When it comes to getting information about HESI, nursing students (and pre-nursing students!) experience a lot of confusion. If you do a quick Google search for anything to do with HESI, you’ll quickly find a lot of results of varying quality. You’ll find everything from frustrated students posting on forums, advertisements from Elsevier (the publishers of HESI), and even individual schools trying to be helpful by offering remediation suggestions. There’s also several websites that actually provide misleading or flat-out wrong information…eek! How do you know what to believe? And how do you know whether the information is right or wrong?
Start by being informed: There are actually THREE types of HESI Exam!
First, you need to know that there are 3 different kinds of HESI Exams, and each one has a very different purpose.
- HESI A2: This is an Entrance Exam, and has nothing to do with nursing material. It’s usually given to pre-nursing students as part of the application process for nursing school. Every nursing school uses it a little bit differently, but at a minimum you’ll have to complete the Reading Comprehension and Math sections. There’s other science sections available, but not all schools require them.
- HESI Specialty Exams: The specialty exams cover a variety of topics, and you won’t have to take one of these until you’ve started your nursing classes. Each Specialty exam focuses on a single nursing topic, such as Pediatrics or Medical Surgical. Most schools that use the HESI Specialty exams will make you take them towards the end of the semester as a way to assess how much of the information you learned and retained. It may or may not count towards your grade, so check with your nursing department to find out what their policy is.
- HESI Exit Exam: This is the exam that mimics the NCLEX. It is cumulative and comprehensive, meaning that questions about info you’ve studied (or not studied) in any of your nursing classes could be on it. Some schools will require that you pass this test before graduating. For this reason, the HESI Exit exam has become somewhat controversial, as some students who have successfully completed all of their nursing classes may still be prevented from graduating if they don’t perform as expected on this test.
This is just a brief overview to get you started, and to help you evaluate the truthfulness of other websites you might find when searching for HESI information. There’s also lots of information about HESI available at Your Nursing Tutor, so make sure to look around the archives. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, make sure to leave a comment below with your question and we’ll see if we can get an answer for you!
Nicole Whitworth is the founder of Your Nursing Tutor. She has a BSN and an MA in Clinical Psychology, and has been a professional nursing tutor for over 12+ years. Nicole specializes in getting nursing students through school confidently and calmly so that everything finally “clicks”. She is also the creator of the Silver Bullet Study System, an easy-to-follow study method that automatically trains your brain to become a nurse at the same time that you study for your normal nursing classes.