You Need To Know

Check out our free resources to get started on your journey to passing the HESI A2

You Need To Know

Check out our free resources to get started on your journey to passing the HESI A2

Get a free HESI A2 Practice Test

Free HESI A2 Practice Test Question

Free HESI A2 Study Resources

Free HESI Practice Test

Take a free HESI practice test to gauge your strengths and weaknesses

#1 Strategy You Need To Pass the HESI A2

The secrets to passing the HESI A2 6 without cramming and memorizing. 

Free HESI A2 Study Group

Free HESI A2 Study Group

Daily HESI A2 practice test questions and students just like you. 

Test Your Knowledge With These Practice Test Questions

How To Study for the HESI

Studying for HESI A2 needs a strategy that optimizes for the best use of your time and resources. This means you will need the right set of tools to prepare for the test. This section will delve into the number one strategy to prepare for HESI A2 and other vital tips in studying for the actual exam. 

A diagnostic test is an assessment tool that identifies your strengths and weaknesses in specific subject areas. With the HESI A2, a great place to start is by taking practice tests similar to the actual exam.

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FAQ: Have questions about the HESI A2?
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Check out some of the most frequently asked questions from our students

HESI Admissions Assessment Exam or HESI A2, is an exam that is often selected by nursing schools/programs during the application process, and is required for admission. The test is taken by prospective students in order to assess the skills and abilities of the applicants in area such as English, math, and science. There are other similar, yet different tests, that may be required by your nursing program of choice. Be sure to contact your school for exact exam requirements.

Ideally, the reasoning behind taking these entrance exams is to determine how a student is likely to perform in nursing school, based on how well they perform on the test. Studies have also shown that the entrance exam results are linked to how well a student will perform during their first year in nursing school, as well as measure their outcome for success and completion of the nursing program. These tests also act as a preparation for the Registered Nurse licensure exam, the NCLEX, after graduation. The HESI specifically aims to prep students for taking the NCLEX exam.

The HESI exam is slightly different in structure compared to other nursing exams. Prior to beginning your application process, contact your nursing school of choice to identify which test is needed. If HESI is the exam of choice, make sure you find out which subjects you need to be tested on. This will be essentially helpful when studying and preparing for the exam. There are a total of 10 versions of the test that can be taken. Also, since every school utilizes the HESI differently, score requirements will also vary.

  • Mathematics (50 questions, 50 minutes)

  • Reading Comprehension (47 questions, 60 minutes)

  • Vocabulary (50 questions, 50 minutes)

  • Grammar (50 questions, 50 minutes)

  • Biology (25 questions, 25 minutes)

  • Chemistry (25 questions, 25 minutes)

  • Anatomy & Physiology (25 questions, 25 minutes)

  • Physics (25 questions, 25 minutes)

Reading Comprehension: 50 questions, 60 minutes

Expect to see a variety of health-related reading scenarios which are aimed at identifying a students level of reading comprehension. Ideally, you will want to familiarize yourself on how to identify main ideas, find the meaning of words in a context, understand passage comprehension, etc. The purpose of this section is for the nursing school to understand how well the student will be able to read and understand and nursing textbook.

Check out our video for what is on the reading section here 

Reading Tips

  • If the question doesn’t reference something in one of the answers, that answer is probably incorrect. Check to see what is/isn’t referenced and choose the best answer from there.
  • Do not assume facts about questions. Often, if information is not provided in the question, it will not be relevant. Stick to the facts that are provided.
  • Some questions will focus on your ability to determine the difference between opinion and fact. Practice recognizing the difference between fact (the grass is green) and opinion (the grass smells nice).
  • Read carefully and slowly. Questions may be confusing if you read too quickly.
  • If you think that 2 answers could be correct, ask yourself, “What is it REALLY asking”.
  • Study and know different types of writing styles. You may be asked to identify. i.e. narrative, expository, entertaining, analytical, persuasive, etc.
  • Know how to identify first person (I), second person (You), third person (Narration).
  • Use only the information you are given, if it is not stated in the text then don’t assume it to be relevant.
  • Use Process of elimination. Eliminate answers you know are wrong and work your way to one, final answer.
  • Know how to use an index, dictionary, almanac, encyclopedia, and glossary.
  • Try to improve your reading speed and comprehension in advance. You want to ensure that you can finish the section before the time is up.
  • Pay attention to the wording in questions. The wording in the question itself will usually provide helpful hints that can lead you toward the correct answer.

Grammar: 50 questions, 50 minutes

Be sure to study basic rules of grammar, including: identifying common grammatical errors, punctuation, the eight parts of basic sentence (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections), Dependent vs independent clauses of a complex sentence, Spelling, Subject-verb agreement, common prefixes and suffixes and their meanings.

This section is important to do well on, as there will be a lot of reading and writing assignments in nursing school.

Check out our video that goes over this section in detail here

Grammar Tips

  • Even if English is your first language, do not be overly confident.
  • Rules of Language arts and grammar may be explicitly asked.
  • Know The eight parts of basic sentence: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections.
  • Dependent vs independent clauses of a complex sentence. i.e. what do you join two independent clauses with, etc.
  • Spelling: Important to remember how many repeated letters are in a word. I.e. accommodate, foreign, appointments, necessary.
  • Know subject-verb agreement
  • Learn the meaning of common prefixes and suffixes.
  • Study terms and formal terms. Know what they are and how they work. i.e. coordinate conjunctions, sub conjunctions, subject verb agreement.
  • Review basic rules of punctuation; i.e. semicolon and dash usage.
  • If you are not sure about the meaning of the word, use context clues and process of elimination to come to a final answer.

