Pennsylvania HiSET® Requirements

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

See the Pennsylvania Education Department website for more information.

Eligibility Requirements

To take the HiSET exam in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • High School Equivalency Status: You must not be enrolled, nor required to be enrolled, in high school, and you must not have a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma/credential.
  • Age:
    • If you are 18 years of age or older, you may test without any special conditions.
    • If you are 16 or 17 years of age, see below for additional information on age requirements.
    • No one under 16 years of age is eligible.
  • Residency:
    • You must be a resident of Pennsylvania to take the HiSET exam.
    • You must provide documentation of your identity and Pennsylvania residence.
  • Test Preparation or Instruction: You are not required to take HiSET preparation courses before taking the test.
  • Practice Test: You are not required to take a practice test before taking the official exam.
  • Identification: You must provide acceptable proof of identity and Pennsylvania residency in the form of documentation that provides all of the following information:
    • Your name
    • Address
    • Date of birth
    • Signature
    • Current photograph

Get more information about Identification Requirements.

Additional Policies

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

Fees and Payment

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

The fee per subtest is $18 ($10 ETS fee, $8 test center fee). You will receive two retests per subtest; however, you must pay the 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 in person, online or by phone (depending on your selected test center's requirement). However, if you only have cash and your selected test center does not accept your method of payment, you may use 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 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
  • ETS voucher
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) or eCheck.

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.
  • Test Center Fee: You are not eligible for a test center fee refund. These fees are nonrefundable.
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 Pennsylvania. However, both formats may not be 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. See reschedule policies for more information.

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), contact your test center or log in to your online account. 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 we do not encourage taking all five subtests in one day. Your performance on the test may be negatively affected. However, if you would like to, contact your local test center for availability.

If I am not 18 years old, can I schedule an appointment to take the HiSET exam?

Yes. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you can take the HiSET exam. However, before scheduling an appointment, you must have an approved age-waiver application request from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

No one under 16 years old may test.

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 May 2016 for a test date at any time in the future, your reschedule date must be before May 2017.
  • 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.
How many times can I reschedule my testing appointment?

Testing centers allow you to reschedule your testing appointment as often as needed. Please keep in mind, 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. Check with your local testing center for rescheduling options.

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.
  • To cancel your appointment, contact your test center, log in to your HiSET account or call ETS Customer Service at 1-855-MyHiSET (1-855-694-4738), Monday–Saturday, 8 a.m.–8 p.m ET.
  • 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 Pennsylvania retest policies are as follows:

  • You have the opportunity to take the HiSET exam three times during a calendar year.
  • You may only retest after you have received your official scores.

Test Day

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

You will need to bring:

  • Acceptable and valid ID. Make sure your name on your ID appears EXACTLY as it does on your profile you created in your HiSET account.
  • Proof of Pennsylvania residency.
  • Layered clothing that will allow you to adapt to a range of room temperatures.

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 during testing. 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, valid ID and proof of Pennsylvania residency. Standard, acceptable documents include a Pennsylvania driver's license or a Pennsylvania Photo ID.

If you do not have either of these things, acceptable documentation to verify identity and residency can include any combination of the following:

  • A valid U.S. or foreign passport, military ID or other U.S.- or foreign government-issued document that includes a name, current photograph, date of birth and signature
  • A utility bill, signed lease, tax record, voter registration form, bank statement or car registration

If any documentation presented is outdated, does not appear to be an official document or is suspected of being forged, it can be rejected as not meeting the verification of identity and eligibility requirements for testing.

What do I do if I have health-related needs that require an exception to the policies regarding what I can have during the testing session?

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

For more information on accessing your scores, visit 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 questions 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.

Can I combine English and Spanish HiSET scores?

No, English and Spanish scores cannot be combined.

Can I combine HiSET and GED® scores?

HiSET scores cannot be combined with GED scores.

When will I receive my official diploma and transcript?

To obtain your Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma and official transcript based on passing the HiSET exam, you must sign up at DiplomaSender and follow the steps for having the documents sent directly to you. The initial diploma and transcript are free. You may also request additional documents by accessing your account on the DiplomaSender website and by paying the required fee of $15 per document.

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