High School Equivalency (HSE) Tests
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Many people who did not finish high school have the same knowledge and skills as those who did graduate. By taking and passing a series of HSE tests, adults can demonstrate they have acquired the same level of knowledge. Washington State currently uses the four-part GED® Tests for its HSE test.
Most colleges and employers accept an HSE credential as being equivalent to a high school diploma. Each year more than 15,000 state residents earn their HSE credentials. The SBCTC oversees the HSE testing program for the state of Washington. Those who meet the eligibility requirements may take the HSE Tests at official test centers located throughout the state. You can find a local test center through the GED® Testing Service.
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Eligibility to Take HSE Tests in Washington State
Eligibility and Testing Requirements
The following people are eligible to take the High School Equivalency Tests (per Washington State law WAC131-48-100):
- Any person 19 years or older who has not graduated from high school and is not enrolled in a public or private high school program.
- Any person who is an active member of the military, national guard, or reserves.
- Adjudicated youth under the director of prisons, jails, detention centers, parole and probation offices, and other corrections facilities while enrolled in school or ordered by a court or officer of the court.
- Anyone age 16 through 18 years old who:
- has not graduated from high school,
- is not enrolled in a public or private high school program, and
- who has been declared by a Washington State school district to have a substantial and warranted reason for leaving the regular high school education program.
This requires a signed "Request for Approval to Test" form — Sample: Request for Approval to Test form — must be provided to the test center prior to testing. The form must be signed by either the last Washington school district the applicant attended, or the Washington school district in which the applicant currently resides.
- Anyone age 16 through 18 years old who has completed a program of home-based instruction in compliance with RCW 28A.225.010(4). A certified “Notarized Statement/Letter" — Sample: Notarized Statement/Letter for Home School Students — completed by the parent(s) or guardian(s) who provided the instruction — must be provided to the test center prior to testing. The form is available at your local test center.
IMPORTANT: Test takers ages 16 to 18 will not be able to complete test registration until one of these two forms has been submitted and recorded by the test center.
- School districts: To request additional or updated “Request for Approval to Test” forms, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Test takers: Get a “Notarized Statement/Letter for Home School Student" form at your local test center.
Preparation for the HSE Tests
You need to register in order to schedule your tests. Remember: If you are 16 to 18 years old, you need to submit a “Request for Approval to Test” or “Notarized Statement/Letter” to complete your registration. Once registered, you can schedule your tests by logging back into your GED® account.
Prep Classes and Online Practice
You can prepare to take the High School Equivalency Tests with review classes, books, or practice tests. Preparation materials are also available at most local bookstores and public libraries.
Community colleges, technical colleges, and several community-based organizations offer low-cost programs to help you prepare to take the High School Equivalency Tests. Programs are listed on a directory of school and community programs with HSE preparation classes.
Several publishers offer online practice tests, preparations materials, and online preparation courses. The GED® Testing Service also offers an online practice test called GED® Ready.
Additional Information about online practice and preparation programs:
- There are thousands of diploma mills that operate without supervision of a state or an accredited agency and grant diplomas that are fraudulent. Find out more about diploma mills and accreditation agencies from the U.S. Department of Education.
- There are legitimate high school diploma programs online – but you will not just pay a fee and then get a diploma. You have to take some sort of distance learning classes.
- There are also legitimate HSE preparation programs online – again, they are only preparation programs. You cannot take the official HSE Tests online.
- If you are not certain about a program online, please contact the GEDadmin@sbctc.edu or contact your local test center.
All test-takers have fair access to the tests. If you have a diagnosed learning disability, temporary or permanent physical disability, emotional/psychological/psychiatric disability, chronic health disability, or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder you may request accommodations. Note: All requests are considered on an individual basis, but all requests are not automatically approved).
All requests require a completed forms and must go through an approval process. Get the request forms and start the process at
Accommodations from GED® Testing Service.
When and Where to Test
Testing schedules are determined by the local testing centers. You must register and be logged into your account to schedule a test.
The state office does not maintain detailed information for individual test centers. To find a test center near you and schedule a test, you will need to first register. Once registered you will be able to schedule and submit payment ($30 per test or $120 for all four tests).
What to Bring
At the time of testing, you will need to provide current government-issued photo identification with your name, address, birth date, and signature on it.
No Online Testing
You cannot take the official HSE Tests online. Tests must be taken at an official testing center.
Transcripts and Verifications
Request your HSE transcript
HSE completed prior to December 31, 2001: Submit requests for official Washington State HSE transcripts through Washington GED® Test Verify. You will be asked to create an account to request your own transcript. You must have a valid email address to create an account.
HSE completed after January 1, 2002: Submit requests for official Washington State HSE transcripts through GED® Testing Service.
Agencies, employers, and others requesting verification
HSE completed prior to December 31, 2001: Submit requests for official Washington State GED® verification through Washington GED® Test Verify. You will be asked to create an account in order to verify the completion status of a Washington State GED® examinee.
HSE completed after January 1, 2002: Submit requests for official Washington State GED® verification through GED® Testing Service.
For GED® records from other states, jurisdictions, overseas, or military
Visit the GED® Testing Service website.
Continue your education
If you are interested in going to college to earn a certificate or degree, visit CheckOutACollege.com to learn what programs are available and how to get started.
Find a job
If you are looking for employment, you may be interested in www.Go2WorkSource.com or www.careers.wa.gov
For General HSE Questions
GED® Information Line for Washington State
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Page Reviewed/Updated: January 22, 2015, 1:33 PM