What is the HESI A2 exam?

The HESI entrance exam is a computerized multiple-choice test used to screen applicants and test academic readiness for nursing schools and programs in the United States. The HESI exam consists of eight main sections: Mathematics, Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, Grammar, Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, and Physics. Before preparing for the test, make sure to ask your desired school or program which of the sections you will take during the test, as most schools only choose between 5-6 of the sections for the applicants to take.

The following table summarizes the structure of the HESI exam:

Section

Number Of Questions

Time Limit

HESI A2 Math

50 Questions + 5 unscored questions

50 Minutes

HESI A2 Reading

50 Questions + 5 unscored questions

60 Minutes

HESI A2 Vocabulary

50 Questions + 5 unscored questions

50 Minutes

HESI A2 Grammar

50 Questions + 5 unscored questions

50 Minutes

HESI A2 Biology

25 Questions + 5 unscored questions

25 Minutes

HESI A2 Chemistry

25 Questions + 5 unscored questions

25 Minutes

HESI A2 Physics

25 Questions + 5 unscored questions

50 Minutes

HESI A2 Anatomy & Physiology

25 Questions + 5 unscored questions

30 Minutes

Total

335 questions

335 Minutes

 

How Do I Study for the HESI A2?

  1. Create an organized study plan and stick to it. Understand how much time you have until you are going to take the HESI A2 and create a breakdown of what you are going to study each day or week. We suggest you focus on specific topics each week, so that each day you can cover a different subtopic. However, you should schedule the study plan that you feel most comfortable with, as you know yourself the best.
  2. Understand what your weakest subject is and focus on it when you begin your studying. A good way to identify this is by using free HESI practice test or HESI exam sample questions.
  3. Utilize Practice resources. The best way to prepare for testing day is to practice under real-life testing conditions, and answer the types of questions that you will face on the real HESI exam. Make sure you treat each HESI A2 practice test as if it’s the real test. The sooner you do this in your studies, the more likely you will get to testing day with less stress and pass it with ease.

 

Our full Prep Pack for the HESI test is coming soon (which will include a full HESI A2 practice test, detailed explanations, intricate study guides and much more!)

 

Free HESI Practice Test Questions

HESI A2 Math sample question

The Math subtest is mainly comprised of these topics: fractions, ratios, proportions, percentages, word problems, and other basic math skills. About 60%-70% of the questions will most likely be on those subjects. Other subjects you might encounter are: Rate, Military Time; and Algebra. You will have 50 questions to answer with a 50 minute time limit and you are allowed the use of a 4-function calculator.

Here is a math question you are likely to encounter in the real HESI Math:

In one classroom, 12.5% of the students own at least one pet. If there are 32 students in the classroom, how many students do not own any pets?





 
Answer & Explanation|

 HESI A2 Reading sample question

The Reading subtest will present the test taker with short passages, short stories, excerpts from magazines and academic papers followed by a series of questions on each of these examples. The questions will concentrate on: Main ideas, Supporting details, topic sentences, tone and mood, authors purpose, and distinguishing facts and opinions. There will also be questions that would require you to interpret pie charts, flow charts, maps, bar graphs etc. You will have 50 questions to answer with a 60 minute time limit

Here is a reading question you are likely to encounter in the real HESI Reading:

Read the passage below before answering the question.

PhD students who are interested in tutoring BA students are asked to submit their nominations to the secretary of the PhD department no later than Friday, July 25. For a complete list of all exercises, see attachment.

Which of the following is the most likely reason for using an underline in the above message?





 
Answer & Explanation|

HESI A2 Vocabulary sample question

The Vocabulary subtest covers the following topics: root words, prefixes, suffixes, context clues, and multiple meaning words. Most questions will require you to understand a specific word and its meaning, and to answer those questions you will need an extensive knowledge of the concepts presented above. You will have 50 questions to answer, with a 50 minute time limit.

Here is a vocabulary question you are likely to encounter in the real HESI Vocabulary:

It is very rare to see green turtles off the coast of California; ________, during the summer they can be found among the rocks. Which of the following words best completes the sentence above?





 
Answer & Explanation|

HESI A2 Grammar sample question

The Grammar subtest is comprised of the following subjects: identifying grammatically correct sentences, punctuation rules, identifying complete and incomplete sentences, how to use the various parts of speech, and using homophones and homographs correctly in a sentence. You will have 50 questions to answer, with a 50 minute time limit.

Here is a grammar question you are likely to encounter in the real HESI Grammar:

Which of the following phrases follows the rules of capitalization?





