Massachusetts HiSET® Exam Requirements
The following policies apply to anyone taking the HiSET® exam in the state of Massachusetts. When you schedule an appointment, you will need to confirm that you have read and understand these policies.
See the Massachusetts high school equivalency testing program website for more information.
State Eligibility Requirements
To take the HiSET exam in the state of Massachusetts, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
Age: You must be 18 years or older to be eligible to take the HiSET exam in Massachusetts with no qualifications. If you are 16 or 17, you can take the exam, but there are additional requirements you need to follow. Please click on the link below to get started.
I am 16 or 17 and I want to take the HiSET exam.
Information is also available on the state website.
- School Enrollment Status: You must NOT be enrolled in any secondary school program and must not have received a high school diploma or high school equivalency credential.
- Residency: You must be a resident of Massachusetts, living at a Massachusetts address. You will be required to sign an eligibility form verifying your address. The eligibility form will be provided to you by the test center on your test day.
- Test Preparation or Instruction: Massachusetts does not have any test preparation or instruction requirements to take the HiSET exam. However, instruction is encouraged before testing. Find an Adult Education Program near you.
- Practice Test: Massachusetts does not require you to take practice tests prior to taking the HiSET exam.
- Identification: You must present proper identification at the test center for each test session. Outdated or expired identification will not be accepted. Failure to provide documentation will prohibit you from taking the exam. The approved identification documents include:
- valid passport
- valid driver's license from any state
- state-issued ID card
- national ID card
- military ID card
Make sure you read and understand all of the State Eligibility Requirements above. Below are additional policies for taking the HiSET exam in Massachusetts.
Fees, Payment and Refunds
- How much does it cost to take the HiSET exam in Massachusetts?
- Individual subtest costs are as follows:
- Computer-delivered tests: $19.75 per subtest.
- Paper-delivered tests: $24 per subtest.
- A $5 state administration fee will be charged when you register for your first subtest. This is an annual fee and will be collected once every 12 months.
- You are encouraged to schedule all five tests at the time of registration; however, you have the option to schedule from one to five tests at one time.
- You will receive two retests per subtest; however, you must pay the $9 test center fee each time you take a subtest.
- You can take up to two retests per subtest within one year of purchasing it.
Please log in to your HiSET account for more information.
- Individual subtest costs are as follows:
- 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:
- use PayPal Cash® to fund a PayPal account
- purchase a VISA®, MasterCard® or American Express® gift card
If you are purchasing a prepaid credit card or gift card, be sure to check the cards before you purchase them for any restrictions that might prevent you from using them in our registration system, such as restrictions against using the card for online purchases. 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)
- 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).
You can't use a PayPal account to pay over the phone.
Note: A $10 fee will be applied when registering by 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.
- State, Jurisdiction or Test Center Fee: You are not eligible for a state, jurisdiction or test center fee refund. These fees are nonrefundable.
- If you are absent or arrive too late to take the test at the test administration scheduled, you are not entitled to a refund. If the missed appointment was made using one of your retake credits, the credit will not be returned to you.
- 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.)
- Can I take the HiSET exam on paper or computer?
The HiSET exam is available in both computer- and paper-delivered formats in Massachusetts. However, both formats are not available at every test center. You must verify that the preferred format is available at the selected test center before scheduling your testing appointment. If you have special needs that require one format or the other, please see the HiSET® Test-taker Bulletin, for more information about requesting testing accommodations.
- Will Massachusetts be honoring incomplete GED® scores?
- If I scheduled a paper-delivered test, can I change my mind and take the test on a computer?
Yes, as long as the change is made at least three days prior to the originally scheduled test and the format is available at the test center.
- If I started testing in paper-delivered format, can I switch or retake my remaining subtests in computer-delivered format?
You can switch test formats for your remaining subtests; however, retake credits may only be used for the same format as the original test.
- Can I take part of the exam in English and part of the exam in Spanish?
No, you must take all subtests in one language or the other.
- Do all test centers offer Spanish testing?
No, only those test centers with an SP designate on the Test Center List will have Spanish-speaking personnel available. Please check the list on the state website before you register for the test.
- 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 08541-6054Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scheduling an Appointment
- How can I schedule/change a testing appointment?
Once you are ready to take the test, you can schedule or reschedule a testing appointment in one of two ways:
- online through your HiSET account
- by calling ETS Customer Service
Before rescheduling, canceling or retaking the test, be sure to read the policies included on this page.
