High School Equivalency- What Is It And How To Get It?

High School Equivalency (HSE) refers to an educational credential that has the same value as a conventional high school diploma.

Each state has a high school equivalency testing program, and Onsego’s online GED classes will help you pass the exam efficiently.


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These programs allow adults who could not complete their high school education to earn a degree that is all over North America in lieu of a diploma by employers and institutions of post-secondary education.

So a high school equivalency credential is a recognized and much-used alternative to an American high school diploma. In general, there are two exams used by states to measure a candidate’s academic proficiency and skills. Testing occurs at a level comparable to that of high school seniors upon graduation.

Two High School Equivalency Exams

There are two high school equivalency (HSE) exams that are nationally used, the GED Test (General Educational Development) and the HiSE Test (High School Equivalency Test).

Having your HSE diploma will certainly result in better employment options, and the credential is also your ticket to a college education. Both exams are quite challenging, so becoming perfectly prepared is a prerequisite for success. Onsego’s GED Preparatory Program will get you all set for either the HiSET or GED exam fast.


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Some states use state-specific college entrance exams as well. Florida, for example, uses the GED exam, but students can also take the PERT (Postsecondary Education Readiness Test) to measure academic proficiency for college entrance testing, and in Texas, the TSI (Texas Success Initiative) Assessments is used for that purpose.

In New York, students have four options for High School Equivalency. They can take the GED exam, opt for the 24-College Credit Pathway, NEDP (National External Diploma Program), or take the state’s Regents Exam.

The GED Diploma

So, if you didn’t complete high school, you still have the opportunity to earn your high school equivalency diploma. This way, you can have the same benefits as high school graduates, and if you decide to go the GED path, you can learn a lot from these tips, tricks, and strategies to earn your GED fast!

Holding your GED or HiSET diploma will open lots of doors. People with a high school or equivalent credential earn considerably more than people who do not have a secondary education degree. Holders of a GED or high school diploma will make at least $9800 more annually than people who do not have one or the other.

Though there are still jobs that do not require a high school or equivalent degree, today, most jobs, also entry-level positions, require you to hold at least a high school or equivalent degree, and most training programs require that as well.

The GED is a series of four tests that measure a candidate’s proficiency in the academic subject areas of Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, and English  Language Arts. These sub-exams can be taken one or more at a time and in any order.

The most recent version of the GED exam dates back to 2014, when a fully computer-based edition was introduced. Many multiple-choice have disappeared to be replaced with drag-and-drop, fill-in-the-blank, multiple-select question types, just to mention a few. Applicants must also write an essay, the so-called GED Extended Response.

The HiSET Exam

The HiSET exam is the second nationally available alternative. This exam is offered both in paper-based and computer-formatted versions, whereas the GED exam is only available in a computer-delivered version.

Only West Virginia (HiSET) and New Jersey (GED or HiSET) require students to take the exams on a computer only. The HiSET exam is available in 24 states, and many states offer both exams.

The HiSET exam has five independent, modular sub-exams that cover the academic fields of English Writing, English Reading, Math, Social Studies, and Science. The majority are multiple-choice questions; only the HiSET essay is in writing. Both the HiSET and GED are available at test centers and in an online format if the candidate qualifies.

How To Get A High School Equivalency Diploma

Students who attain sufficient results on either the four GED or five HiSET sub-exams will be awarded their state’s HSE (High School Equivalency) diploma. Some states call the credential a Certificate, while other states award a common high school diploma.

The minimum required score on the GED test is 145. The scoring scale runs from 100 to 200. There’s no averaging, so the 145 score must be reached on each of the four sub-exams.

The minimum required score on the HiSET exam is 8 out of 20, and this counts for all five sub-exams. Your overall HiSET score needs to be in the 45-100 range, and your HiSET essay must have at least a 2-score (out of 6).

Your state awards your High School Equivalency Diploma, and the price is also set by states. Check here for the GED price in your state. Onsego offers an accredited online GED prep program, but to register for the HiSET and GED exams, you need to create an account with hiset.org or GED.com.