Illinois HiSET® Requirements

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

See the Illinois Community College Board website for more information.

State Eligibility Requirements

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

  • Age: You must be 17 years of age or older and not required to be enrolled in high school under Illinois state law in order to take the HiSET exam in Illinois. If you are under 18 years of age, you must also meet the following requirements:
    • 17 years old — you must present proof of withdrawal from the last school enrolled in before taking the HiSET exam. If homeschooled, you must provide a signed letter from the person responsible for your homeschooling (e.g., parent, guardian, instructor, etc.) stating that you are no longer in the program and are not currently enrolled in any other secondary school.

      Email your proof of withdrawal to ilhseiccb@iccb.state.il.us or fax it to 1-217-558-6700. When you submit your documentation, you must also provide your ETS Identification Number so that the age-related hold can be removed from your HiSET account. Your ETS ID was provided to you by email when you created your HiSET account and can also be found in the top right corner of your HiSET portal after you log in.

    • 16 years old — you may register for the HiSET exam only if you are currently enrolled in the Illinois National Guard’s Lincoln’s Challenge Program or a qualified Alternative Learning Opportunity Program through your Regional Office of Education.
  • Test Preparation or Instruction: Illinois does not require you to prepare for the HiSET exam in an adult education classroom, but it is recommended.
  • Practice Test: Illinois does not require you to take a practice test before testing.
  • Constitution Test: In Illinois, prior to receiving a high school equivalency certificate, you are required to pass an approved high school-level U.S. Constitution, Illinois Constitution and Flag Test. You may take this exam before or after you take your HiSET exam. To learn more about this requirement, please visit the Illinois Community College Board website. To schedule a testing time, contact your local Regional Office of Education.
  • Identification: You must provide a valid government-issued photo ID. The identification must display your full name (matching the name used for exam registration), address, date of birth, signature and photograph. On the day of your test, if you do not bring a valid government-issued ID, you will not be allowed to test. Individuals not allowed to test for this reason are considered no-shows to the exam, and are not eligible for a refund of fees. Acceptable forms of photo ID include:
    • A valid driver's license
    • A valid State ID
    • A valid passport
    • A military ID
    • Any other form of government-issued ID (national or foreign), including Matricula Consular
  • Residency: You must be a resident of Illinois for 30 days or more prior to taking the HiSET exam. You will be required to show proof of residency at the testing center prior to taking your exam. On the day of your test, if you do not bring valid proof of residency, you will not be allowed to test. Individuals not allowed to test for this reason are considered no-shows to the exam, and are not eligible for a refund of fees. For more information, see acceptable documents to prove residency.

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 Illinois.

Fees, Payment and Refunds

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

The cost is $18 per subtest ($10 ETS fee, $8 test center fee). You will receive two retakes per subtest; however, you must pay the $8 test center fee each time you take a subtest.

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)

To learn more about how you can use one of these payment methods, download the Cash Options for HiSET Test Takers flyer.

Can I pay for my exam with a voucher?

Yes. You can purchase a voucher at your test center. Vouchers come in denominations of $50 or $10, and require a $1.50 processing fee per transaction. When you purchase a voucher, you have up to one year to schedule your exams. You must do so by calling ETS Customer Service at 1-855-MyHISET (1-855-694-4738).

Vouchers are nonrefundable. If you do not appear to your scheduled exam or reschedule by 11:59 p.m. local time the day before your first scheduled appointment, the voucher is considered used. If your test center is unable to administer your exam on the day that you have chosen, you will be offered a free reschedule.

Not all test centers offer vouchers. If you would like to pay by this method, please contact your test center to see if it offers them.

Talk to your test center for more information about how to pay for and use your voucher.

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 Card). You may also use a voucher, if your test center offers them.

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

What is the refund policy?

