How do I earn my High School Credential?
Residents of Massachusetts can earn their High School Equivalency (HSE) Credential by passing the GED or the HiSET exam; or by passing all subject tests from a combination of both exams. This credential is viewed as the equivalent of a high school diploma by virtually all colleges and employers. If a candidate is considering the military, they should check with their recruiter to see if there are specific entrance requirements.
As of February 2023, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides voucher codes for Massachusetts residents testing appointments for both exams. Voucher Codes can be found on this DESE webpage.
What's the difference between the GED and the HiSET? Which test should I take?
- The tests are comparable in terms of difficulty, but there are some differences in format. Massachusetts HSE candidates can now combine passing subject tests from both tests. The GED is only available on the computer. HiSET offers both paper-based and computer-based testing. Testers are encouraged to compare the tests to determine which is the better option for them. A link is provided above to a comparison chart.
Do I have to take classes in order to take the exam?
No, in Massachusetts testers are not required to take classes before high school equivalency testing.
However, for those who would like formal preparation, AAEC offers classes to Greater Lowell residents. In addition to test preparation, our classes include college and career readiness and technology instruction. Graduates are eligible to participate in our annual graduation ceremony and may be eligible for scholarships to help them further their education or vocational training.
Can I take the exam if I am under 18 years old?
- Yes. However, before you can schedule a test appointment, the Department of Education (DESE) must review the Letter of Withdrawal from the last school you attended. Follow the steps listed HERE.
When do scores expire?
Scores for HiSET and GED taken after January 1, 2014, are still valid and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
GED scores from tests taken prior to January 1, 2014, are no longer valid. Candidates must retake those tests.
What identification can be used for the tests?
- Candidates must present a current, government issued, photo ID for each test session.
- Acceptable IDs include: Passport, Driver's license from any state, State issued ID card, National ID and Military ID.
- We CAN NOT accept an expired ID, photocopies or a picture on a phone, or an ID that does not match the Candidate's account name or birthdate.
Are Special Accommodations available?
- Yes. Testers with documented disabilities or health related needs must apply directly to the test vendor to request special accommodations. If approved, the test vendor will work with the testing center and candidate to schedule testing appointments.
What formats and languages are available for the test?
FORMATS: HiSET tests are available on the computer and on paper. Testers have the option to choose which format they would like for each subject test.
Please note that GED is only available on the computer, unless a candidate has been specifically approved for paper-based testing by the Special Accommodations Department at Pearson.
LANGUAGES: The GED and HiSET are both available in Spanish and in English.
What happens if I fail a subject test?
You can retake a subject test.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will provide voucher codes for up to two retakes per subject.
The HiSET test can only be taken for a total of 3 times per calendar year.
After attempting a GED subject test three times, candidates must wait 60 days before they can reschedule again.
Any other helpful tips?
- Remember, you must have a current, government issued ID in order to test!
- We can not accept expired IDs or IDs that don't match your name and/or birthdate, photocopies or pictures on your phone.
- It is helpful to bring your Test Appointment Confirmation, in case there is a problem with your appointment.
- Our Test Center will supply all necessary testing items, including a handheld calculator.
- All phones, electronic devices and wrist watches will be collected during the testing and returned when you have finished testing for the day.
- There is limited storage space available at our Test Center. We recommend that you bring as few personal items as possible.
- Hats and hoods may not be worn during testing, except for religious reasons.
- Candidates must demonstrate that they have nothing in their pockets and allow their eye glasses to be inspected.
- Parking information can be found HERE.