GED vs HiSET: All You Need To Know

The GED (General Education Development) and the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test) are two exams taken by students who want to earn a high school equivalent diploma. Though, at first, they may sound similar, they have very notable differences amongst them.

Here we will see what they are.


In the United States, the GED is the most popular exam and is conducted by a joint venture between the American Council on Education and Pearson, a leading global education company. There are 4 different sections in this. The subjects include language arts, science, social studies and mathematical reasoning. This test is administrated by GED Testing Service LLC under license from the American Council on Education, which is the country’s largest developer of educational assessment systems.

HiSET was created by the ITP (Iowa Testing Programs) and ETS (Educational Testing Service). The HiSET is believed to be the new alternative to the GED. It consists of 5 separate sections, unlike the GED which has 4. If you want to know which one is harder, you should see the test formatting of each subject to know more:

Also, Read – HSPT Vs PSAT: Which One Is Beneficial For You?

Social Studies

The HiSET social studies test is 70 minutes long. It covers history as well as political science. MCQs’ knowledge of test-takers in disciplines such as economics and sociology is also measured.

In GED’s social studies test, the time duration is the same i.e., 70 minutes. It analyzes an individual’s knowledge of civil life and government.


In the case of HiSET, the ability of the test taken to take a scientific approach to problem-solving is measured. This 80-minute test assesses the knowledge of the test taker in scientific concepts.

Unlike the former, the test duration is 90 minutes for GED. Here, the focus is to judge the ability of the student to interpret experiments and scientific data. Besides, it includes other subjects such as earth, physical and life science as well.

Also, Read – SSAT Vs SAT Tests: Which One Is For You!


In HiSET, the duration is 90 minutes and MCQ questions are presented to evaluate the understanding of mathematical concepts. Concepts such as estimation, algebra and arithmetic among others are tested along with data interpretation.

In the case of the GED test, the duration of ‌the test is 115 minutes. The aim here is to judge the quantitative, algebraic knowledge of test takers.

Language Arts

In HiSET, the reading test is 65 minutes long and it analyzes the ability of the test taker to comprehend the written information. The writing test is 120 minutes long which judges the ability to compose an essay and correct the texts presented.

The GED Reasoning through Language Arts test is 150 minutes long. For essay composing segments, 45 minutes are allotted. The rest of the time is utilised in evaluating writing and reading ability.

Also, Read – Key Differences Between ISEE And SSAT

Testing Centre

The testing centres for GED offer the option of a computer version only to take the test. The range of GED is wider when it comes to states accepting scores when giving students a high school equivalency diploma. It is around 40.

Unlike the former, testing centres in the case of HiSET offers both computerised and on paper option. Around 20 states accept HiSET scores when giving students High School Equivalency Diplomas.

Scoring Range

The GED is scored in the range of 100-200 for every subject. For passing each subject, a minimum score of 145 is required. Besides, a score of a minimum of 165 is required in case the test taker wants to have a diploma with a college-ready designation. In order to have a college-ready + credit designation, a score of 175 is required.

HiSET has a scoring range of 1 to 20 with 8 being the minimum passing marks required for each subject. Also, the combined score must be at least 45. The test taker needs to score at least 2 out of 6 in the essay section of the writing test. However, different states may have different passing requirements.


In the case of GED, there is no restriction on the number of attempts to be undertaken in a year. In most states, there is no provision for the waiting period to be served in between reattempts.

In the case of HISET, on failing a subject test, the test taker can appear for 2 retakes within 12 months without a waiting period. So, 3 attempts are allowed in a year.


Costs for both exams are variable. The HiSET is administered by PSI Services, which varies by state. For instance, in the state of Maine, there is no fee for tests by residents. But in the case of North Carolina, ‌test takers are required to pay $10.75 for computer-based sub-sets and in the case of paper-based subsets – $15‌. Total costs are around $55-$95 for all subjects.

The same holds for the GED. Though the average is around $30 for states, it can go as high as $38 in Oregon to as low as $4 in Arkansas. Total costs are around $120 for all subjects.

Both – GED and HISET are great options for those who missed high school due to any reason and want to pursue higher education. On successful completion, the diploma equivalent is awarded to a student who is nationally recognised irrespective of the exam taken. And it opens the gates for students to get a college education along with making our national workforce all the more competitive and intellectually sound.

How Fast Can One Prepare For GED and HiSET?

That completely depends on the level of knowledge a candidate has. No two candidates are in the same situation. So, most of the candidates have different needs for syllabus completion and preparation. That is why, it is prudent that when you look for assistance in preparation, you should look for experts who are not only knowledgeable but experienced in providing individualised assistance. By choosing Crunchgrade, you can be certain of receiving that. Here, we not only provide a comprehensive test series for you to have an idea of your performance in all aspects but, detailed solutions and analysis as well along with expert feedback so that you can thrive in your exams and have a successful academic journey!

In order to know more about our help, you can get on the live chat right now with our executives, they will be happy to help you!

August 9, 2023
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