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Earning Your Diploma With a High School Equivalency Program

high school equivalency program

Hundreds of thousands of Americans take and pass the GED or HiSET exam every year. This is a vital milestone for anyone who did not complete high school but wishes to continue their education.

A lot goes into preparing for these exams. Many people rely on special programs to help them do so. There are many benefits to this, including a better chance of passing.

This article covers the basics of earning a diploma through a high school equivalency program. Keep reading to find out the advantages such programs can afford so you can determine if it is the best option for your career goals.

GED vs. HiSET Exams

There are two different exams that test an individual’s knowledge and aptitude in various subjects. The most commonly known one is the GED. This stands for the “General Educational Development” test.

The other is the “High School Equivalency Test,” or HiSET. In about half of the states, it is offered as an alternative to the GED. If you pass either exam, the state will recognize you as possessing the knowledge and skills that are equivalent to those associated with a high school diploma.

Note that, until only a few years ago, four states (Indiana, New Jersey, New York, and West Virginia) used the TASC exam for high school equivalency testing as well. This stood for “Test Assessing Secondary Completion.” However, its use was discontinued.

Test Structure

There are thousands of testing centers around the country where you can take the GED or HiSET exam. For the HiSET, you often have the option of taking it by computer or as a written exam, while the GED is only offered as a computer test. Many locations also allow you to take it remotely by computer.

The GED has four main sections, while the HiSET has five. Both exams test knowledge of social studies, science, mathematics, and language arts.

The HiSET breaks up language arts into two main sections: reading and writing. The GED language arts section tests both reading and writing as well, but as a single section.

Test Scoring

The GED and HiSET have distinct scoring structures. A passing score for the GED is 145 for each section.

Scoring 165 carries with it a “College Ready” designation. This can be useful for individuals applying to college or a professional program. You can even receive college credit from the GED by scoring 175 or above on any given section.

Each state sets its own passing scores for the HiSET, so they can vary depending on location. In general, students must score at least an 8 on each subsection and have a combined score of at least 45.

Since it is separate (unlike the GED), many states place a minimum on the HiSET’s essay section. This usually ranges between 2 and 4 points.

How to Take the GED or HiSET Exam

Anyone can sign up to take the GED or HiSET at specified locations in your state. There is no prerequisite for registering, and creating an account to do so is free.

In-person tests are usually at adult learning centers, but they are offered at other locations as well. For states that offer the computer-based program, you can take the test from your home or any location with a reliable internet connection. It requires you to have a webcam installed on your computer as well.

Note that there are reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to take the test. You need to submit an “accommodations request” at least 30 days prior to the date on which you wish to take the exam.

Like everything else, the cost of taking the tests varies among locations. The average is about $30, across the board, but fees can be as little as $4 and range up to $38. In a few states, such as Maine, you can take the test for free.

If you do not pass the exam, you can take it again. You can only take the HiSET a total of three times during a calendar year. There is no limit to how many times you can take the GED in a 12-month period.

Benefits of Using a High School Equivalency Program

Many people do not realize that there are special programs to help students pass the GED or HiSET. There are many advantages to these.

First, these programs can advise you on which exam to take based on your career goals. There are advantages and drawbacks to each. So, investigating which one is best for your future allows you to focus on it while ignoring the requirements of the other.

Next, a high school equivalency program will have study guides and strategies for each exam. Reputable programs stay up-to-speed on the format of these exams. They can help you zero in on particular areas, so you can be more confident in what you are likely to encounter on the test.

Likewise, they will be able to offer you strategies for successfully completing each section. This can be especially useful for someone who has the knowledge to pass the exams but has had difficulty with things like time management under pressure.

These programs also usually offer practice exams. This allows you to get a feel for the test setting and layout before you sit down to take the real one.

Finally, these programs often let you couple high school equivalency diploma prep with other training. This allows you to quickly get your diploma and move immediately into the higher ed or vocational training program specific to your career. There is no need to apply to separate programs, simply transition to the existing curriculum.

Find High School Equivalency Exam Prep Near You

Now that you understand how high school equivalency exams work, you can get started preparing for yours. Remember that employing the services of a high school equivalency program can help you optimize your chances of passing, so that you can immediately begin your higher education career program.

Healthcare Career College was founded in Paramount, CA, in 1990. Our goal is to provide a fast and direct path to employment, including for students who do not have a high school diploma. Reach out to us to discuss career opportunities or to enroll today.