HiSET vs GED – What To Choose

Some states offer both tests: GED and HiSET, as High School Equivalency (HSE) exams, and students can choose between one of them. While these tests come with quite a few similarities, there are a few things you should consider before making your final decision.

Onsego online GED prep classes help you prepare for both of them fast. So let’s take a closer look at some of the differences and similarities.

Pass Your GED Test in 2 Months

Learn Just 1 Hour a Day
It doesn’t matter when you left school.


The thing you should take into your consideration is: how easy it is to pass ALL tests and the price of the exams. Both the GED® and HiSET® are High School Equivalency (HSE) exams used in America.

The common notion is that HiSET is cheaper than GED tests, but this is not the case in every state, so make sure you check it.

The GED test allows you to use the scientific calculator TI-30XS on the Math and Science test, and this is a big plus because if you learn to use this calculator, you can easily pass one of the most difficult subjects: Math.

Onsego’s My Advantage Plan includes a very useful GED Calculator Course that will teach you how to pass GED Math by using this little magical machine effectively, also if you really don’t get math at all!

Fast & Easy Online GED Classes

Get Your GED Diploma in 2 months.

HiSET And GED Comparison

Delivery format

The GED exam includes 4 subtests that are delivered in a computer-based testing format only. This is actually a good development as there is hardly any job these days that doesn’t call for basic computer and keyboarding skills, and this also applies to entry-level jobs!

The HiSET exam comes with 5 subtests that are delivered in both computer-based and paper-based testing formats.

The subtests – Language Arts

The GED Reasoning through Language Arts (English Literacy) test lasts 150 minutes and includes 51 questions, and in that timeframe, you must also write a 5-6 paragraph essay (the GED Extended Response part) for which you have 45 minutes. This subtest includes a 10-minute break as well.

The HiSET exam has separate Language writing and Language reading subtests. The reading section is 65 minutes and includes 50 multiple-choice questions. The Language writing section is 120 minutes long and includes 61 multiple-choice questions, and you’ll also have to write your essay within that timeframe.

The subtests – Mathematics

The GED Mathematical Reasoning portion lasts 115 minutes and includes 46 questions. In Part 1 (5 questions), you are not allowed to use a calculator, but in Part 2, which includes 41 questions, the use of a calculator is allowed, but it has to be the TI-30XS. The computer-formatted GED exam comes with not only multiple-choice questions; there are also hot-spot, drag-and-drop, and fill-in-the-blank question types, just to name a few.

The HiSET Mathematics subtest is 90 minutes long and includes 55 multiple-choice questions. You are allowed to use a number of calculators (to be decided by the test center, so get informed!). It is recommended, however, to use the TI-30XS Calculator.

The subtests – Science

The GED Science subject test takes 90 minutes to complete and includes 34 questions that have multiple possible answer types, such as hot-spot, multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, or drag-and-drop, just to mention some possibilities. The only allowed calculator is the TI-30XS.

The HiSET Science portion is 80 minutes long, and there are 60 multiple-choice questions. You can use a number of calculators, but we recommend you use the TI-30XS.

The subtests – Social Studies

The GED Social Studies subtest takes 70 minutes to complete and includes 35 questions in various answer types, such as multiple-choice, hot-spot, drag-and-drop, or fill-in-the-blank. In this portion, you can use the TI-30XS scientific calculator as well.

HiSET Social Studies testing lasts 70 minutes, and there are 60 multiple-choice questions.

Passing Scores

The four GED sub-exams are scored on a scaled score that ranges from 100 to 200 points.
To pass the four modular, independent subtests, you need to reach at least a score of 145. The GED test can be taken both at state-certified testing centers and online.

To qualify for online GED testing, students must first reach passing scores on the GED Ready® official practice test. There’s a GED Ready test for each of the four subtests that can, if wished, be taken one at a time and in any order. The testing fee varies by state.

The five HiSET subject tests are scored on a scaled score that ranged from 0 to 20 points.
The passing score on each of the five modules (independent subtests) is 8, and your total score must be at least 45 (out of 100). Additionally, your essay score must be no less than 2 out of a possible 6. The HiSET exam can be taken online and at test centers as well.

To be eligible to sit for the online HiSET exam, you are required to first attain passing scores on the HiSET OPT (Official Practice Test). The five HiSET modules can also be taken in any preferred order and, if you wish, one at a time. HiSET testing fees also vary by state.

Testing Level

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.

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.

As stated earlier, 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).