All About the GED: Tennessee

The General Educational Development test (GED) is a four-part exam for adults who don't have a high school diploma and want to earn an equivalent credential. The HiSET is another exam option to earn Tennessee's High School Equivalency diploma.

Earn Your GED or HiSET in Tennessee

Am I Eligible?

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Work Force Development ( allows you to take the GED exam or the HiSET exam if you're at least 18 years old. You cannot already have a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate. Successful completion of either test will earn your Tennessee High School Equivalency diploma.

Individuals who are age 17, or age 16 if they are emancipated, may take the GED exam if they're not in high school, are enrolled in a GED Option Program and have an age-waiver form signed by the superintendent of their local school district. 16 year-olds may not take the HiSET, but 17 year-olds may, with a waiver and if they are not enrolled in school. In Tennessee, test takers must complete the respective Official GED Practice Test or HiSET exam before they may take the official GED or HiSET exams.

How Are the GED and HiSet Exams Structured?

The four sections of the GED exam include: Language, social studies, science, and mathematics. All parts are multiple-choice except for an essay portion of the writing test and 20% of the math questions. The GED is only available as a computer-based test.

The HiSet has five subsections: Language arts/reading, language arts/writing, math, science, and social studies. All questions are multiple-choice with a written essay required for language arts/writing. You can take the HiSET as a computer-based exam or a paper exam.

How Do I Register for the GED or HiSET?

You must register online and take the exam at your local official testing center. You can locate a center near you through the Tennessee website ( The fee is due at registration, and the cost may vary by center.

Applicants for the HiSET must also register and pay online or by phone and take the exams at a local official testing center. HiSET fees are $75 for the entire battery of tests, including the administration fee.

Contact your local center ahead of time if you have any questions about fees, operating hours, location, testing times and the appropriate identification to bring.

How Do I Prepare for the GED and HiSET?

Preparation classes are free if you're a Tennessee resident. The Tennessee website provides a county-by-county listing of GED and HiSET preparation classes. If you want to study at home or online, you can obtain test preparation information, including sample questions and answers on the GED ( or HiSET ( websites. Also, there are study books and practice questions available. Kentucky Educational Television ( also offer online GED and HiSET study aids.

What if I Need Special Accommodations?

Special accommodations are available for GED and HiSET test takers who have physical and learning disabilities. However, you may be required to provide documentation from a licensed health professional who is qualified to diagnose your particular condition. Contact your local test center for details.

How Is the Test Scored?

To pass the GED, you must earn an minimum score of 150 on each of the four sections, with a total score of at least 600. If you fail a section, you'll only need to retake that section again. However, if you don't pass the essay portion of the test, you'll need to retake the entire writing section. If you earn 170 or more, you will earn an 'Honors' score. You are allowed to retake the GED twice at a reduced fee. After 2 retakes, you must wait 60 days for a third retake.

The HiSet requires a minimum score of 8 out of 20 on each of the five subtests, with a score of 2 out of 6 on the essay section and a total minimum score of 45. You may retest up to three times a year.

How Do I Get my Transcript?

You may need your Official GED or HiSET transcript to apply for college or for employment. Contact your local test center to obtain your transcript. A fee may be charged.

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