Equivalency Test Overview for Massachusetts
The State of Massachusetts made a change from the General Educational Development (GED) exam in 2013 to instead offer the High School Equivalency Test, or HiSET. Successfully passing all five sections of the HiSET results in a Massachusetts High School Equivalency Credential, which most colleges and employers accept from individuals who did not earn a traditional high school diploma.
What is the Format?
The HiSET is a 5-part exam that tests candidates in a variety of different subject areas traditionally taught in high school. The subject areas and time needed to take each test are as follows:
- Language Arts - Reading (65 minutes)
- Language Arts - Writing (120 minutes)
- Math (90 minutes)
- Science (80 minutes)
- Social Studies (70 minutes)
The test can be taken on paper or on a computer at official testing centers, but individuals should confirm that the center they choose has the option they prefer. The battery of exams can be taken in any order and can be taken one or two at a time or all on one day if scheduling allows. Both English or Spanish versions are available, and accommodations are available for some documented disabilities.
How is the Exam Scored and What if I Don't Pass?
The report provided to test-takers will indicate whether a passing score has been achieved. On a scale of 0-20 points on each subject test, students must score at least eight. Additionally, a score of at least two out of a possible six is needed on the essay, and a total combined score of 45 is also required. Those who do not pass can retake all or part of the exam two times that same year, or three times total per year.
Who is Eligible?
According to the Massachusetts Department of Education, you are eligible to take the tests if you are 18 years or older and are not enrolled in high school. You must be a resident of Massachusetts and provide identification. Those who are 16 or 17 years of age can also take the HiSET exam if they can provide an official 'letter of withdrawal' from their last school of attendance on file.
How do I Register and What Does it Cost?
You can create an account online that allows you to register, find a testing site, schedule a test appointment and pay (see www.hiset.ets.org). You can get help by phone, too, at 855-MyHiSET. The cost when paying for the whole battery of tests at the beginning is $100 total ($64 when the first test is scheduled, $9 at the time each additional subject is scheduled). Two retakes per subject are available for another $9 per test within one year of registration. Registering for a single subject will incur a cost of $29 for the first test and $24 for subsequent subject tests (including retakes).
How do I Prepare?
There are a number of ways to prepare for the HiSET, and many of them are free. Options such as videos, an online study companion and a practice test can be accessed 24/7 online, and testing centers and adult education programs can offer further help.