What's on the HiSET: Social Studies

The HiSET: Social Studies Test evaluates your ability to understand, interpret, and apply information. You will have 70 minutes to answer 50 multiple-choice questions.

Content Areas

Civics and Government (38%) topics may include the civic ideals of a democratic society; the practice, role, and meaning of informed citizenship; concepts of power and authority; the characteristics of modern and historic systems of governance, with an emphasis on the U.S. constitution and government; and the relationship between individuals rights and society.
History (38%) topics may include historical sources and perspectives; the relationship between past and present events; U.S. history from colonialism to present; and world history and the political, economic, and cultural characteristics of different eras.
Economics (18%) topics include basic economics concepts and systems; the difference between needs and wants; the interdependent nature of economies; and how economies are affected by government.
Geography (6%) topics may include concepts and terminology of physical and human geography; and interpretations of maps and the use of spatial analysis to describe economic, political, and social factors.

Social Studies Skills

In addition to testing your understanding of social studies passages and graphics, questions are based on your understanding of major skills, which introduce this unit on pages 518–541. After you study these skills, you will reinforce them as you work through the unit. They include:

  • Determining central ideas and making inferences
  • Analyzing relationships within and between social studies materials
  • Analyzing facts, opinions, and values in social studies contexts
  • Analyzing authors’ purposes, assumptions, and arguments
  • Evaluating authors’ reasoning and reliability of evidence
  • Interpreting data and statistics in graphs and charts
  • Determining the adequacy of information for reaching valid conclusions

(While you will be expected to interpret data, you will not have to perform extensive calculations during the HiSET Social Studies Test.)

Practice Questions

Question 1
___________________ outlines the rights of U.S. citizens.
A. The Declaration of Independence
B. The U.S. Constitution
C. A U.S. passport
D. A person’s naturalization papers

B. The U.S. Constitution According to the third paragraph of the passage, the Constitution sets forth the rights of citizens.

Question 2
Which of the following is the best summary of the passage below?
The mechanization of the textile industry, the invention of the steam engine, and the development of the coal and iron industries contributed to Great Britain’s lead in the Industrial Revolution. However, after 1850, other nations began to challenge Great Britain’s lead. Belgium, France, and Germany all industrialized quickly. By 1900, natural resources and railroad building helped make the United States the leading industrial nation.
A. The development of natural resources made Great Britain the leader in the Industrial Revolution.
B. The Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain and spread throughout the world.
C. The Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain and spread to Europe, but by 1900 the United States was the leading industrialized nation.
D. Plentiful natural resources and a vast railroad system were the underpinnings of the Industrial Revolution in the United States.

C. The Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain and spread to Europe, but by 1900 the United States was the leading industrialized nation. This summary statement has all the major details from the paragraph—the start of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain, its spread to Europe, and the lead taken by the United States. The other choices either focus too narrowly on a couple of details or are too broad to be an effective summary