HiSET Social Studies Study Guide

HiSET Test Review – Social Studies Study Guide

HiSET Social Studies Practice Test
HiSET Study Guide
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Want to view each individual HiSET Social Studies lesson? Visit the links below.

U.S. History

  1. Discovering America
  2. Christopher Columbus
  3. English Exploration of the New World
  4. English Colonization of the New World
  5. Colonization of the Americas
  6. The 13 Colonies
  7. Jamestown
  8. Life in New England
  9. Colonies Frustration with Britain
  10. The Founding Fathers
  11. Revolutionary War
  12. The Effects of the Revolutionary War
  13. The Declaration of Independence
  14. The First and Second Continental Congress
  15. The Louisiana Purchase
  16. Opinions about the War of 1812
  17. Results of the War of 1812
  18. Manifest Destiny
  19. Mexican-American War
  20. Conflict Between North and the South
  21. Causes that Led to Southern Secession
  22. Civil War
  23. The Civil War: A North vs South Overview
  24. Emancipation Proclamation
  25. Reconstruction
  26. Progressive Era
  27. The Beginning of American Imperialism
  28. World War I: An Overview
  29. World War I: Outcomes
  30. The Great Depression
  31. World War II
  32. The Cold War: The United States and Russia

World History

  1. Absolute Monarchs: An Overview
  2. African Kingdoms: Traditional Religion
  3. American Civilizations: The Mayas
  4. Ancient Greece
  5. Anti-Colonial Struggles: Central and South America
  6. Anti-Colonial Struggles: Japan
  7. Early Mesopotamia: The Babylonians
  8. Early Mesopotamia: The Jews
  9. Early Mesopotamia: The Sumerians
  10. Egyptians
  11. Globalization: Asia
  12. Globalization: Europe
  13. Globalization: First, Second, and Third World Nations
  14. Globalization: Millennium Milestones
  15. Globalization: The Middle East
  16. Interwar Years: An Overview
  17. Islam
  18. Roman Republic Part One
  19. Roman Republic Part Two
  20. The Holy Roman Empire
  21. The Middle Ages
  22. The End of the Middle Ages
  23. The Enlightenment
  24. The French Revolution: Napoleon Bonaparte
  25. The Hellenistic Period
  26. The Holocaust
  27. The Islamic Empire
  28. The Lewis and Clark Expedition
  29. The Reformation: Martin Luther
  30. The Renaissance
  31. The Scientific Revolution

Government and Civics

  1. Declaration of Independence
  2. Drafting the Constitution
  3. Bill of Rights
  4. Amending the Constitution
  5. 13th Amendment
  6. 14th Amendment
  7. 15th Amendment
  8. Authoritarian and Totalarian Government
  9. Autocratic Government
  10. Executive Branch
  11. Judicial Branch
  12. Legislative Branch
  13. Monarchic Government
  14. Republican Government
  15. Supreme Court
  16. Elections
  17. Partisan
  18. Voter Behavior


  1. Basics of Market Economy
  2. Gross Domestic Product
  3. Classification of Markets
  4. Market Failure
  5. Market Forms
  6. Marketing Plan
  7. Microeconomics and Macroeconomics
  8. Modes of Operation
  9. Opportunity Cost
  10. How Banks Function


  1. 5 Elements of Any Map
  2. Bodies of Water
  3. Cartography and Technology
  4. Climates
  5. Geographical Features
  6. Physical vs. Cultural Geography
  7. Reading a Key on a Map
  8. Regional Geography

HiSET Social Studies Review

Social Studies itself is a broader subject—about as broad as the Language Arts subsection, but condensed into one part rather than two. Its depth is one of the biggest reasons as to why it’s included on the HiSET, and why it is important to demonstrate basic mastery of this subject in order to move on to a higher level academic or professional climate. High school students also take Social Studies classes of several different varieties, all of which will be included on the exam to some degree.

How can Social Studies help you as you advance professionally? The subject teaches you a lot about the world—the people within it, why it is the way it is, and how it works—from a much different and relatable perspective. Regardless of which field you enter when you progress to college or the workforce, this is an important skill to have. Additionally, common Social Studies often translate to higher level University courses, which will form part of your general education requirements once you transition to academia. Since the HiSET is meant as an equivalent to your high school diploma, it is also the next step to entering a college environment.

