Difference Between HESI & HESI A2 Nursing Exams


The Health Education Systems, Inc. Admissions Assessment (HESI A2) is also known as the Evolve Reach A2 and the HESI. This can cause some confusion for individuals, however, because there is another HESI test called the HESI Exit Exam that differs significantly from the HESI A2.

When is the Test Taken? When applying to postsecondary nursing programs Before or after graduating from a postsecondary nursing program
Purpose Determine if applicant qualifies for admission to postsecondary nursing program * Indicate likelihood individual will pass NCLEX licensing tests
* May determine if an individual qualifies to graduate from their nursing program
Who Uses the Test Colleges and universities * Individuals preparing for NCLEX
* May also be used by colleges and universities


The HESI A2 is made up of nine different exams. There are sections that focus on English language knowledge and use, science and math, as well as a learning skills test and a personality profile.

Testing Requirements

Specific testing requirements vary from school to school. There are nine HESI A2 tests in total, but some schools require individuals to take as few as four of the exams while others expect test-takers to complete seven or more tests. The number of questions that a test-taker will be required to answer can vary widely and schools may allot differing amounts of time for test-takers so each person applying to a nursing program must check the specific requirements for the college or university where they will take the test.

Scoring Requirements

The specific scoring requirements vary from school to school. Some have specific test scores they expect students to receive on individual tests. Others focus on composite scores that reflect the test-taker's average score from all of the exams. Others have individual and composite score requirements. Some schools, such as Miami Dade College in Florida, only consider applicants who have a minimum composite score of 65%. Phoenix College in Arizona, by comparison, expects applicants to earn an English composite score of 80% or more, but also require applicants earn no less than 75% on the math exam.

HESI Exit Exams

These tests use a range of question formats, including multiple choice and fill in the blanks. The exam evaluates the test-taker's knowledge of nursing procedures, managing client needs and specialized nursing areas.

Testing Requirements

There are two different HESI Exit Exams. Which one a person takes depends on what type of nursing program they are taking. The HESI RN Exit Exam is for individuals taking a registered nurse program. Those who are studying to be licensed practical nurses take the HESI LPN Exit Exam. The number of questions varies. While the RN version of the HESI Exit Exam always has 150 questions, the LPN Exit Exam has two versions. One has 75 questions while the other has 150 questions.

Scoring Requirements

Individuals who take the HESI Exit Exams as a college or university program requirement will need to meet the specific score requirements set by their school. For example, Galveston College in Texas expects prospective graduates to earn a score of 900 on the exit exam.

Individuals who are opting to take the HESI Exit Exam to determine if they are ready to take the NCLEX do not need to earn a specific score because the test is not a formal requirement; however, a minimum score of 900 is considered a strong indication that the person is ready to take and pass the NCLEX.

Test Resources


Individuals who are preparing for the HESI A2 can take advantage of the 109 lessons that make up the HESI Admission Assessment Exam Course. This self-paced course allows individuals to work through relevant review material online prior to taking the HESI A2 exams.

HESI Exit Exams

Since the HESI Exit Exams indicate how prepared an individual is to take their NCLEX licensing exam, preparing for the NCLEX tests prior to taking the HESI Exit Exams can help ensure individuals will pass the HESI Exit Exams. The NCLEX-PN Practice & Study Guide and NCLEX-RN Practice & Study Guide are designed to help individuals work through dozens of lessons that include material that is on these exams prior to their test date.

Designed by Elsevier Student Life, HESI exams are used to screen applicants to allied health care programs, chart their course progress, and help them prepare for certification examinations, such as the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

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