High School Equivalency (HISET)

The state is now covering the cost of Massachusetts residents’ initial GED® and HiSET® tests in each subject, plus two retakes. This means that there is no longer an exam fee for Massachusetts residents. A high school equivalency credential can be the ticket to economic mobility and our prep course will assist you with this goal.

About the HiSet Exam

HiSET stands for High School Equivalency Test. It consists of five subtests: Language Arts - Reading, Language Arts - Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.  Candidates may take subtests in any order. In Massachusetts, to pass the HiSET exam, you must achieve a minimum scaled score of 8 on each of the five individual tests (Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies), and an overall scaled score of at least 45 out of 100. Therefore, you need a minimum score of 8 and an average of 9 for HiSET® (minimum 2 for the essay on HiSET LA Writing). More Information about HiSet here.

Our Short-Term Prep Course

Our short-term prep course prepares students to take the five tests. You may choose the eight week or the 10-weekend prep course. The eight-week course meets for 2.5 hours per session at two sessions per weeknight while the 10-weekend option meets Saturday mornings from 9 am – 1 pm. Choose the one that works best for your schedule. Both options meet virtually, online during regularly scheduled class times and are taught in English. Book cost is separate and may be purchased at the college bookstore.

You need a desktop or laptop with a camera, internet access, and must be comfortable with virtual learning.  Investing time outside of the regularly scheduled class times to study for the HiSet exams is required.  Committing time each day to study will maximize your ability to pass all five sub tests. 

Is This Short-Term Course Right For Me?

The best candidates for this prep course are ones who already possess foundational math skills including addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions, decimals, percentages, basic geometry, measurement, and basic algebra. Basic knowledge in Physical, Life, Earth and Space Science, and the ability to write clearly to communicate your ideas and arguments in English are helpful.

The Reading and Social Sciences sections of the HiSet are both reading tests and require you to be familiar with informational and literary texts.  You need to be able to utilize critical thinking skills to read the text and pick out the information that is being asked of you.  You also need to have basic comprehension and analysis skills in order to do well on both the Reading and Social Science tests.

If you have been out of school for many years, have difficulty learning and/or do not possess basic skills in math, reading, and writing this course will not be a good fit.  However, if you possess the above skills, but have been out of school for many years, you may enroll in this prep course.

HiSet Prep CourseGED-104AE

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. "Book cost is separate. Please follow the instructions below this page https://www.bhcc.edu/ce/testprep/ to buy your book." There is also a separate fee for testing.

SectionDatesDays and TimesInstructorFeeRegister
GED-104AE-FT1Sep 11 - Nov 1
Wednesday, Friday at 6-8:30 p.m.
Dellicia Shorter$325
GED-104AE-FS1Oct 5 - Dec 14
Saturday at 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Lisasa Opuka$325

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 High School Equivalency Testing.

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 testing@bhcc.edu 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.

What scores are needed if I wish to be exempt from placement testing?

If your goal is to apply to BHCC upon earning your Certificate of High School Equivalency, the HiSet scores must be from 2018 or later. Math scores must be less than 3 years old.

Students may be exempt from placement testing based on any of the measures below.

For math placement, BHCC requires a college-ready score of 15. For English, a score of 8 can place students into 095/111; a 15 into 111. See below table.


English & ELL Placement

Math Placement

HiSET Math and English Scores

HiSET Reading Score 8-14: Placement into ENG 095/111

HiSET Reading Score 15-20: Placement into ENG 111

HiSET Math Score 15-20: Placement into MAT 099, 100, 171, 172, 174, 181, and 99/194 cluster

What is my next step after having taken the five tests on the HiSet exam?

After you complete your HiSet subject tests, you will obtain your HiSet test score report. Your score report will be available in your HiSET account 3 to 5 days after each test. You can download the Individual Score Report for one subject or the Comprehensive Score Report with all five subjects.

Download the score report as a PDF or take a screenshot and attach it to an email to your instructor and college officer, Jack Chan, at jchan@bhcc.edu. Your score will not be shared with anyone else except with your instructors and interested college officials. 

Official transcripts and diplomas: Don’t forget to order your diploma! As soon as you pass all of the tests, you must go onto the DiplomaSender website, create an account using your email address and a password, and verify your address. Once this is done, your credential and official score report will be mailed to you. Duplicate credentials will not be issued, additional score reports are available for a fee. Your account will then be available should you need future verification documents for school or work. Your credential and first official score report are free of charge.

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.

What is the Promo Code to have my HiSet tests paid for?

To have your fees covered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you will enter a promo code instead of credit or debit card payment when you register for the test. When scheduling your HiSET® test at an official test center or at home enter a promo code MAHISET during the checkout.

Is the HiSet test offered at Bunker Hill Community College?

You may elect to take the test at the Assessment Center at Bunker Hill Community College (Room B-118) located at the Charlestown main campus.  If you have questions, please email testing@bhcc.edu.

How do I buy the book for the course?

Book cost is separate and may be purchased at the college bookstore. The book title is The Official Guide to the HiSET Exam. 2nd Edition, ISBN Number: 9781259640797.

Please visit: https://www.bkstr.com/bhccstore. Under Shop By Course, click Enter Courses. Select Elevate WFD under Term. In the Department field, select GED. In the Select Course field, choose 104Ae. In the Section field, choose any section. Click the box, "Find Materials for (1) Course". Order your book.  Credit cards accepted are Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, and Discover. 

Or, you may go to the college bookstore located on the 4th floor of the E-Building at the Charlestown main campus. Check their website for hours of operation before you go.  You may call the college bookstore at 617-228-2304 if you have questions.