The questions and answers below are specific to DMACC. In addition to the information given below, you may want to visit the FAQ page of the official HiSET site.

1) What is HiSET?

HiSET tests give adults a chance to earn their jurisdiction's or State's High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma, which certifies they have attained the educational level of a high school graduate.

2) What is the value of the diploma?

It is nationally recognized by employers, unions, and institutions of higher learning as the equivalent of a high school diploma.

3) Who awards the diploma?

In Iowa, the Department of Education awards the diploma.

4) Who is eligible to receive the diploma?

You must meet certain age requirements, if you are under 18 years of age. Click here to review these requirements.

5) How is it earned?

It is earned by passing a battery of five HiSET subject tests.  The subjects tested are Reading, Writing (includes an essay), Social Studies, Science, and Math. You can use your calculator or the embedded calculator on the entire Math test.

6) What is the cost of the HiSET test?

The testing fee for the HiSET battery of five tests is $50 and includes 2 retests if needed. Testing must be completed within one year of the purchase date. There is no charge for 2 retests if the battery is purchased and the retests are taken within the year. (The retest fee, if necessary, is $5 per test.) If a student is unable to complete all testing within the year, there will be a $15 charge per test when tests are purchased individually.
There is an additional High School Equivalency Diploma fee of $10 that will be charged at the time of the last subject test. If a student has started official HiSET testing at a location outside of DMACC, they will need to pay a $10 transfer fee. 
Students may pay using a credit or debit card, PayPal, or by purchasing a voucher for HiSET testing at any campus bookstore.  The voucher will involve a $1.50 processing fee and will require the student to schedule their HiSET test by phone rather than online.

7) Where and when can the HiSET tests be taken?

HiSET testing is provided at various times and places. Click here for a listing of upcoming tests, or call the HiSET office at DMACC for a list of locations and times: 515-287-8700.

8) Are the tests multiple choice?

Yes. For each test question you are asked to select the correct answer from four or five choices. The Writing portion includes an essay. A calculator may be used on the entire Math test.  An on-screen calculator is embedded in the computer-based version of the HiSET.

9) In what order must the tests be taken?

The Iowa Department of Education recommends that you complete Math and Writing in the middle of the testing process. Research supports this recommendation that you do not leave Math and Writing as the last tests. In addition, you cannot take the final subject test without having successfully complete the other four tests.

10) If a test is failed can it be taken again?

You should successfully complete four of the five HiSET subject tests prior to taking the final (fifth) test. If you fail to pass a subject test, you will have to attend a HiSET class and have an instructor authorize you for a retest. There is a maximum of three attempts to pass any subject test within a calendar year; so it is important that you adequately prepare before attempting to retest in a subject area.

11) Are practice tests required?

Yes. You will have to score a minimum score on a subject pre-test prior to taking an actual HiSET subject test. A HiSET instructor can help you with the pre-test and issue an authorization to take the actual HiSET subject test. Pre-testing will help you determine your readiness to take and pass the HiSET test. Pre-testing is completed during HiSET classes that are held over eight-week cycles at various DMACC sites.

12) What do I do if I need to raise my score?

If you need to raise your completed score for employment or educational requirements, a letter from the employer or school must be presented to allow a retest. You will be allowed to retest only until you achieve the minimum score required by the employer or school.

13) What is the purpose of High School Equivalency classes?

The classes are an opportunity for you to brush up on your math, reading, and English skills and, as a result, be better prepared to take the HiSET tests.

14) Are the classes required?

Orientation is required and may indicate a need for basic skill instruction. You MUST attend an Orientation at one of the DMACC HiSET class locations. Most sites offer Orientation every eight weeks. During Orientation, you will take a basic skills pretest which will identify any basic skill needs. If needed, your instructor will register you for a preparatory basic skills class addressing those needs. These classes generally meet several times each week over an eight-week cycle. ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY! If your pretest scores do not indicate a need for basic skill instruction, you may qualify to attend an Independent Study Center to learn about and practice the HiSET test format. In order to officially test a subject, you must be verified as ready to officially test by a DMACC HiSET instructor.

15) How do the classes help?

The Orientation and HiSET classes help you in at least five important ways:

  1. Evaluation: The pretest administered during the Orientation can help you discover which subjects you need to study.
  2. Instruction: Your HiSET class will organize your studies and guide you in your preparation for the specific HiSET tests.
  3. Test Orientation and Practice: Your instructor can give you practice tests similar to the HiSET. These will help you understand more about the nature of the HiSET tests.
  4. Readiness for the HiSET testing:  Your HiSET instructor can help you determine readiness to take and pass the official HiSET tests.
  5. Preparation for Career Training: The basic skill instruction delivered in the HiSET classes will assist you in developing skills needed to continue career training after you've earned your HiSET.

16) How do I obtain an official transcript of HiSET test results?

Official copies of Diplomas and Transcripts may be obtained from Diploma Sender.

1. Visit Diploma Sender online, www.diplomasender.com.

2. Complete the online order form using a credit, debit, cashier’s check or money order for the $10 payment.

3. Check the appropriate delivery method for receipt of your document, email, FedEx, or regular mail.

The Iowa Department of Education no longer processes duplicate diploma or transcript requests. ALL Iowa HSED requests are processed through Diploma Sender. NO state agency or community college program can assist in HSED requests.

Diploma Sender is a safe website that can be accessed from public computers with internet connections, often available at local public libraries. If you cannot access the internet to order online or have additional issues related to your order, contact Diploma Sender toll free at 1-855-313-5799. Additional charges may apply.

17) What is the minimum age to study and test for the HiSET?

Age requirements are listed in detail on the HiSET Requirements page.

18) Does Iowa recognize online high school degrees?

Persons can ONLY take the Official HiSET Test Battery at an approved Iowa HiSET test center. The only way to receive an Iowa High School Equivalency Diploma is to successfully pass the Official HiSET Test Battery by Iowa state standards. Please contact the Iowa Department of Education at 515.281.3640 for further information. Persons seeking to meet the Iowa High School Equivalency Diploma requirements should be aware of companies that claim to offer the Test of General Educational Development (GED) over the Internet or through correspondence courses. There are NO on-line or correspondence testing programs recognized by the General Educational Development Testing Service (GEDTS) of the American Council of Education (ACE).