If you’re reading this, you probably already know what the HiSET is and have decided that taking the HiSET Exam is the correct decision for you. That’s a great first step on the journey to earning your high school equivalency!
As you’re probably aware, the HiSET Exam is not cheap (it can potentially cost as much as $125 after administrative or testing center fees), so you likely will not want to take it multiple times. It’s definitely better to prepare beforehand so you’ll only need to pay that fee once.
That’s why we’re going to cover the following in this article to give you a full overview of the HiSET practice tests:
- What the HiSET Exam is
- Why you should take a practice test
- How this article can help you prepare for the HiSET practice test
- A list of available HiSET practice tests
- How to get the most out of the HiSET practice test
We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get moving!
What Is the HiSET Test?
If you didn’t finish high school but wish to attend college or qualify for a career that requires a high school diploma, the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test) is an exam that proves you are at an equivalent level to a high school graduate.
What about the HiSET vs GED? There are, of course, other High School Equivalency exams (the GED and TASC, for instance), and the HiSET is a newer option. The HiSET may not be as familiar to potential employers, but for all practical purposes, it’s just as good as the GED. Unfortunately, not all states currently offer the HiSET, but you can check here to see if it is available in your area.
The HiSET can be either paper-based or electronic depending on your area, and the exam is broken down into five categories:
- Language Arts – Reading
- Language Arts – Writing
- Social Studies
All sections are multiple choice, with the addition of one essay for the Reading subtest.
Each subtest is also timed. You will have 65 minutes to complete the Reading subtest, 120 minutes to complete Writing, 90 minutes to complete Mathematics, 80 minutes to complete Science, and 70 minutes to complete Social Studies. In most areas, you have the option of either taking them all at once—which would be a 6 hour test!—or individually across multiple dates.
In order to pass the HiSET, you must demonstrate that you have the equivalent abilities of 60% of all high school graduates. So in order to pass the test, you need to earn a minimum of the following on each subtest:
- 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
Luckily, the HiSET’s webpage provides a guide to the information you’re expected to know in order to successfully complete the test.
Why Should I Take a HiSET Practice Test?
Let’s be honest, you want to pass the HiSET the first time. Otherwise, you’ve wasted your time and money.
These practice tests give you a chance not only to take a swing at the real thing before you spend your money, but practice tests also let you see what you need to study the most. Focusing your time studying on the areas where you score the lowest will help you maximize your improvement!
Taking practice tests also gives you a psychological advantage by exposing you to the test questions and format before you actually take it. Taking HiSET practice tests will help you feel more prepared (and less nervous!) on test day, which can be an important factor when it comes to passing the exam. There have been studies that suggest that being anxious while taking a test can lower your overall test scores. Additionally, one of the biggest anxiety-inducing factors when taking a test is not knowing the test’s format or material!
While there is some debate about how much test anxiety can impact your scores, it goes without saying that being calm and prepared can only benefit your performance. By familiarizing yourself with the HiSET taking practice tests, you can help eliminate most of your test anxiety and help raise your score.
(Nick Youngson / The Blue Diamond Gallery)
List of HiSET Practice Tests Available Online
We want you to ace your HiSET exam, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the best HiSET tests out there!
We’ve organized the HiSET practice tests into three categories: paper-based (printable) tests, browser-based (online) tests, and smartphone applications. Everyone has different approaches that they prefer, so we’ve tried to include an approach for everyone.
Also, there are a few other HiSET practice tests online. For this list, though, we wanted to focus on the tests that have questions most similar to those that appear on ETS’s official HiSET practice tests. That way, you’ll be getting the most benefit out of your practice time.
Printable, Paper-Based Practice Tests
You can print these tests out and take them with a pencil and scratch paper, old-school style.
This is an excellent resource: free sample questions and practice tests for every subtest, provided by Educational Testing Services, the creator of the HiSET itself. These are pdf files that you can print out, and they even have blank answer sheets for every subtest, so you can get a feel for how you will record your answers if you choose to take the paper-delivered test.
There is also a study guide with tips and strategies for taking the HiSET, as well as scored writing responses, which will give you an idea of what the scorers are looking for when they score your responses. This is definitely a link you need to click!
The University of Iowa has put together its own printable HiSET pdf. We like this resource because it’s been vetted by a university, which means its a higher quality practice test than some others you might find online. Just keep in mind that this test is from 2013, so you’ll want to make sure you’re supplementing your studies with more recent material, too.
Online, Browser-Based Practice Tests
These practice tests are accessible through any web browser, either on your desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
You’ll have to register for the website in order to access the materials, but EBSCO’s page has the advantage of being modeled on ETS’s official HiSET tests in terms of “content, format, and timing.” Unlike most other practice tests available online, this one is timed just like the live test itself will be. This will also give you a feel for the interface you’ll be using if you choose to use the computer-delivered (as opposed to paper) test.
This is an attractively designed, thorough practice test for each HiSET subtest. It also has a set of essay questions similar to those that appear on the official test.
Mometrix has free practice tests for each subtest. This is really great for people who may need to focus a little harder on certain subjects. Mometrix also has additional resources, like instructional videos and study guides, for purchase.
