HiSET vs GED: Which Test Will Make Things Easier for You?

Florencia Basavilbaso

Florencia Basavilbaso

Content Writer At Gradehacker

Should You Take The HiSet or GED Test?

If you are wondering which exam you should take to boost your academic performance before applying for college, here is what you need to compare between the HiSET vs GED:

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The HiSET vs GED exams is a tough fight for students deciding for their future since are two of the most widely recognized high school equivalency tests.

Both tests measure a student’s knowledge and skills in various areas such as math, science, social studies, and language arts. 

Since at Gradehacker, the non-traditional student #1 resource, we want to give the best resources for your growth and further education.

We made sure to put together this article to compare the HiSET and GED tests so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

While both exams offer a way for adults to earn their high school diploma, there are key differences between them!

What is The HiSET?

HiSET, which stands for the High School Equivalency Test, is an alternative to the GED (General Educational Development) exam.

It’s designed for individuals who didn’t complete their high school education but still want to obtain the equivalent of a high school diploma.

The HiSET tests an individual’s knowledge and skills in five subject areas:

By passing the HiSET, individuals can demonstrate their academic proficiency and increase their opportunities for higher education or employment.

What is The GED?

GED stands for General Educational Development. It’s a high school equivalency testing program in the United States and Canada.

The GED test is designed to assess the knowledge and skills equivalent to those of a high school graduate.

It’s a way for individuals who didn’t complete high school to demonstrate their academic abilities and earn a credential that is equivalent to a high school diploma.

The GED test covers four subjects:

As we mentioned, The HiSET consists of five subject tests:

This test evaluates your ability to understand and analyze various types of written materials, such as literary fiction, informational texts, workplace documents, and more.

You’ll need to demonstrate skills like identifying main ideas, making inferences, and understanding the author’s perspective and purpose.

The writing test assesses your ability to express ideas effectively.

You’ll need to write an essay response and demonstrate your understanding of grammar, sentence structure, organization, and use of evidence to support your arguments.

The math test covers various topics, including algebraic concepts, geometry, data interpretation, probability, and statistics.

You’ll need to solve both multiple-choice and constructed-response questions, applying mathematical reasoning and problem-solving skills.

The science test evaluates your knowledge of scientific concepts and your ability to interpret and analyze scientific information.

It covers areas like life science, physical science, and Earth and space science. You’ll encounter multiple-choice and constructed-response questions that assess scientific inquiry and research skills.

The social studies test focuses on history, civics and government, economics, and geography.

You’ll need to analyze maps, charts, graphs, and historical documents and demonstrate skills like identifying cause-and-effect relationships, analyzing different perspectives, and understanding civic responsibilities.

It’s important to note that HiSET subject tests vary in terms of content and format from state to state.

Therefore, it’s recommended to consult your specific state’s requirements and test preparation materials to effectively prepare for the HiSET subject tests.

However, you can find a practice test on the website.

GED Essay

Since these tests are designed to measure a person’s high school-level academic proficiency and are an alternative way for individuals to earn a high school equivalency credential, let’s take a closer look at them:

This test evaluates a person’s reading comprehension and writing skills.

The test consists of multiple-choice questions, short answer responses, and an extended response essay.

It assesses a person’s ability to understand and analyze written text, demonstrate grammatical skills, and effectively express themselves in written form.

The mathematics test covers various math topics, including numbers and operations, algebraic thinking, geometry, data analysis, and statistics.

The test includes both multiple-choice questions and constructed response questions. It evaluates a person’s problem-solving abilities, mathematical reasoning, and computational skills.

The science test assesses a person’s understanding of scientific concepts and reasoning skills.

The topics covered include life science, physical science, and earth and space science. The test includes multiple-choice questions, short answer responses, and data analysis tasks.

The social studies test examines a person’s knowledge of history, geography, civics, and economics.

The test assesses a person’s understanding of historical events, geographic concepts, government systems, and economic principles.

It includes multiple-choice questions, short answer responses, and an extended response essay.

The HiSet Test works and evaluates based on:

To take the HiSet exam, you must be at least 18 years old or have permission from your school district if you are 16 or 17.

There are no residency requirements, and anyone can take the test regardless of their educational background.

The HiSet exam consists of five subject areas.

The test is computer-based, although some locations offer a paper-and-pencil version.

Each subject area has multiple-choice questions as well as a writing component where you will have to express your thoughts and ideas effectively.

You’ll also have breaks between subtest if you’re taking more than one in one day.

To earn the HiSet credential, you need to achieve a minimum score of 8 out of 20 on each of the five subject tests.

You must have an overall scaled score of 45 or higher. The HiSet exam uses a scaled scoring system where the highest possible score is 20, and the minimum passing score is 8.

There are various resources available to help you prepare for the HiSet exam.

Official study guides, practice tests, and online resources can assist you in familiarizing yourself with the test format and content.

Many adult education centers and community colleges also offer HiSet preparation classes to help you improve your skills in different subject areas.

Passing the HiSet exam opens up opportunities for higher education, increased job prospects, and personal growth.

It provides individuals who didn’t finish high school with an equivalent credential that colleges, universities, and employers across the United States recognize.

 There are many differences between HiSET, Here’s how the GED test works:

To take the GED test, you need to register at an official GED testing center. You will need to provide identification documents and pay the registration fee.

The GED test is computer-based, but some testing centers may offer a paper-based option. The test consists of four separate sections, each with its own time limit:

  • Reasoning through Language Arts (150 minutes): This section includes reading comprehension and writing tasks, such as analyzing arguments and revising and editing sentences.
  • Mathematical Reasoning (115 minutes): This section covers algebra, geometry, statistics, and data analysis. It includes both multiple-choice questions and grid-in questions.
  • Science (90 minutes): The science section assesses your understanding of scientific concepts and your ability to analyze and interpret data from experiments and studies.
  • Social Studies (70 minutes): This section tests your knowledge of U.S. history, civics, geography, and economics.

Each section of the GED test is scored separately, and the scores range from 100 to 200. To pass the GED test, you need a minimum score of 145 on each section.

If you don’t pass a section, you can retake it.

It’s highly recommended to prepare for the GED test before taking it.

You can find study material, practice tests, and even enroll in GED preparation courses to improve your chances of success.

Obtaining a GED opens up several opportunities.

With a GED, you can apply for jobs that require a high school diploma, pursue higher education, and improve your overall career prospects. 


GED and HiSET set their value in very different ways.

If you decide taking all the subject at home the total cost of it will be $152 and if you decide to take it at a test center will cost $128. 

On the other hand if you want to take the HiSET Test this will cost:

And since the HiSET has five subjects if you decide to take all subjects on computer, it will cost $93.75 and if you decide to go paper based it will be for a total of $115.

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Choosing Between GED and HiSET: The Best Path for Your Academic Journey

Both the HiSET and GED tests are excellent options for individuals who did not finish high school.

Each test has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to research each one carefully before making a decision.

The best option will depend on your particular situation and goals.

And if you want to keep investigating what’s best for you as a student, check these blogs:

Florencia Basavilbaso

Florencia Basavilbaso

Florencia Basavilbaso is a content creator passioned for writing, music, films, and the arts. At Gradehacker, she helps to improve non-traditional students life’s by finding and providing the most useful information, so they can always progress. You can find her on LinkedIn.