Friends of Literacy HiSET Classes Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

To enroll in classes or for specific questions, please call the Friends of Literacy office, 865-549-7007.

1.       How long will it take to get my diploma?

It’s different for every single student. First, you will take a test to find out what you already know and what you need to work on. Then, you will attend classes for at least 3 hours a week.  After approximately 12 weeks of classes, you will take another test to find out if you are ready to move on to the Official Practice Test (OPT) or if you need to continue with classes for a while longer.

2.       How much will classes cost?

All classes and services provided by Friends of Literacy are FREE. We are a non-profit organization, and we offer these classes because we want our community to have better opportunities and access to education—for free.

3.       What is the difference in the GED and the HiSET?

Click here for a chart comparing the difference between the GED and HiSET.

The State of Tennessee now offers a less expensive alternative to the GED test called the HiSET.  The GED is no longer offered in Tennessee.  HiSET stands for High School Equivalency Test. Passing either the GED or the HiSET test grants you the same High School Equivalency Diploma, and the State of Tennessee recognizes diplomas awarded under both tests.  However, Tennessee now only issues new equivalency diplomas after passing the HiSET. When it comes to employers and colleges, there is no difference between the HiSET and the GED.

4.       What is on the HiSET?

The HiSET is a five-part test covering Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies.  The exam is mostly multiple choice but also includes an essay exercise.

5.       How much will the HiSET cost?

Students may be able to take the HiSET in the State of Tennessee for free. For students with qualifying scores on the OPT, the State will pay the testing fees.  Students who do not meet this requirement can either pay the testing fee themselves or retake the OPT after additional class time.

6.       What if I need extra help?

Students with good attendance who want extra help can work with a free tutor.  If you would like a tutor to help you outside of class, please let any of the teachers know, and we will find someone to help you. Websites such as,, or may also be helpful because they offer excellent sources of practice materials.

7.       I have been out of class for so long, and I wasn’t successful in school before. Can I learn and be successful now?

Yes!! You can learn and succeed now with the help of Friends of Literacy.  Our free classes are designed to meet your individual needs.  Instructors, classroom aides, and tutors work with you at your pace.  We help you master each skill before you learn a new one.

8.       Who should I talk to if I need proof of my enrollment?

For proof of enrollment for any reason, please see the Program Director.  Please provide us with the contact information (name, phone number, email address, fax number) for the person we are sending the proof of enrollment to and give us a week to process the request.

9.       What if I miss some classes?

We understand that life can sometimes get in the way of your plans. Excused absences here and there are ok, but please let us know as soon as possible that you won’t be coming to class. If you are tardy or absent often, this will slow down your progress in class and could result in your dismissal from our program.  If you miss more than three classes, you may be suspended from the program and be required to meet with the Program Director prior to returning to the program.

10.     Can I take a leave of absence?

We don’t have a leave of absence policy because as an adult, it is your choice to come to class or not.  However, the attendance rules will still apply.  If you must stop coming to class don’t let that stop you from coming back to the program when you are ready.  We are here to help.

11.     Is this the only class available?

No! We offer classes in a few different locations with morning, afternoon, and evening hours. Some classes are smaller and have a tight knit family feel, while some are more traditional and structured in the way you might be used to. Switching to another class is always an option if your schedule or needs change.  Click here to see the various location of classes.

12.     Where will I take the test?

You will take all of your tests in class until you qualify to take the OPT. The OPT is offered at our office on Hill Avenue, TCAT Knoxville or Tennessee Career Center.  Students will take the HiSET at Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus.

13.     Does Friends of Literacy provide other kinds of help?

Yes! Aside from GED/HiSET classes, we offer computer skills classes and the Path Forward Program to help you after you’ve completed your diploma.