Iowa HiSET® Requirements

The following policies apply to anyone taking the HiSET® exam in the state of Iowa. When you schedule an appointment, you will need to confirm that you have read and understand these policies.

See Iowa's high school equivalency testing program website for more information.

State Eligibility Requirements

To take the HiSET exam in the state of Iowa, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Age: You must be at least 18 years of age to take the HiSET exam without meeting special circumstances. If you are 16-17 years old, you may take the HiSET exam, but with the following conditions:

    If you are 16 years old, you must meet one of the following exceptions to take the HiSET exam:

    • a resident of an Iowa Juvenile Institution (State Training Schools at Eldora and Mitchellville)
    • placed under the supervision of a Juvenile Probation Office

    If you are 17 years old, not a resident of an Iowa state training school or Iowa juvenile home, and not under the supervision of a probation office, you may still take the HiSET exam. However, please note that even if you meet these criteria, and you take and pass the HiSET exam, you will not be able to receive your state-issued high school equivalency diploma until you reach age 18 and your class from 9th grade has graduated.

  • Residency: You do not have to be a resident of Iowa to take the HiSET exam.
  • Test Preparation or Instruction: Iowa requires all test takers to receive instruction in an adult education classroom before taking the HiSET exam. The amount of instruction varies by testing center. You can find an adult education program by visiting Iowa's adult education programs.
  • Practice Test: In Iowa, you must take the official HiSET half-length practice test before taking the official HiSET exam. Official practice test verification is required for admittance to testing and is available through your Adult Education and Literacy program.
  • Identification: You must present identification on test day at the HiSET test center. A valid driver's license, passport, military ID, or other form of government-issued (national or foreign) identification that shows name, address, date of birth, signature and photograph are acceptable forms of identification. Outdated or expired identification will not be accepted. Official practice test verification is also necessary on test day. Also, for candidates 18 years old and under, a drop form or proof of non-enrollment is necessary.

Additional Policies

Make sure you read and understand all of the State Eligibility Requirements above. Below are additional policies for taking the HiSET exam in Iowa.

Fees, Payment and Refunds

How much does it cost to take the HiSET exam in Iowa?

You must pay a $10 ETS fee per subtest. With that fee, you will receive two retests; however, you must pay an additional $15 test center fee per retest.

I only have cash. How can I pay for my HiSET exam?

You must pay for the exam at the time you schedule it online or by phone, so you aren't able to pay with cash. However, if you only have cash, you may use it in one of the following ways:

  • purchase a prepaid PayPal® My Cash Card and fund a PayPal account
  • purchase a VISA®, MasterCard® or American Express® gift card
  • open a free checking account and pay with an electronic check (eCheck)

If you are purchasing a prepaid credit card or gift card, be sure to check the cards before you purchase them for any restrictions that might prevent you from using them in our registration system, such as restrictions against using the card for online purchases. To learn more about how you can use one of these payment methods, download the Cash Options for HiSET Test Takers flyer.

How do I pay for the HiSET exam if I am scheduling through my online account?

If you are scheduling online, you may pay by:

  • debit card or credit card (American Express, Discover®, MasterCard, VISA and JCB)
  • PayPal
  • eCheck
How do I pay for the HiSET exam if I am scheduling my appointment by phone?

If you are scheduling by phone, you may pay by debit card or credit card (American Express, Discover, MasterCard, VISA and JCB).

You can't use a PayPal account to pay over the phone.

What is the refund policy?

The refund policy is as follows:

  • You are eligible for a full refund of your test fee if you cancel at any time up until 11:59 p.m. local time the day before your scheduled appointment.
  • If you are absent or arrive too late to take the test at the test administration scheduled, you are not entitled to a refund. If the missed appointment was made using one of your retake credits, the credit will not be returned to you.
What if something unexpected happens on test day, I don't cancel and I cannot make my scheduled appointment? Can I get a refund?

ETS understands that things happen that are outside your control and has processes in place to evaluate and approve refunds for ETS-collected HiSET test fees. Exception cases are handled and evaluated for refund eligibility on a case-by-case basis. Exception cases refer to:

  • events caused by ETS, test center or tester
  • events beyond the control of all parties (e.g., severe weather, power outages, etc.)

Testing Options

Can I take the HiSET exam on paper or computer?

The HiSET exam is available in a computer-delivered format in Iowa. If you have special needs that require testing in another format, please see the HiSET® Test-taker Bulletin for more information about requesting testing accommodations.

How do I request accommodations so I can be successful on the HiSET exam?

If you have a disability or health-related needs, you need to request accommodations prior to scheduling your test appointment. For more information, see Disability Accommodations.

Where do I send my request for testing accommodations?

Send all completed requests for testing accommodations to:

Mail: ETS Disability Services
P.O. Box 6054
Princeton, NJ 08541-6054

Scheduling an Appointment

How can I schedule/change a testing appointment?

Once you are ready to take the test, you can schedule your testing appointment in one of three ways:

  • online through your HiSET account
  • by contacting your test center
  • by calling ETS Customer Service

To reschedule your appointment, you may call an ETS representative 1-855-MyHiSET (1-855-694-4738) or contact your test center. Read the policies on rescheduling, canceling or retaking the test included on this page.


You must contact ETS to schedule your appointment if you:

Can I take the subtests in any order?

The Mathematics and Language Arts – Writing subtests cannot be scheduled last. You may take the remaining subtests in any order.

Can I take all five subtests in one day?

No. Iowa HiSET exam policy prohibits test takers from taking all five subtests in the same day and requires test takers to pass four of five subtests before qualifying for the fifth test. Passing includes a composite score that would indicate passing the HiSET exam after taking the fifth subtest. The first four subtests must include Writing and Math.

