Should You Take the GED® or HiSET?

When it comes to obtaining your high school equivalency credential, there are several different tests a person can take in order to receive their diploma or certificate. Two of these options are the GED® exam and the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET® exam). There is currently a lot of confusion as to if tests such as the HiSET® exam are equal to the GED® test. So, should you take the GED® or HiSET®? Let’s explore the difference between the HiSET® test and the GED® test.

Will taking the HiSET® result in me getting my high school equivalency credential?
Yes, the HiSET® exam has emerged in recent years from Educational Testing Services (ETS) as a competitor to the GED® test. It doesn’t matter if you take the HiSET®, the GED® test, or even another form of the test called the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC). As long as you pass the test you will receive your high school equivalency credential. The only caveat to this is that some states do not recognize the HiSET®, but we will get back to that later.

HiSET® vs GED®
It would be natural to think that since both exams have the same outcome – receiving your high school equivalency credential (if you pass) – that the content of each test would be relatively similar or equivalent. The most recent version of the GED® exam tests four basic subject areas: reasoning through language arts, science, mathematical reasoning, and social studies. The HiSET® is structured to more closely resemble an older version of the GED® exam that featured five different sections for the test taker to complete. The question set-ups and other aspects of the test are essentially the same for each test.

Which test is right for me?
As stated above what tests are valid differ from state to state. Currently, there are twelve states that offer the HiSET®: California, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Wyoming. Be sure to log on to the ETS website and read up on the specific rules and regulations each of these states has in regard to the GED® test and the HiSET®. Also, if you take the HiSET® in Missouri but plan on moving to Colorado where the test is currently not recognized or offered, don’t worry about your equivalency credential becoming null or void. Once you receive your credential it doesn’t matter what state you move to and what test you took to get it – your high school equivalency credential will be valid.

If money is a concern for you, it is important to know that when taking the GED® exam or the HiSET® you have to pay a test fee in order to take it. However, if you fail the GED® exam, depending on what state you are in, when you retake it you may be forced to pay a partial fee to retake it or in some states the fee may be waived completely. For the HiSET after paying the initial fee (which is slightly higher than the fee for the GED® test), you are allowed up to two free retakes if needed.

Do employers or colleges care about which test I take?
No. As stated above, both tests result in you receiving a high school equivalency credential if you pass the exam. Employers and colleges will not look directly at your test scores or even what test you took. They will simply be interested in proof that you did, in fact, take the initiative to obtain your high school equivalency credential.


GED® is a registered trademark of the American Council on Education (ACE) and administered exclusively by GED Testing Service LLC under license. This material is not endorsed or approved by ACE or GED Testing Service.

Share: