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HiSET Testing

Congratulations on taking this important step towards pursuing your High School Equivalency/Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma (CSSD). The CSSD may be achieved by passing the GED test or the HiSET exam, or by completing the 30 College Credit option. To better understand the CSSD, please visit the PA Department of Education website here.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the HiSET test:.

How do I register for the HiSET test?

In order to take the test, you must register online using the HiSET portal at https://hiset.org/. You will be prompted to create an account, and then you can schedule a test. There is also information about studying, scoring, what to expect on testing day, and more.

HiSET testing is not currently available in Lebanon County. Please check back for updates.

How do I obtain a transcript if I earned my GED or HiSET in the past?

In an effort to enhance services for individuals who receive the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma, the Pennsylvania Department of Education is transferring all of its diploma and transcript processing services to DiplomaSender.

Effective October, 1, 2016, all Pennsylvania high school equivalency diplomas and transcripts for the GED test, HiSET exam, as well as those awarded through the 30 College Credit Option, will be handled by DiplomaSender.


Am I eligible to earn a HiSET?

The HiSET is for adults who have not earned a high school diploma. Individuals who are currently enrolled in high school or have a high school diploma are not eligible to take the HiSET test. The minimum age for testing is 18 years (unless certain requirements are met).

Can I take the HiSET test if I’m under 18?

In Pennsylvania, you can be 16 or 17 and take the HiSET® test if you meet the following exception:

  • 16 or 17 years of age must provide a written request for HiSET® testing from an employer, college admissions office, military recruiting officer, or director of a state institution.
  • 16 or 17 years of age must provide a written statement from your school superintendent or principal saying that you are withdrawn from school.

Learn more here.

What is the HiSET test like?





Language Arts – Reading

65 minutes

Multiple-choice questions

  • This section measures your ability to understand, interpret and analyze a broad range of literary and informational texts.

  • The selected texts range in length from approximately 400 to 600 words.

Language Arts – Writing

120 minutes

Multiple-choice questions and an essay prompt

  • This section measures your skill in recognizing and producing standard American English and is in two parts.

  • The multiple-choice section measures your ability to edit and revise written text.

  • The essay measures your ability to generate and organize ideas in writing.


90 minutes

Multiple-choice questions

  • This section measures mathematical knowledge and competencies.

  • Questions are presented as practical problems and are solved by numerical operations, measurement, estimation, data interpretation and logical thinking.

  • Some questions test abstract concepts such as algebraic patterns and probability.

  • You may use a calculator for this section.


80 minutes

Multiple-choice questions

  • This section measures your ability to use science content knowledge, apply principles of scientific inquiry, and interpret and evaluate scientific information.

  • Graphs, tables and charts are used to present information and results.

Social Studies

70 minutes

Multiple-choice questions

  • This section measures your ability to analyze and evaluate information from a variety of content areas such as history, political science, psychology, sociology, anthropology, geography and economics.

  • Primary documents, posters, cartoons, timelines, maps, graphs, tables, charts and reading passages are used in questions.

To pass the HiSET exam, you need to:

  • Score at least 8 out of 20 on each of the five subtests
  • Score at least 2 out of 6 on the essay
  • Achieve a total scaled score on all five HiSET subtests of at least 45 out of 100

The HiSET pass score is based on a national study of high school juniors and seniors, and indicates that 60 percent of graduating high school students would pass the HiSET exam.

Your score reports show whether or not you passed.

Can I retake the test if I don’t pass?

If you do not meet the minimum HiSET score requirements, you can take it again. You can only take a subtest up to three times in a calendar year, so we encourage you to study before scheduling your next appointment.

There are no additional PSI test fees if you retake the subtest within 12 months of the date you purchased it. However, local test center fees may apply. If you want to retake a test after the 12-month period, you’ll have to pay the PSI test fee, plus any state or test center fees.

Each state or jurisdiction has its own policies for retaking a test. For example, some have a waiting period before you can retest or additional test center fees that may apply.

Can I take the HiSET test in another language?

The HiSET test is offered in two languages – English and Spanish.

What classes are available to help me prepare for the HiSET test?

HiSET Preparation is available to adults in Lancaster and Lebanon counties who are at least 18 years of age and not currently enrolled in a public school. Morning, evening, and online classes are available to adults who lack a high school diploma or who simply want to improve their basic skills in reading and/or math. Classes are available through IU13 and the Literacy Council of Lancaster Lebanon.  Register for free classes here.

Do I have to take a class in order to take the HiSET test?

No, however, our classes will help you prepare for the test.  Register for free classes here.

Where can I find more information about the HiSET?

More information about the HiSET can be found at: https://hiset.org/test-takers-downloadable-resources/

Do I have to pay to take a practice test? Also, will practice tests be available only online?

Information about free practice tests can be found at: https://hiset.org/test-takers-downloadable-resources/

Will I still be able to take one test at a time on different dates?

Yes. Test-takers can test on what they want, when they want, and where they want.

What is the price breakdown per test?

Please visit https://test-takers.psiexams.com/hisetpennsylvania for current information.

For more information, please call 717-606-1708 or submit your question here.

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