What Can Your Students Expect on the HSE Math Test?

Posted by on July 14th, 2016

Part of preparing your students for the math portion of the high school equivalency (HSE) is ensuring that they have a clear understanding of the expectations surrounding the test. Included in these expectations are test structure, content and required skills. Practice problems will also be helpful towards your students’ preparation.



On the math exam your students can expect 46 questions to evaluate their knowledge. The questions are presented in a way that can be understood by a variety of test takers. Usually this means that the questions will be built in the context of a daily life scenario.

The 46 questions are broken into two parts with Part 1 containing five questions focused on the basic operations, exponents and basic number sense. The remaining 41 questions make up Part 2. The answer selections on the math test are a combination of fill in the blank, multiple choice, and drop down.



Test takers will have 115 minutes to complete the math exam. Part 1 is not timed. However, Part 2 of the exam cannot be accessed until Part 1 has been submitted. Students are responsible for monitoring their progress to ensure enough time to complete the assessment.



Two main areas are assessed by the math portion of HSE exams: quantitative problem solving skills and algebraic problem solving skills. The quantitative skills include number operations and geometric application.

Test takers should have a strong understanding of analytical skills, reasoning and problem solving. Their knowledge will be tested through the use of written and visual data. Multi-step problem solving ability, use of functions, factoring and surface area are required skills. An on-screen calculator as well as a formula sheet with algebraic and geometric formulas is provided for each tester for assistance. Students may also bring their own approved calculator for use.


Practice Problems

As the problems are often real life or scenario based, it is helpful for your students to see a few practice problems. The GED Testing Service® offers sample questions for practice:


Last month, the balance in Joan’s checkbook was $1219.17. Since then she has deposited her latest paycheck of $2425.66 and written checks for $850.00 (rent), $235.89 (car payment), and $418.37 (credit card payment). What is the current balance in Tisha’s checking account?

  1. $921.40
  2. $2,140.57
  3. $3,215.27
  4. $5,149.09


Brad purchased a $5,000 certificate of deposit (CD) at his local bank. The CD will pay him 7% simple interest. How much INTEREST, in dollars, will Byron have earned from his CD at the end of a 2-year period?


A worker rented a carpet steamer at 9am and returned it at 4pm. He paid a total of $28.84. What was the rental cost per hour?

  1. $2.43
  2. $3.61
  3. $4.12
  4. $5.77


Help your students become more familiar with the expectations for the math HSE exams to set them up for success. Make them aware of the timing, content and structure and couple it with regular practice to help them find their own necessary pacing and prepare accordingly.

Aside from teaching the content skills, the major key for success is students recognizing and processing these concepts through real world scenarios. The structure of your unit instruction and assessment should be geared towards building the application of learned skills for your students.


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