What is the Format?
Like the GED, the HiSET exam tests your skills in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. In Maine, the multiple-choice test is taken on paper, and is available in English and Spanish. You can take all of the five sections of the HiSET exam at once, or you can take the following test sections individually, in whatever order you choose:
- Language Arts - Reading - assesses you ability to read and analyze literary and informational texts such as editorials, biographical sketches and poetry. The test is 65 minutes and has 40 multiple-choice questions.
- Language Arts - Writing - measures your ability to express thoughts and ideas in clear, effective language. The first part of the test is 75 minutes and has 50 multiple-choice questions that ask you to edit and revise sections of essays, letters or reports. Part 2 of the test is 45 minutes and requires you to draft, write and revise your own essay.
- Mathematics - is a 90-minute test that evaluates your ability to solve problems using numerical operations, estimation, measurements and logical thinking. The test, which includes problems in algebra and geometry, has 50 questions and you can use a calculator if you choose.
- Science - gauges your ability to read and understand science-related passages and information. The 80-minute test has 50 questions that cover health, botany, zoology, chemistry, physics and astronomy.
- Social Studies - is a 70-minute test that assesses your ability to read and understand different types of social studies-related information. The test uses charts, graphs, maps, cartoons and texts as the source of 50 questions that cover history, geography, political science, anthropology and sociology.
How is the Exam Scored and What if I Don't Pass?
In order to pass the HiSET exam, you must score 8 out of 20 points on each of the five test, and 2 out of 6 possible points on the essay. If you score below an 8, you can retake the test. Although there is no state-required waiting period for retesting, some adult education testing centers may have different retesting policies.
Who is Eligible?
Anyone who is 18 is eligible to take the HiSET exam in Maine. The HiSET exam is free for Maine residents, but non-residents pay a $150 fee for the five tests.
If you are 17, you can take the HiSET tests if you have documentation that shows you have been out of school for a year, if you are home-schooled or if you have a state-approved waiver.
How do I Register for the HiSET exam?
Registration and testing takes place at your local Adult Education Center. Visit the Maine Adult Education website, www.maineadulted.org, to get a list of Adult Education Centers throughout the state.
How do I Prepare?
You can study on your own by going to your local library and using its study materials. Also, you can check out the Internet and look for free HiSET lessons and practice tests. Free and low-cost preparation classes are offered at Maine's Adult Education Centers.