Test-guide.com’s page is bit ad-heavy, but has multiple practice tests in every subtest category. We also like that this site provides free math quizzes to help you test your knowledge without having to take a complete practice exam!
This great app puts HiSET practice tests right in your pocket.
This is a very cool, free app that can help you study for the high school equivalency test using your smartphone. There are a total of 850 sample questions in all five subtest categories, and you can build custom sample HiSET tests with a focus on the areas in which you most need help.
The Pocketprep app also has detailed explanations for why each correct answer is correct, which can help you learn the material. We also love the notification reminders to help you remember to study and tracks your progress over time, so you can see your past scores and how much you’ve improved.
Should I Pay for HiSET Study Materials?
Most, if not all, of the HiSET practice tests available to you are free, and many are put together by expert educators with experience teaching people how to ace the HiSET exam.
The most important question you need to ask yourself is this: Would those materials be useful to you? Perhaps, but keep in mind that the test itself is going to already cost you as much as $125 dollars—in addition to travel time, study time, childcare, and possibly missing work in order to take the exam.
While paid materials can absolutely help you study effectively and improve your score, you should weigh the cost against the benefit for you personally. Also consider that there may be additional free resources for you in your community. For instance, many cities offer Adult Education programs that provide in-person instruction and tutoring for people taking the HiSET exam at low to no cost. The HiSET page provides an interactive map to help you locate an Adult Education program in your area that can help you learn the material needed to pass the HiSET.
Our 4 Best Tips to Make the Most out of Your HiSET Practice Tests
Now that you have a great list of HiSET practice exams, it’s time to start using them! But before you dive in, check out our list of top tips that will help you get the most out of your practice sessions.
Tip #1: Rinse & Repeat!
The most effective way to utilize practice tests to improve your HiSET scores is to do your own assessment. The goal of an assessment is to figure out where your skills are without studying, then use targeted practice to improve your skills in your weakest subject areas.
To do this, you should take one or two of the free general practice tests before you start studying for the exam. We recommend you time yourself to simulate the actual HiSET testing environment, too. Don’t worry about whether you’re getting “good” HiSET scores or not—the goal here is for you to test (and assess!) your skills.
Once you’ve finished the practice tests, you can use the scores from those to see in which areas you need to spend the most time studying in order to build those specific brain muscles. If you score quite low on one or more subtests, consider getting tutoring or study guide materials to help in those areas.
Once you’ve done some studying, it’s time to take more tests! These tests will show you how much you’re improving, and they may highlight some new areas to work on. Then you just rinse and repeat—keep going until you feel confident that the scores you can achieve on your own will reflect the scores you’ll earn in the actual testing environment.
Tip #2: Begin Early and Keep Going
The key to improving your HiSET performance is to give yourself plenty of time and to practice consistently. How much can expect to improve in a few days or a couple of weeks? Not much, probably. How much can you expect to improve over the course of a few months or perhaps a year? Quite a lot, actually!
Deciding when to start studying has a lot to do with your life and goals. The busier you are, the more effort you’ll have to make to carve out study time in your daily life. Additionally, being super busy means you’ll want to start the studying process earlier than someone who has quite a bit of free time on their hands. Taking a little time to assess your goals, habits, and needs will help you put together a study plan that works for you.
Tip #3: Make Studying a Habit
This tip goes hand-in-hand with our second suggestion. The key to effective studying is that you need to do it consistently to retain the information. It turns out that cramming doesn’t work as well as we’d like it to!
To do this, we recommend you set aside 30 minutes or more every day to practice for the HiSET exam. The best way to do this is to build study time into your daily calendar. Many people choose to study at the same time each day to help solidify the habit. Maybe you get up a little earlier in order to hit the books, or perhaps you have a few extra minutes to study after the kids go to bed. It doesn’t matter when you study as long as you’re studying consistently.
We know it can be hard to add another thing into your schedule. But think of your study time as an investment in your future and a way to get the HiSET scores you need!
Tip #4: Keep a Positive Attitude
Can you pass the HiSET? Of course you can. In fact, most people do! Don’t believe us? Just take a look at the statistics. In 2017, over 55% passed the HiSET on their first attempt and over 76% passed on their best attempt.
That’s right, more people pass the HiSET than fail it, and over three-quarters of those who continue to attempt it do eventually succeed. Now, don’t let this make you think it’s an easy test—it isn’t—but passing the HiSET is an achievable goal, and if you want to pass it, you can!
Next Steps: High School Equivalency Test
If you’re still not sure the HiSET test is for you, you might do some research into the GED instead. Check out this overview of the GED first, then take a look at some GED practice tests. After that, you’ll probably have a better sense of which high school equivalency exam is the best fit for you.
If you’re taking a high school equivalency test to get into college, you’ll also need to start planning to take either the ACT or SAT. These tests are pretty much mandatory if you want to go to a four-year school. Here’s an article that tells you everything you need to know about the SAT (and another one specifically for the ACT).
You’ll also need to submit an application to the colleges of your choice in order to get in. The application process can be intimidating, but don’t worry: we’ve got you covered. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the college application process that will get you started on the right foot. We also have specific tips for choosing a major, writing your application essay, and getting great letters of recommendation.Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.