Vocabulary and General Knowledge: 50 questions, 50 minutes

It is important to brush up on general medical terminology and vocabulary that is frequently used in the nursing field.

Math: 55 questions, 50 minutes

Check out this video that goes in to detail about every topic you will see on the math section

This section of the test aims to evaluate your math skills. The test is looking for at least an 8th to 9th grade skill level.

Medication calculations are a very vital part in nursing and it is important to understand how this is done. Although the test is not necessarily looking for the student to calculate medication administration doses, the student score on the math section will help determine the student’s future ability to do the calculations correctly. For example, a student who scores in the 90% range and above, is likely to demonstrate the ability to calculate all levels of medication administration. Whereas, a student who scores in the 70-79% range, will likely need assistance in medication calculations and/or need remediation in math. Be sure to brush up on basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, decimals, ratio and proportions, and household measures. In addition, to general math rules.

A calculator will be provided.

Areas assessed: Numbers and algebra, Measurement and Data interpretation

Math Tips

  • Read the questions thoroughly and slowly. Reread if necessary. The order/value they are expecting may be different that you are anticipating.
  • Brush up on decimals, ratios, fractions, PEMDAS, percentages.
  • Know addition, subtraction, multiplication, division problems.
  • Be sure to know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions.
  • Brush up on common math rules. i.e. when adding a fraction, they must have the same common denominator.
  • You will be able to use a calculator. It will be provided by the testing center.


These topics are likely to be required by a nursing program if they required the course as a prerequisite.

Chemistry: 25 questions, 25 minutes

Topics to brush up on: atomic structure, periodic table, matter, chemical equations, chemical reactions, chemical bonding, and nuclear chemistry.

Anatomy & Physiology: 25 questions, 25 minutes

Topics to brush up on: anatomical structures, systems of the body, basic terminology for the subject.

Biology: 25 questions, 25 minutes

Topics to brush up on: photosynthesis, metabolism, cells, cell structure, cellular respiration, biology basics, biological molecules

Physics: 25 questions, 50 minutes

Topics to brush up on: newton’s Laws of Motion, rotation, energy, gravitation, friction, sound and waves, average speed, projectile motion, light and optics, and acceleration

The cost for taking the HESI A2 can rage from $35 to $70. The cost will vary depending on your school or program so make sure to confirm the cost with your school. 

Most tests are given at your schools testing center on campus, however some schools do allow you to take the test remotely using Proctor U at your home. The school or program you are applying to will be able to give you more details on how and where they administer the test.

The passing score will be different for each school and can vary between 60%-80%. 

Many programs will have a minimum passing score that you will need to achieve in order to be considered, schools will typically select applicants with the highest scores among other application factors.

Most schools do NOT require all subject areas of the so make sure to check with your school to see which sections they require before you start studying. It’s also not uncommon for there to be a score requirement for a certain section like math or science, for example your school might require at least a 75% on math but only an 80% composite score, which means you can score lower on other subject areas as long as your composite score meets the requirements.

In some instances schools will assign you points based on your score that are compiled with points for other factors like GPA, and your GPA specifically for science or math courses.

Yes. However every program has different restrictions on how many times you can take it and how long you need to wait in between taking it. Some schools allow up to 3 retakes while others only allow for one test attempt and some schools will make you wait 30-60 days before you can retest. 

The best thing you can do is to check with the program you are applying to and see what their requirements and restrictions are and plan accordingly.

Scores are provided immediately upon completion of each section and your cumulative score will be given when you complete all required sections of the exam. You can log into your Elsiever account at any time after taking the test to see your results again.

There are many ways to prepare for the HESI A2 but the best place to start is to take a diagnostic practice test to get an idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are. Smart Edition offers a free practice test in the link below. Once you have identified your weaknesses you should plan to spend the majority of your time focusing on those areas, this will help improve your score the fastest. 

Take our free practice test here

You should consider purchasing a study guide or online course, Smart Edition has some great options for you for this. You’ll want to jump in the lessons to brush up on any areas that need improving and supplement the lessons with our video lessons for each topic. Flashcards are also a great way to reinforce what you have learned to make sure it sticks. In addition to your studying schedule it’s really important to take as many practice tests as you can to become more familiar with the material and the test format. We have you covered on this with up to 5 practice tests you can take as many times as you like.

See more info about the Smart Edition HESI A2 online course here

After taking the test you can use your scores for 24 months to submit with your application to your program or school.

Yes, you will be able to use a calculator on the test but you don’t need to bring one. A four function calculator will be provided to you on the screen of the computer you are testing on.

Yes, you can go back to a question and you can also flag a question to return to it. However you can only do this for the section you are in. Once you have completed a section you can not go back and change your answer.

  • Go to the EVOLVE main website and choose I’m a Student 
  • Choose Register for Distance Testing → Register → Redeem/Checkout
  • You will then make an Evolve account, read registered user agreement, Choose Yes, I accept, SUBMIT
  • Once you have registered, you will be able to access My Content under the HESI Assessment Student Access link
  • Select Payments: Here you will be able to choose test date and location
  • Follow the prompts and Proceed to Checkout

You will receive individual scores for each subject area based on a percentage system as well as an overall cumulative score which is the average of all your individual subject areas scores. The scores are calculated by taking the number of questions you answered correctly divided by the total number of questions, this applies to both the subject area scores and the total overall composite score.

Once you receive your score you can share the score with any program you are applying to and that includes multiple schools if you want. This link gives detailed information for how to request your transcripts for the HESI A2. 

In the start of your test, there will be a list of each section that you are required to take for your school. You can start with any section and take them in any order you want. We recommend having a plan and knowing how you want to move through the sections of the exam.