If I am 16 years old, can I schedule an appointment to take the HiSET exam?

In Iowa, you can be 16 years old and take the HiSET exam if you meet one of the following exceptions:

  • a resident of an Iowa Juvenile Institution (State Training Schools at Eldora and Mitchellville or the Iowa Juvenile Home at Toledo)
  • placed Under the Supervision of a Juvenile Probation Office
  • participating in the Job Corps program
If I am 17 years old, can I schedule an appointment to take the HiSET exam?

If you are 17 years old, not a resident of an Iowa state training school or Iowa juvenile home, and not under the supervision of a probation office, you may take the HiSET test. However, please note that even if you meet these criteria, and you take and pass the HiSET exam, you will not be able to receive your state-issued high school equivalency diploma until you reach age 18 and your class from 9th grade has graduated.

What can I do through my online account?

Once you have created an account, you can:

  • update your account information (address, phone, email)
  • schedule, reschedule or cancel a testing appointment
  • view your approved accommodations (if applicable)
  • view and print your Comprehensive Score Report and Individual Test Reports
What are the reschedule policies?
  • To avoid forfeiting your test fee, you must reschedule your appointment any time up until 11:59 p.m. local time the day before your scheduled appointment.
  • You have 12 months from the day you schedule your appointment to reschedule. For example, if you schedule in November 2015 for a test date at any time in the future, your reschedule date must be before November 2016.
  • Testing fees and registrations are not interchangeable between paper-delivered and computer-delivered tests. For instance, if you scheduled a paper test and need to take a computer test instead, you must cancel the paper test and schedule a new computer testing appointment.
How many times can I reschedule my testing appointment?

You may be able to reschedule your testing appointment as often as needed. However, it is better to be sure you are prepared to take the test and available on the testing date, so that it is not necessary for you to reschedule. ETS allows you to reschedule up to two times for no fee. For additional rescheduling you must pay $10 each time you reschedule.

What are the cancellation policies?
  • You can cancel your appointment at any time. However, depending on when you cancel, you may forfeit your HiSET fee. See refund policies information above.
  • You can contact your test center to cancel your appointment. You can also do it online through your HiSET account or by calling ETS Customer Service at 1-855-MyHiSET (1-855-694-4738).
  • If you have a disability or health-related need and you require testing accommodations, you must call ETS to cancel your appointment at 1-855-802-2748 (toll-free), Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. ET.
What are the retest policies?

The Iowa retest policies are as follows:

  • You may test on each subtest three times during a calendar year. Contact your test center for more information.
  • You either must wait three months or complete instruction in the area or areas to be retested as certified by an instructor in the local program. Once this information has been verified, the authorization to retest is granted at the local level. Find an adult education program.

Test Day

What do I need to bring on the day of my test?

You will need to bring:

  • Acceptable and valid ID as required by Iowa. Make sure your name on your ID appears EXACTLY as it does on your profile you created in your HiSET account when you scheduled your HiSET exam.
  • Layered clothing that will allow you to adapt to a range of room temperatures.

You do not need to be a resident of Iowa to take the HiSET exam in Iowa so you do not need to provide proof of residency.

Please note: Cell phones, smartphones (e.g., BlackBerry® or iPhone® devices, etc.), PDAs and/or any other electronic, photographic, scanning, recording or listening devices are not permitted at the test center at all. See What to Bring for a list of additional items not permitted in the testing session.

What do I do if I have health-related needs that require an exception to the Test Center policies?

If you have a health-related need requiring you to bring equipment, beverages or snacks into the testing room or to take extra or extended breaks, you need to request accommodations in advance. Procedures for requesting accommodations are described in Disability Accommodations.


How do I know if I’ve passed the HiSET exam?

Each of the five subtests in the HiSET exam is scored on a scale of 1–20. In order to pass you must do all three of the following:

  • Achieve a score of at least 8 on each of the five individual subtests
  • Score at least 2 out of 6 on the essay portion of the writing test
  • Have a total combined score on all five subtests of at least 45

Some states may set passing scores that are higher, but under no circumstances can you pass with a total score lower than 45 on the exam.

What does my individual test scoring report tell me?

For each individual test scoring report, it indicates:

  • your score, the total possible score and whether you passed
  • the minimum score required to pass
  • the percentage of items you answered correctly
  • your college- and career-readiness score
What does passing mean?

Candidates who have received a passing score on the HiSET exam have demonstrated a level of performance that exceeds the minimum level of performance typically required to graduate from high school.

How should I interpret my score?

If the HiSET exam were to be administered to a random sample of high school seniors, it is estimated that approximately 60 percent would pass on the first attempt. If you receive a score of 45 or higher we estimate that you would be in approximately the top 40 percent of graduating high school seniors nationally.

How are passing rates determined?

A score equivalency table was established between the HiSET exam and a nationally administered high school equivalency examination. Passing rates (60 percent) were chosen so as to be roughly equivalent to those on the nationally administered examination.

Did I demonstrate college and career readiness?

Your individual test score report also indicates whether or not you have achieved the score required to demonstrate college and career readiness — with at least 15 out of 20 on any of the subtests. For the Language Arts – Writing test, you must score at least a total score of 15 with a 4 on the essay.

What does college and career readiness mean?

Students who have scored at the college- and career-readiness level have shown a level of performance similar to the minimum level required to succeed in college-level credit-bearing courses.

What information is provided so I can try to improve my score on the HiSET exam?

On the HiSET subtests, questions are grouped into content categories. To help you in future study or in preparing to retake the test, your individual test score report shows the percentage of items answered correctly in each content category. This information might suggest areas where it would be worthwhile to concentrate your efforts.

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