HiSET vs GED Tests and Prep

Both the GED and HiSET are High School Equivalency (HSE) exams used in America.

The Onsego prep course helps you prepare for both of them fast. So let’s take a closer look at some of the differences and similarities.

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HiSET / GED Comparison

HiSET ®
(Includes 5 Subtests)
Both computer-delivered and paper-based testing (in most states)
GED®
(Includes 4 Subtests)
Computer-delivered testing only (except for accommodations)
Language Arts-Reading Test (65 minutes)

  • 50 Questions (Multiple-Choice)
Reasoning through Language Arts Test (150 minutes) includes 51 questions

  • Section 1: 27 minutes
  • Section 2 (Extended Response/Essay): 45 minutes
  • Break: 10 minutes
  • Section 3: 60 minutes

The time frames allotted for sections 1 and 3 could vary slightly. The total testing time (150 minutes) will, however, always be the same.

Language Arts-Writing Test (120 minutes)

  • 61 Questions (Multiple-Choice) and an Essay
Mathematics Test (90 minutes)

  • 55 Questions (Multiple-Choice)

Several Calculators Allowed. Recommended: TI-30XS Calculator

Mathematical Reasoning Test (115 minutes) includes 46 questions

  • Part 1 (5 questions): no calculator allowed.
  • Part 2 (41 questions): using a calculator is allowed.
  • Possible Answer Types:
    • Hot Spot
    • Multiple-Choice
    • Drag-and-Drop
    • Fill in the Blank

Only allowed calculator: TI-30XS Calculator

Science Test (80 minutes)

  • 60 Questions (Multiple-Choice)

Several Calculators Allowed. Recommended: TI-30XS Calculator

Science Test (90 minutes) includes 34 questions

  • Possible Answer Types:
    • Hot Spot
    • Multiple-Choice
    • Fill in the Blank
    • Drag-and-Drop
    • Short Answer

Only allowed calculator: TI-30XS Calculator

Social Studies Test (70 minutes)

  • 60 Questions (Multiple-Choice)
Social Studies Test (70 minutes) includes 35 questions

  • Possible Answer Types:
    • Hot Spot
    • Multiple-Choice
    • Drag-and-Drop
    • Fill in the blank

Only allowed calculator: TI-30XS Calculator

HiSET Scoring:
Scaled-score range per HiSET module (independent subtest): 0–20
To pass: no module score under 8 and a full exam total score of at least 45
Essay score at least 2 out of 5
GED Scoring:
Scaled-score range per GED module (independent subtest): 100–200
To pass: no module score under 145
Is online HiSET testing available? YES Is online GED testing available: YES
Fee Structure: varies by state Fee Structure: varies by state

The GED and HiSET are High School Equivalency (HSE) exams that measure knowledge and skills at a level similar to what graduating high school seniors must command.

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Both exams offer individuals who did not complete their high school curricula the opportunity to earn a certificate or diploma that’s all across North America accepted in the same way as a conventional high school credential.

There are more and more states that offer the tests at no or reduced cost and some states offer free testing for first-time testers.

Both the GED and HiSET can (in most states) be taken at state-certified test centers or in an online format. To be eligible for taking the GED exam online, however, applicants are required to first reach passing scores in the “green” (Likely to Pass) range on the official GED Ready® practice test.

The same applies to HiSET testing where applicants must reach sufficient scores on the HiSET OPT (Official Practice Test).