High School Equivalency (HSE – formally GED) tests are exams administered by the American Council on Education. The tests provide adults who did not complete a formal high school program the opportunity to certify their attainment of high-school-level academic knowledge and skills. Millions have earned their non-traditional high school diploma through the HSE test and have gone on to post-secondary schools, successful careers, and trades. The tests are given in both English and Spanish and are comprised of six content areas:
- Language Arts, Reading
- Language Arts, Writing
- Social Studies
- English Proficiency (required only for Spanish test)
HSE tests are currently offered only in a paper-pencil format at Official HSE Testing Centers. Once a candidate passes the HSE tests in New Jersey, a State-issued high school diploma is awarded.
Where are the Official HSE Testing Centers in Bergen County?
- Bergen Community College Ciarco Learning Center, Hackensack. For classes or tutoring, call (201) 489-1551. To take the official HSE test, call (201) 301-9655.
- Bergen County Technical School, Hackensack. For classes call (201) 343-6000 x2213. To take the official HSE test, call (201) 343-6000 x 2293.
How do I prepare for the tests?
It’s important to prepare for the HSE tests just as you would prepare for a job interview or a big game. Preparation classes and tutoring are available at many educational institutions and in many formats based on your style of learning. In Bergen County, you may get help preparing for HSE tests at these locations:
- Bergen County Technical Schools in Hackensack offers pre-career and training preparation in English language instruction and free HSE preparation. Pre-career preparation is necessary for applicants whose skills or credentials do not enable them to be successful in training programs. For more detailed information or to register for all pre-career programs, call 201-343-6000, extension 4639 or come in person to the ESL / HSE office at 200 Hackensack Avenue in the Adult Education Building.
- Bergen Community College Ciarco Learning Center in Hackensack, at various times across the day. Afternoon HSE prep classes, sponsored through a New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development grant awarded to the College, are offered at no cost. For more information, call the Ciarco Learning Center at (201) 489-1551.
- The Connections program for out-of-school youth is sponsored by the Bergen County Department of Human Services. This all-day HSE preparation program helps students prepare for the high school equivalency exam. There is no fee. For further information, call (201) 460-2260.
What if I have a disability and need special accommodations?
If you have a disability that could keep you from taking the HSE Tests in the way they are usually given, you might be entitled to receive reasonable testing accommodations, depending upon the nature of your disability. Contact the testing center and ask for the Request for Testing Accommodations form. Disabilities may include Physical/Chronic Health Disability, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Emotional/Mental Health Disorder, or Learning and Other Cognitive Disability. The application process must include written documentation to verify disabilities.
Who are some famous people who earned a HSE diploma?
Bill Cosby, former US Surgeon General Dr. Richard Cromona, News Reporter Peter Jennings, Congressman Charles Rangel, former Governors Jim Florio and Ruth Ann Minner (Delaware), Chris Rock, John Travolta, Dave Thomas (Wendy food chain), Vidal Sassoon, Wally Amos (Famous Amos Cookies), and Beyonce.
How did HSE Testing originate?
HSE Testing was developed in 1942 for World War II military personnel who were pulled out of school to serve our country. In 1963 it was also offered to civilians who for whatever reason did not complete high school. This test was updated every 20 years until 1988 then every ten years, to equate with the high school graduation requirements that measured college and/or career readiness. The 2002 version reflects the most up-to-date, widely used secondary school curriculum standards and standardized assessment practices available. The test features major changes and reflects the impact of Welfare-To-Work legislation and the increased emphasis on academic standards in the K-12 community.