General Information about High School Equivalency (HSE) Tests:  GED & HiSET

In New Mexico, both the GED® and the HiSET® are approved for use, and passing either of these two state-approved tests will earn you an official New Mexico High School Equivalency credential.

In the United States, the GED used to be pretty much the only game in town when it came to high school equivilancy tests. This is why many people still broadly use the term "GED" to refer to any high school equivilancy credential (e.g. "I need to get my GED").  Times have changed, and three different High School Equivilency (HSE) tests are now widely available, each published by a different company:  GED®, HiSET®, and TASC®.   Each state makes its own decision regarding which test(s) it will offer, and passing any state-sanctioned test will lead to an official HSE credential issued by that state.  It is important to know that an official HSE credential earned in one state will be valid in any other state (regardless of which test was passed to earn that credential), very much like a driver's license.

Click here to see an infographic highlighting important features of each test. 

Since both the GED® and the HiSET® are available in New Mexico, and since passing either test will earn you the same New Mexico HSE credential, the only question is:  Which test do you want to take?   Differences in cost, available test format (i.e. computer only vs. paper-and-pencil option), and test structure are all factors you'll likely want to consider. 

But before you make the decision about which test to take, there's another critical question you're probably asking yourself:   How will I know if I'm ready to take either of these tests?   Both test publishers have official practice tests you can take to get a good idea about where you stand.   In the next section, we'll provide more detailed information about each of the two HSE tests available in New Mexico.   You could use this information to "go it alone." But you don't need to do it alone, and you certainly don't need to pay anyone to help you prepare to take a high school equivilancy test.

Did you know that FREE help is available to support you in this effort?  

There are 24 Adult Education programs all around New Mexico just waiting to help you prepare for a high school equivilancy test - and go beyond it.  Adult Education programs can also help you explore and advance in careers, get into college or job training programs, master the English language, and/or support your children's learning needs and education more effectively.  These free services are designed to meet each individual's personal education and career goals, so why not explore this option today?   

Click here for a map of program locations and contact information

HiSET®  vs. GED® 


Test Format:
  • HiSET® testing offers both computer and paper-and-pencil options
  • GED® testing is computer-based only
  • HiSET® = $10.75 for each of the 5 sections of the computer-based test, for a total of $53.75 for the entire test.   If you choose to take the paper-and-pencil version, the cost is $15 per section, for a total of $75 for the entire test.
  • GED® = $20 for each of the 4 sections, for a total of $80 for the entire test.
Test Length, Structure, and Question Types:
  • HiSET® The test-taker is allowed 7 hours and 5 minutes for all 5 sections of the complete test battery - which needn't be taken all at once.  Test sections include:  Language Arts Reading; Language Arts Writing; Mathematics; Science; and Social Studies.  This test contains only two question types, namely multiple choice questions and one essay.  For more information about this and other aspects of the HiSET®, you can visit the publisher's website. Click here.
  • GED®  The test-taker is allowed 7 hours and 25 minutes for all 4 sections of the complete test battery - which needn't be taken all at once.  Test sections include:  Mathematical Reasoning; Reasoning Through Language Arts; Science; and Social Studies.  There is no separate writing section because more extensive writing is built into the question types in this test.  The GED® includes a variety of different question types (many computer-driven), including extended response, short answer, drag-and-drop, drop down, fill-in-the-blank, hot spot, and multiple choice.  For more information about this and other aspects of the GED®, you can visit the publisher's website.  Click here.

If you need any information about High School Equivalency that you cannot find on this website, please contact Dyanne Salazar, High School Equivalency Administrator at or (505) 476-8441. 

CONTACT US: If you require additional guidance on how to direct your question or are not able to locate the information you are looking for on the New Mexico Higher Education Department's website, please send us a message.