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What Is The HESI Exam?

HESI is short for Health Education Systems, Inc. It is a series of examinations that are administered by Elsevier. They assess the student’s knowledge and mastery of subjects related to various health disciplines.

The Differnece Between The Two HESI Exams

The Health Education Systems, Inc. Admission Assessment (HESI A2) or Evolve Reach HESI A2 is mostly used by various nursing programs in colleges and universities to assess candidates on whether they can be admitted to nursing schools. Candidates are required to take it as a form of nursing entrance exam or when they are applying for post-secondary nursing programs because it determines and evaluates their capabilities.

Because of the strict regulation and accreditation criteria in nursing schools, most of them only admit student candidates that have a higher chance of passing the program. Thus, nursing schools utilize the HESI Admission Assessment to help them with their screening process.

HESI Practice Test test paper
HESI Practice Test multiple choice

The Health Education Systems, Inc. Exit Exams, on the other hand, is used to determine whether a nursing student has the ability to pass the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN exams. A lot of nursing schools make use of the HESI exit exams as a requirement for their students before they graduate. The exam is mostly similar to the NCLEX exams to prepare them. It will assure them that they might be able to pass the NCLEX exams if they pass the HESI exit exams.

To enter into a nursing program, the first challenge that candidates have to face is the HESI A2 exam. A lot of candidates try to prepare for their education by taking this nursing admission assessment. For you to understand how it works, this article will provide you with a brief HESI A2 study guide that has all the information you need to get started for the exam.   

How Can You Take The HESI Entrance Exam?

You must first sign up with Elsevier who administers and sponsors the exam. You must create an Evolve account at

You should go to the Evolve Learning System and click HESI Exams.

You can go through the exam registration for HESI.

After registering and having your account, you can then look for the Exam Payments and input the necessary information.

You can take it on your preferred location, date and time. The schedule all depends on your nursing school or testing center.

HESI Practice Test nurse pointing
HESI Practice Test proctor

Format And Content Outline

What does the HESI A2 exam consist of?

Candidates who want to take the HESI A2 may be required to complete at least nine exams which all have the multiple-choice test type. It contains both academic and personality questions. Nursing schools differ in their requirements, so it is best to research first what are the exams or sections that should be taken and its time limit in that institution.

The typical format and content of the HESI test are that it has a multiple-choice portion and a personality assessment test that is unscored, as shown in the chart below:

Test Name No. of Scored Questions Time Allowed
Anatomy & Physiology
Basic Math Skills
Test Name No. of Scored Questions Time Allowed
Learning Style
14 (unscored)
Personality Profile
15 (unscored)
Reading Comprehension
Vocabulary & General Knowledge

You can utilize a lot of study guides found on the internet to maximize your preparation for the GED test. Like we’ve mentioned earlier, you can take advantage of free GED classes online or other free GED classes and study materials.

HESI Practice Test student taking exam

What Subjects Are On The HESI A2?

Anatomy & Physiology

As an aspiring nursing student, you must be able to show your knowledge of the different body parts and their locations. You must know their functions and everything related to the human body, from the nervous system to your organs and bones.

Basic Math Skills

You should be able to know how to solve basic mathematical equations. You should know your multiplication, subtraction, addition, and division. Measurements are also crucial in this section.


This section focuses on topics such as photosynthesis, the cellular system, and other concepts in relation to the study of living things.


Your knowledge and understanding of the elements of the periodic table will be challenged. From atoms to chemical reactions, you must be familiar with all of them to pass it.


Grammar, Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary and General Knowledge makes up this section. You should study sentence constructions and the use of punctuations. You must brush up on the basics of the English language to be able to take this exam.

Personality Style and Learning Style

Some nursing schools require their candidates to take a personality assessment test. These are unscored questions and will be helpful for the application process.


This exam is often used by nursing programs that require Physics as a prerequisite course. It will cover topics such as Newton’s Law of Motion, Speed and Acceleration, among others.

What is HESI
HESI Entrance Exam
HESI Format
HESI Subjects
HESI Passing Score
HESI Study Tips

What Is The Passing Score For The HESI Exam?


The HESI A2 doesn’t necessarily have a pass or fail scoring system. It varies depending on the nursing school where the candidate applies although most nursing schools require scores ranging from 75% to 80%.


The HESI test will have percentage scores on each of the 10 subtests. The individual exam scores and the cumulative scores can then be gained.

As mentioned, the scoring will differ. Some schools may require specific scores for the individual tests while others may make use of cumulative scores. Also, some may even consider both individual exam scores and cumulative scores.

Individual Exam Score

It is when a nursing school or program will require their candidates to have certain percentage scores for each of the 10 subtests. An example would be that they would require at least a score of 75% for Grammar while a score of 80% for Biology. They may set up their own minimum score requirements for the HESI exam.

Cumulative Score

It is when you get the average score from all of the percentage scores taken from the 10 subtests. Two factors will influence the minimum scoring requirements for this: the school standards and the nursing program. According to Elsevier for HESI, most nursing schools prefer a cumulative score of at least 75% for their registered nursing programs and at least 85% for their licensed practical nursing programs.

How Can I See My HESI Scores?

