High School Equivalency (HISET)
HiSET stands for High School Equivalency Test. This exam has five test sections. To prepare for the Massachusetts Department of Education’s HiSET, students will take practice tests and develop individualized study plans. Beginning with diagnostic testing, instruction focuses on writing, reading, math, science and social studies. A passing score on the HiSet exam means you will earn a nationally-recognized diploma equivalent.
Book cost is separate and may be purchased at the college bookstore. Please follow the book ordering instructions found below this page. Exam fee is not included.
Book Ordering Instructions
For information about ordering your textbook, please refer to the Instructions to find and purchase your book from the college bookstore section on https://www.bhcc.edu/workforce/bookpurchase/
HiSet Preparation Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between HiSet and GED?
The HiSET has five test sections and the GED has four. Both test individuals on their knowledge of math, science, social studies and language arts. However, the HiSET has five subtests (one each for reading and writing), while the GED uses four subtests. The GED combines reading and writing into a single literacy test. The HiSET high school equivalency credential is equal to a GED credential and high school diploma.
Additionally, testing centers for the GED only offer a computer version of the test, whereas the HiSET has a paper and a computer option. For a detailed breakdown between the two exams, please visit: https://www.bhcc.edu/assessment/highschoolequivalencytestinghisetandged/
How long is the HiSet prep course?
The HiSet Prep course is 40 hours in duration and can be completed in 8-10 weeks. This does not account for self-study hours that one must regularly put in to ensure adequate preparation.
Is The HiSet Prep Course Right for Me?
If you are looking to find a short-term HiSet Prep course, you should register for the GED-104AE offered through Community Education at BHCC.
This 8-10 week, instructor-led course, is for students who plan on taking the HiSet Exam in English. Students who are self-motivated to succeed and who do not have any issues with communicating in the English language would find the GED-104AE course to be the best fit.
How do I register for the HiSet exam?
Registration for HiSET needs to be done through the HiSET website, whether you are taking the test at a test center or at home. All the information and instructions on at-home testing may be found here: https://www.ets.org/s/cv/hiset/at-home/
Who Can Take a High School Equivalency Exam?
High school equivalency (HSE) exams are for out-of-school youth and adults without a high school diploma.
HSE exams have eligibility requirements. Like taking a driving test, you must meet these eligibility requirements before you can test. Requirements are determined by each state and usually involve:
- Age: You must be 18 years or older to be eligible to take the HiSET exam in Massachusetts with no qualifications. If you are 16 or 17, you can take the exam, but there are additional requirements you need to follow. Please click on the link below to get started.
- School Enrollment Status: You must NOT be enrolled in any secondary school program and must not have received a high school diploma or high school equivalency credential in the United States. If you have a non-U.S. high school credential that does not meet U.S. high school standards, or it cannot be verified, you may take the HiSet exam in Massachusetts.
- Residency: You must be a resident of Massachusetts, living at a Massachusetts address. You will be required to sign an eligibility form verifying your address. The eligibility form will be provided to you by the test center on your test day.
- Test Preparation or Instruction: instruction is encouraged before testing. The Community Education at Bunker Hill Community College offers an 8-10 week HiSet exam prep course.
- Practice Test: Massachusetts does not require you to take practice tests prior to taking the HiSET exam.
- Identification: You must present proper identification at the Assessment Center at Bunker Hill Community College for each test session. For assistance, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-228-2377.
Outdated or expired identification will not be accepted. Failure to provide documentation will prohibit you from taking the exam. The approved identification documents include:
- valid passport
- valid driver's license from any state
- state-issued ID card
- national ID card
- military ID card
Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to take the HiSET exam?
No. U.S. citizenship is not a requirement to take the HiSET exam in any state or jurisdiction. However, you must have a Massachusetts address to take the HiSet exam in Massachusetts.
Can I take the HiSET exam on paper or computer?
The HiSET exam is available in both computer- and paper-delivered formats in Massachusetts. However, both formats are not available at every test center. You must verify that the preferred format is available at the selected test center before scheduling your testing appointment. The Assessment Center at Bunker Hill Community College only offers the computer-based test.
If I scheduled a paper-delivered test, can I change my mind and take the test on a computer?
Yes, as long as the change is made at least three days prior to the originally scheduled test and the format is available at the test center.
Can I take part of the exam in English and part of the exam in Spanish?
No, you must take all subtests in one language or the other.
Can I take the subtests in any order?
Yes, you may take the test in any order.
Can I take all five subtests in one day?
Yes, if the scheduling allows for it.
If I am 16 or 17 years old, can I schedule an appointment to take the HiSET exam?
Note: If you are 16 or 17, you cannot schedule your HiSET exam until the Massachusetts High School Equivalency Office approves an official Letter of Withdrawal from the last school you attended.
Before submitting the letter, first create a HiSET account. Once you have created your account, submit your Letter of Withdrawal. Make sure it meets these criteria:
- is on school letterhead, including the address and phone number
- includes your last date of attendance and your date of withdrawal
- comes from the office of the Principal/Headmaster or the Head of Guidance
- is signed by the Principal/Headmaster or the Head of Guidance
When you submit your letter, be sure to provide your ETS ID number (emailed to you after you create your HiSET account), your phone number and your email address. Email this information along with your letter in a PDF File to HSET@doe.mass.edu.
Note: No faxed letters will be accepted. Please allow seven days for U.S. mail to reach us.
The HSE Office will contact you by email within three business days of the receipt of your document and required ETS ID number. Once you receive email approval of your Letter of Withdrawal, you can log into your HiSET account and schedule your HiSET exam.