 
Answer & Explanation|

HESI A2 Biology sample question

The Biology HESI test focuses on: Tissues, Organs Macromolecules, Metabolism, Cells, Cellular Respiration, Mitosis and Meiosis, Photosynthesis, and Genetics and Heredity. Make sure that you also understand the scientific method as well (question, research, hypothesis, experiment, evaluation, and conclusion). You will have 25 questions to answer with a 25 minute time limit.

Here is a biology question you are likely to encounter in the real HESI Biology:

Small, lipid-soluble molecules move in and out of cells by___





 
Answer & Explanation|

HESI A2 Chemistry sample question

The Chemistry HESI test covers these topics: Scientific notation, Atomic structure, the periodic table, chemical bonding, balancing equations, Oxidation-Reduction Reactions, and Acids and Bases. You will have 25 questions to answer, with a 25 minute time limit.

Here is a chemistry question you are likely to encounter in the real HESI Chemistry:

Mg + 2HCl → MgCl2 + H2 

Which of the following statements correctly describes the reaction above?





 
Answer & Explanation|

HESI A2 Physics sample question

The Physics HESI test is comprised of: Newton’s laws of Motion, Velocity, Rotation, Energy, Friction, Optics, Acceleration, and Waves. It is important to note that most nursing schools do not require students to take this subtest, so you should ask your desired nursing school if you need to take it. You will have 25 questions to answer, with a 50 minute time limit.

HESI A2 Anatomy & Physiology sample question

The Anatomy & Physiology subtest covers the following topics: Body planes, Cells and Tissues, Histology, Mitosis and Meiosis, skeletal system, muscular system, circulatory system, immune system, endocrine system, nervous system, reproductive system, and cardiovascular system. You will have 25 questions to answer, with a 30 minute time limit.

Here is a A&P question you are likely to encounter in the real HESI A&P:

Which of the following is not carried out by the respiratory system?  





 
Answer & Explanation|

 

Free HESI practice tests coming soon!

HESI Scores

The HESI test scores are given in percentages, on a 0%-100% scale. The applicant gets a percentage score for each of the HESI’s subtests. In addition, a cumulative score (in other words – a general score) is given based on the average of all of the subtests scores.

It is important to know that each nursing school or program sets its own passing grade, though usually the passing composite score ranges between 70%-90%. Therefore, when preparing for the HESI exam, we advise students to check the admission requirements of their desired program.

Test-takers will receive their score right after they finish submitting the test, as it will appear on their computer.

 

Is the HESI A2 Difficult?

The HESI test can be a challenging test to pass. The average cumulative score on the test is 49%, while most nursing programs require a passing score of at least 75%. With the right study plan and practice materials though, you will find that getting your desired score could be much easier.

Here are a few tips to help with your upcoming test:
  1. When taking the test, make sure to read the question carefully before answering it. The test makers tend to create distracting answer choices, so make sure that you don’t overlook any important details of the question.
  2. In the Math section, make sure you have mastered basic concepts such as conversions, ratios, and fractions. The math section heavily relies on these concepts.
  3. In the Anatomy & Physiology section, focus your attention on general concepts such as: Hormones, Cellular transport, general anatomy, etc. and don’t get stuck on tiny details. Because this section involves a lot of material that you will need to memorize and understand, make sure you start going over it early on in your studying.
  4. In the Reading Comprehension section most passages are short, so we advise that you read through the passage first and then look at the question carefully and try to understand exactly what the question is asking.
  5. In the Grammar section of the test make sure you understand how to correctly spell words (go over words that are tricky to spell like scissors, accommodate, etc), when to capitalize certain words, the correct use of punctuation, differences between the various parts of speech and how to use them, and how to identify different types of sentences.

 

FAQ’s

How many questions are on the HESI A2?

The HESI A2 has 295 questions + 40 unscored questions (not including the personality sections), and each sub-test has between 25-50 questions.

How many times can you take the HESI A2?

Each individual nursing program decides how many times the HESI A2 can be taken by applicants in an academic year, but most of them allow applicants to take the test multiple times in a year.

How much does HESI A2 cost?

The current HESI A2 admission price (the price you pay to take the test) is 42$.

Is the HESI A2 all multiple-choice?

Yes, all the questions in the HESI A2 exam are multiple choice.

How long is the HESI A2 exam?

The full HESI A2 is 335 minutes long (that is only relevant if you take all sections of the test, which in most cases you won’t). Each subtest has a time limit that ranges between 25-50 minutes.

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