After taking HESI, you’ll immediately receive your scores on each of the exam or subtest either on the computer or you will be given printed copies of the results.

How To Study For The HESI Exams?

Study Tip #1

You must research about the requirements for taking HESI A2. As been stated throughout this article, the regulations and policies differ for various nursing schools. They can set up their own minimum score requirements. They can also choose which subtest or section out of the 10 exams are required and should be passed. Because of these, you should know the topics that should be given more focus because some might require a higher percentage score than the others.

Study Tip #2

You should utilize HESI practice tests, HESI practice exams, HESI A2 quizlets, and HESI A2 study guides. With their help, you won’t feel lost in taking all of those exams. Since it is a series of examinations, you’ll have a lot of subjects to review. Keep in mind that you might have to take at least 9 subtests, and the exam will last for 4 hours or more. It can be a grueling task to study so many things. That’s why you have to study as wisely as you can. You need to make use of HESI math practice tests to get ready for the Basic Math Skills section, or HESI A2 vocabulary practice tests for the Vocabulary portion and the list goes on.

To give you an idea, here are some practice questions taken from a book about HESI A2West Coast University’s Hesi Entrance Examination: Study Guide:

For Basic Math Skills

  • 90,000 – 4,782 =
  • 62 x 34 =
  • 536 x 273 =
  • 2,706 x 75 =
  • 39 x 4,086 =
View Answer


1. Answer: 85,218

2. Answer: 2,108

3. Answer: 146,328

4. Answer: 202,950

5. Answer: 159,354

For Reading Comprehension

Our planet Earth is divided into seven separate layers. The outer layer is called the “crust” and appears to be approximately twenty miles thick. Next in line are the four layers of the “mantle.” These layers vary in thickness from 250 to 1000 miles. The remaining two layers are divided into the “outer core” and “inner Core.” The thickness of the outer core has been determined to be slightly more than 1200 miles, while that of the inner core is slightly less than 800 miles. Scientists calculate the location and depth of these layers by measuring and studying the speed and direction of earthquake waves. They have also determined that both temperature and pressure are much greater at the core than at the crust.

The thickest portion of the earth is the

  • Crust
  • Outer Core
  • Mantle
  • Inner Core
View Answer

Outer Core

“The thickness of the outer core has been determined to be slightly more than 1200 miles”

How many separate layers does the earth have?

  • Two
  • Twenty
  • Seven
  • Four
View Answer


“Our planet Earth is divided into seven separate layers.”

Other HESI A2 practice questions can also be found in Mometrix’s HESI A2 Practice Questions:

For Biology

If an organism is AaBb, which of the following combinations in the gametes is impossible?

  • AB
  • aa
  • aB
  • Ab
View Answer


It is impossible for an AaBb organism to have the aa combination in the gametes. It is impossible for each letter to be used more than one time, so it would be impossible for the lowercase a to appear twice in the gametes.

What is the typical result of mitosis in humans?

  • Two diploid cells
  • Two haploid cells
  • Four diploid cells
  • Four haploid cells
View Answer

Two Diploid Cells

Diploid cells reproduce by mitosis making daughter cells that are exact replicas.

How does water affect the temperature of a living thing?

  • Water increases temperature.
  • Water keeps temperature stable.
  • Water decreases temperature.
  • Water does not affect temperature.
View Answer

Outer Core

“The thickness of the outer core has been determined to be slightly more than 1200 miles”

Study Tip #3

You should have your own study schedule. The HESI exam will challenge you to make the most out of the time given to you. You have to schedule each topic and allot a time limit so you can comprehensively cover all of the sections. Being organized will help make studying more convenient.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can take it only once every 60 days. In a 12-month period, you are also prohibited from taking it more than 3 times.

One of the best tips is to take the HESI Exit exams. It will provide a nursing student the advantage because it is quite similar to the NCLEX exams. That’s why some schools require their students to pass these exams in their last semesters.

It depends on where you are taking the exam. Some schools will allow you to retake if you don’t meet the minimum requirements while others will have waiting periods. Some may also have limits to their retake exams. That’s why it is always crucial that you check the policy of the nursing school or nursing program you are applying for before taking the exam.


Elsevier also provides a remediation program that can help you improve your scores. It is also completely free.

It is available in colleges and universities and also in Prometric testing centers. You just have to search for the testing dates on the place where you want to apply for a nursing program. The dates and locations all depend on the nursing school or testing centers’ policies and schedule.

Yes, you are permitted to use one during the exam. But, you are not allowed to bring your own because an on-screen calculator will be provided for you.

Most colleges and universities have a time limit for taking the test. It usually takes 4 to 5 hours since candidates have to take at least 9 subtests.

The main test that aspiring nursing students have to pass to become an RN is the NCLEX-RN. It is a licensure exam that determines whether they have the knowledge and understanding of the various subjects in the healthcare field. Some schools also require their students to take the HESI Exit Exams before graduation. It is mostly similar to the NCLEX-RN, which means that passing it will give the nursing student a chance to become licensed. 

Nursing schools can be quite competitive. That’s why the HESI exams became so popular. Colleges and universities make use of the HESI A2 to screen candidates that can apply for their nursing programs. This is all because of the strict standards that the certification or licensure exams bring.