The GED and the HiSET are both options for students that didn’t complete their high school diploma or went a different route with their education through either private or home schools. No matter what path leads you to taking the GED or the HiSET, it’s important to know the differences between them as the benefits of both can lead you to living a better life.
What Do the Tests Measure?
The goal of both the GED and the HiSET is to measure and determine if you have the skills and knowledge to earn your high school equivalency credit. They’re alternative ways for you to receive the equivalent of a high school degree without having to go through a traditional high school graduation. No matter which test you choose to go with, if you pass, you earn your high school equivalency credential and you count as having graduated from high school.
Where Can You Take the Tests?
The GED is available in almost every state. The states that offer the GED test:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
The HiSET is only offered in 23 states. If you do not live in one of those states, it’s not an option for you. The states that offer the HiSET are:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
If you live in one of the 23 states that offer the GED as well as the HiSET, it’s up to you to pick which one you want to take, as both provide the same benefit.
How Much Does Each Test Cost?
Depending on your state, the cost of each test can change. Make sure to check your local area to find out more about what to expect with your test.
The GED cost can change depending on which area you live. There are some states with reduced costs that mean that you will be paying as low as $4 per subject, but others can cost $30 a subject. Make sure to check your state for pricing and rules.
The HiSET has a base charge for each subtest of $10.75 for computer-delivered tests and $15 for paper-delivered tests. However, this does not take into account any extra test center or administrative fees that may also apply.
What Subjects Are on the HiSET and GED?
Both the GED and HiSET have sections on social studies, science, math, and language arts. The HiSET splits language arts into two sections, one for reading and one for writing, while the GED combines them together.
The GED social studies section also takes 70 minutes but focuses more on civics, government, U.S. history, and geography, and requires you to interpret data provided in data and charts. For the HiSET, the social studies section takes 70 minutes and covers history and political science. This can include economics, sociology, and psychology as well.
The GED test has the same sections of life, earth, and physical sciences in their test, but they are spread out a bit different. Life science is 40%, earth science is 20%, and physical science is 40%.
The HiSET science exam takes 80 minutes and the GED test takes 90 minutes. The HiSET focuses on life sciences (biology) for 50% of its questions, followed by 21% for earth science (geography, astronomy, meteorology), and 29% for physical science (weight, temperature, and some physics).
The GED math section is 115 minutes long. It uses multiple-choice questions and will test you on basic math, geometry, basic algebra, and graphs and functions. Most of the problems are going to be situational and story-based problems where you are given a situation where math is required to solve a problem. You have to determine the problem, solve it, and then answer the question.
The HiSET math section takes 90 minutes and focuses on measurement, estimation, data interpretation (understanding charts and graphs), arithmetic, and algebra.
The GED language arts section is 150 minutes long and covers both reading and writing. This includes reading comprehension, vocabulary, and how to edit and correct mistakes. The final section of the GED language arts test is a written essay, also known as an extended response question.
HiSET splits language arts into two separate sections. The reading section takes 65 minutes and focuses on reading comprehension. This can include fictional stories as well as reports or articles.
The writing section of the HiSET is two hours long. It has some multiple-choice questions that measure your vocabulary and grammar knowledge, and it also includes an essay prompt that you’re only allowed 50 minutes on. A great tool to use when preparing for this section is a 5-paragraph essay. It provides a straightforward structure to follow so that even if you get nervous on the day of the test, you can know what to do next.
Final Verdict: GED or HiSET Test?
At the end of the day, both the HiSET and the GED seek to measure the same material and accomplish the same thing. Either should be acceptable to employers and higher education, and either can benefit you if you don’t have a high school diploma—as long as both are available in your state. With a GED you can do more with your life. In a study conducted by GED Testing Service and the National Student Clearinghouse it was found that 45% of GED grads enrolled in a college certificate or degree in under three years, 35% do so within one year of earning their GED, and 90% of those grads re-enrolled semester after semester. Learn more about the GED and how you can prepare for it, as well as how many doors you open once you pass.