What are high school equivalency exams?

High school equivalency exams are tests available for people age 16 and older who did not finish high school. Many people who did not finish high school have the same knowledge and skills as those who did graduate. Others can enroll in an adult education program to gain the knowledge and skills they need to pass a high school equivalency exam. By taking and passing one of these exams, adults can demonstrate they have acquired the same level of knowledge as someone who has completed high school. The person then earns a certificate that is accepted as a high school diploma.

There are currently two high school equivalency exams available:

  • GED® Test
  • HiSet® Exam

The GED® Test is only available as a computer-based test.

Learn more about earning your GED as an adult with learning disabilities. 

The HiSet® Exam is available as paper-based OR computer-based tests.

Every state offers one or two of these tests. Contact a local adult education center to find out which test(s) is given in a particular state.

Are high school equivalency exam testing accommodations available for people who have learning disabilities?


Testing accommodations are available for people who have:

  • Learning and other cognitive disabilities;
  • Intellectual disabilities;
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD);
  • Physical and chronic health disabilities; and
  • Psychological and psychiatric disorders.

Accommodations may include but are not limited to:

  • Audio format or reader
  • Braille format
  • Large-print format
  • Calculator or talking calculator
  • Use of a scribe
  • Extended time
  • Supervised extra breaks
  • Private room for testing

How much does it cost to take a high school equivalency exam?

The costs of the tests range from $18 – $150, depending on which test it is and in which state the test is given. In some states, such as California, the local adult education programs set their own fee for giving the test.

Some states may charge additional fees as well, while other states are looking for ways to offset costs for the students. There is usually no cost for taking adult education classes to prepare for taking the test.

Need help asking for testing accommodations?

If you have a disability documented by a qualified professional, ask your local adult education program to help you with the process needed to request accommodations for your disability.

Each request is considered on an individual basis. If accommodations are approved, your local testing facility will help you make arrangements to test with the approved accommodations.

If you think you may have a learning disability, but have never been diagnosed, ask your local adult education program to help you find the right resources and referrals to access an evaluation by a qualified professional.

Learn more about the adult assessment process. 

Adult education programs also have information about testing accommodations that do not require documentation, such as earplugs, one test per day, priority seating, large-print test, straightedge, magnifying device, transparent overlays, highlighter, and the use of graph paper for working math problems.