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Everything You Need to Know to Pass the HESI Exam

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The path to becoming a professional nurse is a winding one. While you might have initially set out with dreams of treating those in need, chances are that you've spent more time with your nose in a textbook than you have actually caring for patients. In order to advance to the more hands-on portion of your career, you'll need to take the HESI A2 multiple choice exam. Also known as the Evolve Reach Admission Assessment exam, it is used by nursing schools to screen applicants for admission.

Developed by the Health Education Systems Incorporated, the HESI A2 exam is made up of nine sub-tests to gauge a student's understanding of medical vocabulary, basic math and reading comprehension. There is also a personality test that, while not graded, gives insight into a test-takers psyche. Check with your nursing school before registering for the exam to ensure you are studying for the test they require. In many cases, the HESI A2 exam is a deciding factor when determining whether or not an applicant should be granted admission into a nursing school.

With so much on the line, the HESI A2 exam can seem daunting. Thankfully, Exam Edge is here to help. Keep reading to understand how to best prepare for the test.

HESI Sections

The HESI A2 is comprised of nine sub-sections. They are:

  • Vocabulary and general knowledge
  • Basic math skills
  • Grammar
  • Reading comprehension
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Personality
  • Learning style

Not all students will take all nine sections. In fact, many schools only require the first four tests listed above. Because different colleges have different HESI A2 standards, the number of questions on the exam can vary dramatically. Generally speaking, each section takes between 20 and 60 minutes to complete. Check with your school to determine which sections you'll need to complete to be considered for admission.

Preparing for the Test

As with any standardized test, there are a number of strategies to try when studying for the big day. Overall, it helps to be as familiar as possible with the test itself. Get a copy of a practice test so that the first time you're seeing the HESI A2 isn't the day of the test. Even just flipping through a practice test to better understand the structure of the exam can give you valuable insights into the actual test.

Of course, taking the practice test goes even further to familiarize you with the content. The journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest conducted a study of the best ways to prepare for a test. Time after time, they found that practice tests were the most effective form of preparation. With that in mind, set a timer and tackle the practice test. Your results, good or bad, will set a baseline for which to improve upon.

Depending on how many sub-sections of the test you take, scores can range from 750 to 900. While there is no formal passing or failing score, nursing schools have various minimum scores you'll be required to meet in order to be accepted.

Other Study Strategies

Once you have your practice test results, look back through the highs and lows, no brainers and tough questions. You'll start to notice gaps in your knowledge. Use a highlighter to flag incorrect responses. It will be easy to assemble a study guide after you know exactly what your problem areas are. Flash cards can also help you keep track of tricky vocabulary words and concepts that are still confusing.

You may want to form a study group with classmates or friends who are also prepping to get into nursing school. Many people justify skipping out on study sessions when they don't have friends to hold them accountable. Schedule regular study sessions and you're sure to benefit from routine. You'll also have peers to bounce ideas off when trying to comprehend difficult subject matter.

Benefits of Taking the HESI Exam

here's no better way to kickstart your nursing career than acing the HESI A2 exam. Your score can be your ticket into the school of your choice. Those who are already in nursing school may need to pass the test in order to receive their degree or get into their dream internship program. The HESI A2 exam is also a good indicator of whether or not you'll be successful in the healthcare industry.

The exam is also more flexible than other traditional standardized tests. The sub-sections allow students to shine in their areas of expertise. This can be a boon to applicants who have great scores on some sections and find themselves more challenged by others. Ultimately, schools want well-rounded students who have the capacity to learn new concepts. HESI A2 is a great test of such skills.

Get the Help You Need to Pass the HESI Exam

Support for the HESI A2 exam is just a few clicks away. If you're worried about your test prep plans and need help strategizing for success, Exam Edge has got your back. If you haven't already done so, check out our nursing page for study tips and practice tests for all kinds of exams.

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