comprises four sections: Reasoning Through Language Arts, Mathematical Reasoning, Science, and Social Studies. The GED test is entirely computer-based and is available in English and Spanish.

Detailed Comparison of Subjects

Language Arts

The Language Arts section in both tests evaluates the test-taker’s reading and writing skills. However, the HiSET test has separate reading and writing sections, while the GED test combines them into one section.


Both tests evaluate the test-taker’s mathematical skills. However, the HiSET test includes more geometry and algebra questions than the GED test.


The Science section in both tests evaluates the test taker’s knowledge of scientific concepts. However, the HiSET test focuses more on scientific principles and problem-solving, while the GED emphasizes data analysis and interpretation.

Social Studies

The Social Studies section in both tests evaluates the test-taker’s understanding of history, government, and economics. However, the HiSET test includes more questions on geography, while the GED test includes more questions on civics and economics.

Scoring and Passing Requirements

The HiSET and GED tests use different scoring systems. HiSET scores range from 1-20 across five sections, while GED scores are between 100-200 for its four sections.

To pass the HiSET, test-takers must score at least 8 out of 20 on each subtest and achieve a combined score of at least 45.

For the GED, test-takers must score at least 145 on each subtest and achieve 580 out of 800.

Both exams have retake policies, but the costs and waiting periods differ. For the HiSET, test-takers can retake each subtest thrice within 12 months. The cost of each retake varies by state, but it is typically less expensive than the initial test fee.

For the GED, test-takers can retake each subtest up to three times without any waiting period.

However, if a test-taker needs to retake a subtest more than three times or wants to retake a subtest after a three-time limit, they must wait at least 60 days before retaking the subtest. The cost of each retake also varies by state, but it is typically similar to the initial test fee.

It is important to note that passing scores and retake policies vary by state. Test-takers should check with their state’s testing center or department of education for specific information on scoring and retake policies.

Cost and Registration

There are some differences between the HiSET and GED tests regarding cost and registration.

Registration Process for Both Tests

The registration process for both tests is relatively straightforward. For the HiSET, test-takers must create an account on the official HiSET website and then schedule their test at an approved testing center.

On the other hand, for the GED, test-takers can register online through the official GED website or in person at a local testing center.

Cost Breakdown

The cost breakdown for both tests varies depending on the state and testing center. Generally, the HiSET is less expensive than the GED.

For instance, the cost to complete all sections of the HiSET is $93.75 for the online version and $115 for the paper version, while the GED costs $144. However, additional fees, such as registration, retake, and testing center fees, may apply.

Additional Expenses

It’s important to note that additional expenses may be associated with both tests. For example, test-takers may need to purchase study materials, transportation to the testing center, and accommodations for disabilities. Additionally, some states may require test-takers to complete a pre-test or preparation program before taking the test.

Test Preparation Resources

Preparing for the HiSET or GED test is crucial for success. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help test-takers study and practice.

Official Study Materials

The HiSET and GED offer official study materials to help test-takers prepare for the exam. These materials include study guides, practice tests, and other resources tailored to the exam’s content. These materials can be purchased directly from the official websites of the HiSET and GED.

Practice Tests

Practice tests are crucial for exam prep. They help students learn the exam’s style and the questions they’ll see.

The HiSET and GED offer practice tests designed to simulate the actual exam. These practice tests can be taken online or in print format.

Third-Party Options

In addition to official study materials and practice tests, many third-party options are available to test-takers.

These include study guides, online courses, and tutoring services. It is essential to choose third-party options carefully, as not all of them are created equal.

People taking tests should research and pick well-known options with a history of good results.

Test Administration

The HiSET and GED tests are administered at authorized test centers throughout the United States. Test center availability may vary by state, so checking with your local testing center for more information is essential.

Scheduling for both tests can typically be done online or by phone. It is recommended that test-takers schedule their exams well in advance to ensure availability.

Test procedures may differ slightly between the HiSET and GED. The HiSET test is available in both paper-and-pencil and computer formats.

At the same time, the GED is only available in a computer format, except in New Jersey, where both paper-and-pencil and computer formats are available.

Both tests require test-takers to arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. Test-takers must present a valid form of identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, before being allowed to take the exam.

Test-takers are prohibited from using electronic devices, including cell phones, tablets, or smartwatches, during the test. Scratch paper and pencils are provided for test-takers to use during the exam.

After completing the exam, test-takers will receive their scores within a few weeks. If a passing score is not achieved, both tests offer retake options for an additional fee. The HiSET allows for up to two free retakes if necessary, while the GED requires a fee for each retake.

Recognition and Acceptance

Both HiSET and GED are recognized and accepted by most colleges, universities, and employers across the United States. However, the recognition and acceptance of these tests may vary from state to state.

It is essential to research the specific requirements and preferences of the state where you plan to use your high school equivalency credential.

According to the search results, around 40 states accept the GED, while approximately 20 states acknowledge HiSET as a high school equivalency credential.

Therefore, checking with your state’s Department of Education or Workforce Development is essential to ensure your chosen test is recognized.

Colleges and universities typically accept both HiSET and GED scores as equivalent to a high school diploma.

However, some institutions may have specific requirements or prefer one test. It is recommended to check with the admissions office of the college or university you plan to attend to confirm their acceptance of your high school equivalency credential.

Employers also recognize HiSET and GED as equivalent to high school diplomas. However, some employers may have specific requirements or prefer one test.

It is recommended to check with the human resources department of the company you plan to work for to confirm their acceptance of your high school equivalency credential.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *