Earn Your High School Equivalency with Library Resources

Earn Your High School Equivalency with Library Resources

by Clelia Sweeney

As someone with a GED, I feel very strongly about the importance of helping people earn their high school equivalency. It opens doors for employment, training programs, military careers, and applying to college. Through a conversation with a patron last week, I learned that Iowa does not use the GED test but the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test, a much more straightforward acronym!) I hadn’t heard of the HiSET, but 23 out of 50 states currently offer it instead of the GED. It was developed in 2014 to better suit the needs of adult students, be more affordable, and align with current education standards.

I knew I had to add to our collection to reflect this, because we currently have mostly GED books. The test prep publishing industry has not quite caught up to the HiSET trend, so there are not as many available as there should be. I just ordered two copies of 2020 HiSET Exam Prep from Kaplan, a classic test prep imprint, and the 2022 HiSET Prep Book from Apex Test Prep. I’ll keep an eye out for more as they are released.

There is a HiSET testing site at the Des Moines Area Community College location in Boone. The good news is that they cover the cost of the exam through grant funding, with up to two free retakes. Everyone taking the test is required to attend an orientation and HiSET class beforehand. To learn more about requirements, contact DMACC at (515) 697-7815.

While you prepare to take the test, the library has two online databases with study materials specifically for the HiSET. BrainFuse has an “Adult Learners” portal with study materials for both HiSET and GED exams, practice tests, and even live tutoring sessions online. We also have a HiSET prep e-book available through our Mometrix database, to read online or print pages off to practice with. In the library we have study rooms perfect for working through practice tests or attending an online tutoring session.

This patron interaction was a perfect example of how it helps us as well as you to ask questions at the Reference Desk. In this case, it pointed out a blind spot in our collection and educated me about how earning high school equivalency works in Iowa. I’m still relatively new in town and have a lot to learn.