At Mometrix Test Preparation, we want to help you succeed. This is why we have written this guide—to give you a thorough idea of what will feature on this particular subsection of the HiSET and how you can prepare. The rest of this page features a detailed HiSET Social Studies study guide to further educate and prime yourself for your big day. Read on to learn more about what will be on this important subsection, the specific subjects you should study, and how the test itself is formatted.

What Is Featured on the HiSET Social Studies Subsection?

The Social Studies subsection is, like the majority of the HiSET, divided into 50 multiple choice questions, for which you will be given 70 minutes to complete. The purpose of the test is to evaluate your basic knowledge of Social Studies within several different subjects. You will find questions of all varieties on the test, with such focuses as economics, history, geography, political science, anthropology, sociology, and psychology. You will also be expected to create inferences based on given data, most of which includes graphical pieces—charts and political cartoons. You may also receive documents to read and answer questions about.

The test further divides into seven categories—three process-related and four content-related. The exam is approximately 10 percent Geography, 35 percent History, 20 percent Economics, and 35 percent Civics and Government. To help brush up on these subjects, you can check out our HiSET Social Studies flashcards, or—for deeper understanding—our HiSET Social Studies practice test.

It is worth noting that the questions you’ll encounter won’t be anything more complex than what is usually featured in average high school curriculum around the country. In addition to the processes and content you’ll be expected to know, you will also be assessed on your ability to discern whether you have enough information to generate an inference, the logic behind a conclusion based upon written context, and how reliable a given piece of information is; to acknowledge how far-reaching a method can stretch before it stops being true; and whether a declaration is false or true based upon historical knowledge and various pieces of information provided to you.

We will first go into the content you’ll see on the test.


As a subject, geography is meant to enhance one’s understanding of the world through its countries and the various cultures living within them. The ‘Geography’ category of the HiSET Science subsection, as a result, tests three skills—your ability to think critically about case studies and read visual information, such as maps; your understanding of how geographic placement affects societal, governmental, and financial development within an area; and comprehend the vocabulary attached to geography as well as the concepts that make up the discipline.


The most well-known of all the Social Studies subjects, the History category of the HiSET Science subsection assesses three distinct areas of knowledge—how well you comprehend the history of the world and the United States, based on the cultures that sprouted from specific periods as well as the financial and governmental situations thereof; the various and continual links between our time and the past, and how these developments could go on to affect the future; and acknowledgment of different points of view as well as the ability to weave judgments from various sources of information.


Economics explains the world’s relationship with and management of money and the market. As such, the ‘Economics’ category looks for the following elements of comprehension—the basics of any economy based on consumer patterns; the role that a government plays within an economy, as well as the different roles in which the economy and government can interact and how the economy influences the world at large; and the basic models found within an economy, such as supply and demand.


The Civics/Government category of the HiSET Science subsection mainly focuses on the United States government. However, you will have to know about other relevant topics outside of the U.S. On this section, you will find questions relating to the diverse forms of government in existence, based on their traits and why these different systems might have developed; the assorted governmental divisions within the United States, how they cooperate with each other, and why they exist; what authority means with respect to the United States government; and how democracy works. More specifically, you will likely be expected to answer questions about democratic citizenship and all of the properties aligned with it, including the duties expected of a democratic citizen and the natural rights they are granted by their government.

Alongside the above four elements of Social Studies knowledge, you will also need to demonstrate your understanding of three processes: Evaluation and Generalization, Analysis, and Interpretation and Application. We will also go over the meanings of these three categories.

  • To Evaluate and Generalize, with the Social Studies subsection, means to decipher how reliable a given source is; to decide whether a conclusion makes sense based on information; and to discern whether you have been provided with enough information to make an inference in the first place.
  • To Analyze means to acknowledge the points an author makes as well as why they have written a document; and whether their statements qualify as individual beliefs or the truth.
  • To Interpret and Apply means to piece create broader inferences based on relevant texts; draw conclusions based on contextual or subtly-delivered information; and to use facts to create conclusions.

While we have kept made this overview thorough, we haven’t covered everything there is to know for this particular subsection of the test. However, you will find a wealth of information through the links on this page, which serves as a comprehensive HiSET Social Studies study guide. If you would like further help with your studies, feel free to check out our HiSET Social Studies practice practice test or HiSET Social Studies flash cards. We want to see you succeed, which is why we’ve provided you with as many study tools as possible.

Good luck, and study hard!

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: May 13, 2019