North Carolina HiSET® Requirements

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

See the North Carolina Community Colleges Adult Secondary Education page for more information.

State Eligibility Requirements

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

  • Age: Anyone 18 years or older may choose to take the HiSET exam. If you are 16 or 17 years of age, you can take the exam, but you must obtain special approval. Contact your local North Carolina Basic Skills Education program for the appropriate form(s).

  • Residency: You do not have to be a resident of North Carolina to take the HiSET exam.
  • Test Preparation or Instruction: Test preparation or instruction is encouraged but not mandatory.
  • Practice Test: You are not required to take or pass an official practice test to take the HiSET exam.
  • Identification: You must present a valid photo ID on your test day when you arrive at the test center. A valid photo ID includes a government-issued ID or Driver's License, passport, military ID or other form of government-issued (national or foreign) ID that shows name, address, date of birth, signature and photograph. Outdated or expired identification is not accepted. If your license has expired, North Carolina does not accept it as a valid form of ID even when accompanied by the Department of Motor Vehicles renewal certificate.

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 North Carolina.

Fees, Payment and Refunds

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

The price per subtest is $10. You will receive two retests per subtest purchased.

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.

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® Card)
  • 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 can't use a PayPal account to pay over the phone.

What is the refund policy?

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.

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

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 North Carolina. 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?

Yes, as long as the test center offers both formats. However, you must make the change at least three days prior to your originally scheduled test, not including your appointment day or the day of your request. If you scheduled a paper test and would now prefer to take a computer test instead, you must cancel the paper test and schedule a new computer testing appointment. The same is true if you would like to switch from a computer test to a paper test. You cannot show up at the test center on the day of your scheduled appointment expecting to be able to make the change at the test center.

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

Please allow six weeks for processing.

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 two ways:

  • online through your HiSET account
  • 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.

EXCEPTIONS:

You must contact ETS to schedule your appointment if you:

Can I take the subtests in any order?

Yes.

Can I take all five subtests in one day?

Yes, but it is not recommended. Your performance on the test may be negatively affected by taking all of them in one day. Taking the subtests on different days helps you to approach each one feeling rested and prepared.

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

Yes, however you must obtain special approval to take the HiSET exam. Contact your local North Carolina Basic Skills Education program for the appropriate form(s).

If I am 17 years old, can I schedule an appointment to take the HiSET exam?

Yes, however you must obtain special approval to take the HiSET exam. Contact your local North Carolina Basic Skills Education program for the appropriate form(s).

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.
  • You can reschedule each subtest as many times as needed, free of charge.
  • 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.
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 (1-855-694-4738) (toll-free), Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. ET.
What are the retest policies?

The North Carolina retest policies are as follows:

  • You may test on each subtest three times during a calendar year.
  • You may retest at any time you determine you are ready for another attempt. It is highly recommended that you take advantage of additional preparation and instruction provided free at all 58 North Carolina community colleges before scheduling your retest.

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 North Carolina. It must be current (not expired) and must include your signature. Make sure your name on your ID appears EXACTLY as it does on the profile you created in your HiSET account when you scheduled your HiSET exam. You must bring your ID with you to the test center each time you test.
  • Layered clothing that will allow you to adapt to a range of room temperatures.

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

Please note: Cell phones, smartphones (e.g., Android®, 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.

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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