HESI A2 practice tests & exam information

Take a HESI A2 practice test to identify your strengths and weaknesses, build on existing knowledge and feel confident for the real exam.

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What is the HESI exam?

The HESI exams are a series of exams designed for nurses and other health professionals. The HESI Admissions Assessment Exam (HESI A2) is used as a part of the admissions process for some nursing schools. Specialized HESI exams can be used by a nursing program as mid-curricular exams, end-of-course exams, and mobility exams for candidates looking to move from one level of education to another. The HESI exit exam tests a student's readiness for the nursing licensure exam.

What does HESI stand for?

HESI stands for Health Education Systems, Inc. The HESI exams are created by Elsevier, an information analytics company with a focus on science, technology, and healthcare. The HESI exams are designed to improve the healthcare industry by using dynamic assessments to shape healthcare curriculum. There are HESI exams available for the following fields:

  • nursing
  • dental assisting
  • dental hygiene
  • EMT
  • radiography
  • respiratory care
  • medical assisting
  • massage therapy
  • medical insurance billing and coding
  • paramedicine
  • veterinary technology

Who should take the HESI A2?

The HESI A2 is used by some nursing programs as part of their admissions requirements. If you are applying to nursing school, find out whether your school requires the HESI A2 as part of your application. The HESI A2 is distinct from other HESI exams, which are intended to be used within the course of a nursing or other healthcare program.

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What subjects are on the HESI A2 exam?

The HESI A2 exam consists of eight content exams. A school may require all eight exams for admission, or they may select a smaller set of exams. Some schools also include a brief learning style and personality style assessment. The content exams are:

  • Math
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Physics

How many questions are on the HESI A2?

The HESI A2 content area exams have between 25-50 scored questions with recommended test administration times between 20-60 minutes. Some nursing schools require prospective students to complete the learning style and personality style assessment, which are 14 and 15 questions, respectively. You will need to check which sections are required by your preferred schools before registering for the exams.

Number of scored questions Recommended time allowed
Math 50 50 minutes
Reading Comprehension 47 60 minutes
Vocabulary 50 50 minutes
Grammar 50 50 minutes
Biology 25 25 minutes
Chemistry 25 25 minutes
Anatomy & Physiology 25 25 minutes
Physics 25 50 minutes
Learning Style (optional) 14 15 minutes
Personality Style (optional) 15 15 minutes

HESI A2 math section overview

What kind of math is included on the HESI A2? The HESI A2 is focused on math as it relates to healthcare settings. Expect questions regarding:

  • Basic operations
  • Metric units
  • Fractions and decimals
  • Ratios, rate, and proportions
  • Roman numerals
  • Dosage calculations
  • Military time
  • Measurement conversions

HESI A2 vocabulary section overview

The vocabulary exam of the HESI A2 presents a series of vocabulary words for which you will be asked to select the correct definition. The vocabulary exam is particularly focused on basic healthcare and medical terminology.

HESI A2 grammar section overview

The HESI A2 grammar exam tests basic grammar knowledge such as:

  • Parts of speech
  • Key grammatical terms
  • Common grammatical errors

HESI A2 reading comprehension section overview

The HESI A2 reading comprehension exam looks at your ability to comprehend and interpret health-related passages. Skills to practice include:

  • Understanding passages
  • Determining themes
  • Making inferences
  • Using context clues to determine word meanings

HESI A2 biology section overview

On the HESI A2 biology exam, you will find a range of questions on general biology topics, including:

  • Cells
  • Biological molecules
  • Cellular respiration
  • Photosynthesis
  • Metabolism

HESI A2 chemistry section overview

The HESI A2 chemistry exam assesses general principles of chemistry such as:

  • The periodic table
  • Matter
  • Atomic structure
  • Chemical equations
  • Chemical bonding
  • Chemical reactions
  • Nuclear chemistry

HESI A2 anatomy and physiology section overview

The HESI A2 anatomy and physiology, or A&P exam, is designed to test your basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology, particularly:

  • Anatomical structures
  • Body systems
  • General physiological terminology

HESI A2 physics section overview

The HESI A2 physics exam covers a number of topics in general physics.

  • Energy
  • Gravity
  • Newton's laws of motion
  • Waves and sound
  • Projectile motion
  • Acceleration
  • Light and optics
  • Rotation
  • Friction

How is the HESI scored?

For your HESI A2 exam, you will receive a percentage score. This score represents a composite of all the exams you took. You will also receive a percentage score for each individual content exam. Some schools have score requirements for individual content exams, while other schools only have requirements for the composite score. The personality and learning style exams are not scored. You will receive your score immediately upon completing the exam.

What is a passing score on the HESI?