The refund policy is as follows:

  • Test Fee: 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, provided you did not pay by voucher (as vouchers are nonrefundable).
  • State, Jurisdiction or Test Center Fee: You are not eligible for a test center fee refund. These fees are nonrefundable. Illinois does not charge state or jurisdiction fees.
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, the 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 both computer- and paper-delivered formats in Illinois. However, both formats are not available at every test center. Make sure you verify that the format you prefer is available at your selected test center before scheduling your testing appointment.

If I scheduled a paper-delivered test, can I change my mind and take the test on a computer?

If you need to change the format of your exam, you will need to reschedule your exam. Additionally, both formats are not available at every test center. Make sure you verify that the format you prefer is available at your selected test center before scheduling your testing appointment.

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

If you have a disability or health-related need, 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 at 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.

EXCEPTIONS:

You must contact ETS to schedule your appointment if you:

Can I take the subtests in any order or all in one day?

You may take the subtests in any order. However, please note that testing times are set by the individual test centers, so available testing dates may differ from center to center.

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

Yes, but only if you are currently enrolled in the Illinois National Guard’s Lincoln’s Challenge Program or a qualified Alternative Learning Opportunity Program through your Regional Office of Education.

If you have questions about this requirement, please contact ilhseiccb@iccb.state.il.us or call 1-217-558-5668.
If I am 17 years old, can I schedule an appointment to take the HiSET exam?

Yes, but you must present a withdrawal letter from the last school you were enrolled in before taking the HiSET exam. Email your proof of withdrawal to ilhseiccb@iccb.state.il.usor fax it to 1-217-558-6700.

If you are homeschooled, you must provide a signed letter from the person responsible for your homeschooling (e.g., parent, guardian, instructor, etc.) stating that you are no longer in the program and are not currently enrolled in any other secondary school. Send your letter to ilhseiccb@iccb.state.il.us or fax it to 1-217-558-6700.
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.
  • ETS allows you to reschedule up to two times for no fee. For additional rescheduling you must pay $10 each time you reschedule.
  • 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 Illinois retest policies are as follows:

  • You may test on each subtest three times during a calendar year. Contact your test center for more information.

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 Illinois. 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. On the day of your test, if you do not bring a valid government-issued ID and proof of residency, you will not be allowed to test. Individuals not allowed to test for this reason are considered no-shows to the exam, and are not eligible for a refund of fees.
  • Layered clothing that will allow you to adapt to a range of room temperatures.

You MUST be a resident of Illinois to take the HiSET exam in Illinois. When you arrive at the test center, you will be required 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 documentation do I need to bring on the day of my test?

You must bring acceptable and valid ID. If your primary photo ID has a current Illinois address, you can use it to verify both your identification and your residency. Acceptable forms of photo ID include:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • A valid State ID
  • A valid passport
  • A military ID
  • A learner’s permit
  • Any other form of government-issued ID (national or foreign), including Matricula Consular

However, if your primary photo ID does not have a current Illinois address, you must also provide proof of Illinois residency. The following documents are acceptable as additional documentation to prove Illinois residency if they are 1) in your name and 2) dated at least 30 days prior to the test date.

  • Wage and tax statements (IRS Form W2)
  • Illinois Auto Registration Card
  • Bank Statement
  • Canceled Check
  • Deed/Title, Mortgage, Rental/Lease Agreement
  • Insurance Policy (homeowner's or renter's)
  • Official Mail received from a State, County, City or Federal Government agency such as:
    • Homestead Exemption Receipt
    • Jury Duty Notice
    • Selective Service Card
    • Social Security Annual Statement
    • Social Security Disability Insurance Statement
    • Voter Registration Card
  • Pay Stub or Electronic Deposit Receipt
  • Pension or Retirement Statement
  • Utility Bill (electric, water, refuse, telephone land/cell, cable or gas)
  • Statement of Benefits from the Illinois Department of Employment Security or the Social Security Administration
  • Illinois Property Tax Bill

If you do not bring the appropriate documentation, you will not be allowed to test. If you cannot test for this reason, you are considered a no-show, and you won't be eligible for a refund.

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

If you have health-related needs 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.

Scores

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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