Tips and Strategies for Getting Ready for the HiSET® Exam

How you prepare for the HiSET® exam depends on you — how much time you want to spend and how you like to study for exams. But, before you take the HiSET exam, there are some things you need to know:

  • what to expect during the entire process, like how to create an account, schedule your appointments and get your scores
  • what topics the subtests cover and what types of questions you'll see — multiple choice, essay or both
  • the amount of time you'll have to take each subtest
  • what identification you'll need to show at the test center to be allowed to test

Below are some helpful tips and strategies to help you do your best on the HiSET exam.

Approach the test for success.

  1. Learn what the test covers.
    See Test Content to learn more about what's on the test.
  2. Figure out how well you know the content.
    The longer it's been since you were in school, the more preparation you'll probably need.
  3. Plan your study time.
    Give yourself plenty of time to study so you don't have to "cram" new material right before your appointment. Here are a few tips:
    • Choose a test date far enough in the future to leave you plenty of time to prepare.
    • Set a realistic study schedule and stick to it!

Use smart test-taking strategies.

Multiple-choice questions

All of the subtests contain multiple-choice questions.

When taking the computer-delivered HiSET exam, you can:

  • skip questions and come back to them
  • view a complete list of all the questions in the section
  • see if you've missed any questions
  • review questions and change your answers

Essay questions

Only the Language Arts – Writing subtest has an essay question.

While you work on your essay, remember to budget your time. You need to allow yourself enough time to think about the question, plan your response and write the essay.

Save a few minutes at the end of the essay part of your exam to check for obvious errors. Although an occasional typographical, spelling or grammatical error will not affect your score, severe and persistent errors will weaken the overall effectiveness of your writing and lower your score.


You'll have a calculator for the Mathematics subtest. If you're taking the paper-delivered test, your test center will give you a handheld calculator. If you're taking the computer-delivered test, it will be on-screen. Please note the subtest does not require a calculator; however, the decision for the type of calculator used is up to your state.

Scratch paper

You'll receive scratch paper before the exam starts. You can ask the test administrator for more scratch paper if you need it. You can only have up to three sheets at a time, so the test administrator will collect your used scratch paper before giving you more. At the end of the test session, the test administrator will collect your scratch paper. You can't take it with you.


You'll get breaks between subtests if you're taking more than one in one day.

Unscheduled breaks are usually not allowed. If you have to take a break, you'll need to get permission from the test center staff. Please be advised that the clock will not be stopped. It will continue throughout your break, and you won't get any additional time.