Individual nursing programs set their own requirements for HESI A2 scores, and these requirements should be attained from the school's admissions department. For example, Baylor University and Samuel Merritt University require a score of 80% or higher, while Chamberlain University requires a score of 73%. Some schools do not have a minimum requirement, but rather take the applicant's score into consideration in addition to the rest of their application requirements.

How to study for the HESI

The HESI A2 exam, with eight content exams as well as a learning style and personality style exam, is an admissions requirement for many nursing schools. It is critical to be well-prepared for your HESI A2 exam. Begin with these steps:

Learn which content exams are required by your school. Some schools don't require all eight exams, so spend your time preparing for the exams you will take. Find out what score is required by your school, as well as incentives your school might offer for high scores.

Take a practice test to determine areas where you should focus your studies.

Make a study plan. Establish how much time you have before the test, then make a schedule of when you will study for each area of the test. Give extra time to topics you find more challenging.

Choose a study guide, then use this to direct your study time.

Create flashcards and other memory aids for key concepts, terms, and formulas. Songs, rhymes, and visualizations can help you remember details, especially when you are trying to recall a large body of information.

Review strategies for answering multiple-choice questions. The HESI A2 contains multiple-choice questions.

Practice on the computer. The HESI A2 does not have a paper and pencil option, so make sure to take a computerized practice test to help you get comfortable with the format. The test maker, Elsevier, also has a brief video on their site showing the process of registering for and beginning a HESI exam.

Consider relaxation techniques that are effective for you. Practice your relaxation techniques in preparation for dealing with any test anxiety you may have.

Prepare for the physical details of the exam. Find out the location of your testing center, and do a test drive past the testing location, so you know how long it takes to get there. Make sure you know what to bring to your test and what to leave at home. Rest well the day before the exam.

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HESI A2 registration process

When you are ready to schedule your HESI A2 exam, consult your school's admissions department to establish their:

  • Preferred testing location (Prometric testing center or at the school's campus)
  • Required passing score
  • Expected date you'll receive your score
  • Stated retake policy
  • Declared submission deadline for HESI results

Many schools offer the exam on campus. They may also allow for offsite testing at Prometric testing centers if timing or distance is a factor. You need to find out your school's registration policy to determine whether you must register through your school or through the Elsevier Evolve website.

How much does the HESI A2 exam cost?

  • Registration fees can range from $40 to $100. There is not a standard fee set by the test developers; rather, the fee can be set by the school offering the exam.
  • Proctoring fees may apply for test-takers who are not students at the school in which they are sitting the exam. Testing remotely may also incur additional fees.
  • Cancellation fees may apply if a test is cancelled or rescheduled. See your school's rescheduling or cancellation policy.
  • Test retakes require students to pay the registration fees again.
  • Test prep materials from the official test provider, Elsevier, or other sources may incur additional fees.

HESI A2 FAQs

Is the HESI multiple choice?

The HESI A2 is a multiple-choice exam. As you study, review strategies for taking multiple-choice exams. For example:

  1. Read the question thoroughly and note key words in the question.
  2. Pay special attention to words like "always" and "never," as they will usually eliminate at least one answer choice.
  3. Consider your answer before reading the responses supplied. This can avoid distraction and increase answer speed.
  4. Read all four answer choices thoroughly before making any decisions. Note any key words in the answer choices that might correspond to the key words in the question.
  5. Eliminate obvious incorrect answers. This can be helpful when you are unsure of the correct answer and need to guess.
  6. Choose the remaining answer that best fits your knowledge of the question.

How many times can you take the HESI entrance exam?

Policies for retaking the HESI A2 exam are established by individual schools. Schools limit the number of times a test may be taken within a given time period, such as an admissions application period or an academic year. In addition, schools can impose a wait time between tests. You may be required to wait 30 days, 60 days, or six months between test attempts. Consult your school's admissions department for their policy.

Can you use a calculator on the HESI?

You are permitted to use a calculator on the HESI A2, but you may not bring your own. There will be a basic pull-down calculator on the computer screen that you can access during the exam.

What testing accommodations are available for the HESI A2 exam?

If you need specific testing accommodations for the HESI A2 exam, contact your testing location (either college or Prometric testing center) and determine their procedure for requesting accommodations.

You may be asked to provide documentation from a medical professional, that:

  • Contains the medical professional's contact details
  • Details the nature of the disability, diagnosis, and treatment
  • Explains the necessary accommodations.

Types of testing accommodations can include:

  • Adjustments to timing and location, such as extended time to test or testing in a separate room
  • Equipment, such as adaptive keyboard, mouse, monitor, or seating
  • Software, such as speech-to-text, text-to-speech, or screen magnification programs
  • A personal assistant, such as an interpreter, sign language interpreter, or test reader

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