How Long Does It Take to Get Your High School Equivalency Credential?

You can go at your own pace.

The HiSET® exam is about seven hours from start to finish. These seven hours are broken out into five subtests that you can take on different days over a period of time.

How long it will take to complete the entire exam — taking and passing all five subtests and receiving your high school equivalency credential — depends on you. Lots of things can affect how long it takes, including:

  • your level of education
  • how much time you have to study
  • whether or not you pass each subtest on the first attempt
  • how quickly you want to take the test

For some people, it takes a few weeks; for others, a year.

Four simple steps

Here is a quick look at the process.

  1. See if the exam is right for you.
    Get started by seeing if you are eligible to earn a high school equivalency credential in your state. Each state has its own rules. Some require you to be a minimum age or resident of that state, or to take a preparation course before testing. Learn about your state's requirements.
  2. Prepare for the exam.
    There are lots of ways to prepare. If you recently left high school with a good academic record, you may be able to do it on your own through an online study program or with a test prep book. But you don't need to prepare alone if you don't want to. Adult education classes are available — often at no cost — if you need extra help. Find an adult education center near you.
  3. Sign up for the exam.
    You can schedule your appointment by phone, at a test center or through the HiSET exam website depending on where you're testing. You can reschedule appointments if you need to, but you need to check with your test center for specific policies. Depending on your location, you may take the five subtests in any order. You can schedule one or more subtests on one day, or spread them out over several months. Learn more about how you can schedule your appointments.
  4. Get your results.
    You'll get your unofficial computer-delivered scores at your test center when you finish testing (for all except the Language Arts – Writing subtest). Official scoring begins when ETS receives your answer sheets from the test center. Scores are then posted in your HiSET account within three business days for multiple-choice subtests and within five days for the Language Arts – Writing subtest. All scores are also sent automatically to your state. If you passed, either your state or Diploma Sender will send you your credential. More detailed information on scoring and how to understand your scores is available in Scores.