What's the difference between the GED© and HiSET© Exams?  Which one should I take?


Completion of either the GED© or the HiSET© in Massachusetts will earn a state issued High School Credential.  Testers should compare the tests to determine which is the better choice for them.



No matter which test you take,  a high school credential will open up doors for college and many career paths.  (If you are considering the  military, please  check with your recruiter regarding that branch’s specific requirements for high school credentialing, before taking the HiSET© or GED©.) 






2018 GED© and HiSET©Comparison Chart









  Total Cost:







Computer Only




Paper and/or Computer


Testers have the option to select which format they want for each test.


Paper and Computer appointments must be scheduled separately.  

  Number of         Modules: 






  Total Test Time:


7 hours,

5 minutes



7 hours,

5 minutes




Used for 

  Math, Social Studies and Science Tests



Used for Math  and  ScienceTests






 Language Arts Test (Reasoning):


The Extended Response is one of three timed sections. Testers  have 45 minutes to complete their response.   



Score for the Extended Response is calculated into the LA Reasoning score.   







LA/Writing Test.


The Essay is one section of the Writing test.  Testers are allowed to go back and forth between the Essay and the multiple choice section throughout the entire test.  






In addition to passing the LA/Writing test with a minimum score of 8 points, you must pass the Essay portion of the exam with a minimum of 2 points.














For more information about each test, visit the vendor's website:


These sites cover information on: test content, preparation, registration, test appointments, applying for Special Accomodations and more.



When do scores expire?


There is no expiration date of any HiSET test scores, or GED test scores taken since 2017.  Test scores on earlier versions of the GED expired December 31, 2013, and may not be combined with the current version. 




Are there special requirements if I am under 18 years old?


Yes.   If you are 16 or 17 years old, the Department of Education (DESE)  must review the Letter of Withdrawal from the last school you attended, before you can schedule a testing appointment.  Go to  the  Massachusetts DESE website and follow the steps listed there.   


Do I have to take classes in order to take the HiSET or GED test?


No. Classes are not required, but our Learning Center offers free classes to Greater Lowell residents.  Our experienced staff can help students prepare and decide when they are ready to test.



What formats are available for the tests? 


  • For HiSET, we offer both paper and computer based testing.  You can select either option for each subject test.  Paper test and computer test appointments are offered at different times.
  • The GED test is computer based only.



What languages are available for the tests?


At our Test Center, we only offer the tests in English.  




Are Special Accommodations available?


 Yes.  Testers with documented disabilities or health related needs, must apply directly to the test vendor to request special accommodations.  Once approved, the test vendor will work with the testing center to schedule the tests.


When are the testing dates?


See our Testing Schedule for specific dates. 


  • Weekday appointments are long enough to take one subject test.   


  • During testing weekends (Friday night and Saturday), there is enough time to schedule all subject tests for both GED (computer) and HiSET (paper version only).  


What identification can be used for the tests?



Only current, government issued photo ID will be accepted, such as:   



  • Passport
  • Driver’s license from any state
  • State-issued ID card
  • National ID card
  • Military ID card


  *We CAN NOT accept photocopies, ID that has expired,  or ID that does not match the Account name or birthdate.   You must bring your ID to each test session.*



What else do I need know before testing?



  • It is helpful to bring your Test Appointment Confirmation, in case there is a question about your appointment.



  • Our Test Center will supply all necessary testing items, including a handheld calculator.


  • There is limited storage space available.   We recommend that you bring as few personal items as possible. All electronic items will be collected and returned to you when you are finished.



  • Parking information can be found here: PARKING