HiSET- What's On The High School Equivalency Test

June 19, 2019 0 Comments

Any person applying for post-secondary educational program or for employment opportunities understands the importance of a high school diploma. However, many candidates do not hold one for a variety of reasons. Although no test or certificate can stand in for a traditional education, taking a high school equivalency test is the first step in opening up doors for a brighter future.

The HiSET exam is a state-issued high school equivalency certificate issued to adults not withholding a standard high school diploma. As indicated by the official test site, it is important to verify your eligibility and the state requirements as an individual test taker. Once you have verified that the HiSET is the test for you, you’ll need to dive deeper into the subject matter you’ll be tested on.

The HiSET will test students on four main subject areas that are critical for high school students: language, math, science, and social studies. All subject areas will be formatted with multiple-choice questions. Only one exception stands to the language arts writing specific section which will have multiple choice questions along with one essay prompt.

Each subject area is designed to test a student’s ability on knowledge and understanding for the material and other associated documents. For example, the language arts reading section will contain readings with approximately 400-600 words. Other sections may incorporate reading passages as well, along with graphs, tables, charts, diagrams, posters, and selected material relevant to the subject. Incorporation of such sources are meant to enhance the test to draw out the student’s abilities. The use of such material is not meant to distract or confuse a student, as all selected sources will have been selected for evaluation of high school level adequacy. Students may use a calculator on the math section.

An outline of the HiSET exam may be referenced below.




Question Count

Language Arts: Reading

Comprehension, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of literary texts & informational texts

65 minutes
(80 minutes for Spanish ESL students)

50 multiple choice

Language Arts: Writing

Organization of ideas, language facility, and writing conventions

120 minutes

60 multiple choice

1 essay


Numbers and operations; measurements and geometry; data analysis, probability and statistics; algebraic concepts

90 minutes

55 multiple choice


Life science; physical science; earth science

80 minutes

60 multiple choice

Social Studies

History; civics and government; economics; geography

70 minutes

60 multiple choice

To assist with your goals, Smart Edition Media has created a study guide that provides essential lesson material as seen on the HiSET. Complete with lesson quizzes and simulated exams, the guide will give hands-on practice for any student. Each guidebook provides access to convenient online resources and exams for extra educational diagnostics.

Click here to view the study guide or view additional information at the official HiSET site.