You must contact ETS to schedule the appointment if you:
- Have a disability or health-related need and require accommodation. Contact ETS Disability Services.
- Can I take the subtests in any order?
Yes, you may take the test in any order.
- Can I take all five subtests in one day?
Yes, if the scheduling allows for it.
- If I am 16 or 17 years old, can I schedule an appointment to take the HiSET exam?
Note: If you are 16 or 17, you cannot schedule your HiSET exam until the Massachusetts High School Equivalency Office approves an official Letter of Withdrawal from the last school you attended.
Before submitting the letter, first create a HiSET account. Once you have created your account, submit your Letter of Withdrawal. Make sure it meets these criteria:
- is on school letterhead, including the address and phone number
- includes your last date of attendance and your date of withdrawal
- comes from the office of the Principal/Headmaster or the Head of Guidance
- is signed by the Principal/Headmaster or the Head of Guidance
When you submit your letter, be sure to provide your ETS ID number (emailed to you after you create your HiSET account), your phone number and your email address. Email this information along with your letter in a PDF File to HSET@doe.mass.edu.
Note: No faxed letters will be accepted. Please allow seven days for U.S. mail to reach us.
The HSE Office will contact you by email within three business days of the receipt of your document and required ETS ID number. Once you receive email approval of your Letter of Withdrawal, you can log into your HiSET account and schedule your HiSET exam.
- What can I do through my online account?
Once you have created an online 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 is the reschedule policy?
- 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.
- 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?
While you are able to reschedule your testing appointment as often as needed, 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.
- 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 cancel your appointment 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?
Massachusetts encourages examinees to complete all five subtests before retesting on any one. If after completing all five subtests you have not met the scoring requirements for earning a Massachusetts High School Equivalency Credential, you may retest in accordance with the following guidelines:
- If one or more of your subtest scores is below 8, you must retest* on those subtests until your scores on all five subtests are 8 or above.
- If you have achieved a score of at least 8 on all five subtests but still need more points to achieve the passing score of 45, you may retest* on any of the subtests you choose and in any order.
- Retake credits may only be used for the same test format as the original test.
*You may take each subtest only three times during any one calendar year, January 1 through December 31.
For more details on the scoring of the HiSET exam, see the "Scores" section below.
Note: If a college or university requires higher HiSET scores that you have earned, you may retest even if you have earned the Massachusetts High School Equivalency Credential. To do so, you must produce an official letter from the college or university requiring you to retest.
- What do I need to bring on the day of my test?
You will need to bring:
- Acceptable and valid ID as required by Massachusetts. 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. There are no exceptions.
- Layered clothing that will allow you to adapt to a range of room temperatures.
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. 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.
- 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
- What does my individual test scoring report tell me?
Each individual test scoring report 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.
- How do I challenge my scores?
If you feel your HiSET scores were reported incorrectly or do not accurately reflect your performance, you can have them reviewed for a fee. The following score review services are available:
Constructed-response (Essay) Scoring Review — $25 per essay
A trained scorer will review your essay and original score received to determine whether it is consistent with HiSET Language Arts Writing test scoring rules. If there is a change in your score, the new score (which may be higher or lower than your originally reported score) will be reported to you and your state or jurisdiction, and your score review fee will be refunded. Your essay is not available for disclosure. Please note that each essay will be reviewed only once. This service is available for both computer- and paper-delivered tests.
Multiple-choice Scoring Review — $25 per test
Paper-delivered Tests — Multiple-choice responses will be hand scored by our trained Resolutions team. If there is a change in your score, the score will be reported to you and your state or jurisdiction, and your score review fee will be refunded. Your test responses are not available for disclosure. Please note that each test will be reviewed only once.
Computer-delivered Tests — Computer-delivered tests will not be reviewed because those answers are scored once at the test center, then transmitted to ETS where they are verified before being reported.
To request either of the services listed above, please call ETS Customer Service at 1-855-MyHiSET (1-855-694-4738).
Your Massachusetts High School Equivalency Credential
- How and when will I receive my official high school credential?
Your credential is sent to you by Diploma Sender. Note: You must sign up at Diploma Sender's website to receive your official high school equivalency documents.
Once you sign up and verify your address, and Diploma Sender receives your score, your documents will be mailed within 24 hours. Your initial credential and first official transcript are free. Any additional documents are available for a fee. Please contact Diploma Sender with questions.