Get Your HESI Straight!

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

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2 Comments

  1. Candi Grantham

    Hi! I have been receiving your newsletters and love everyhing you are placing on here. I am about to be a senior nursing student in this 4 year program and I take the Med Surf Hesi in a week. Can you give me any advice? All the ones before me say think like I am in a perfect world. Well I have been taught to think so critically and opposite I Dont know how. I need a 900 on this hesi to replace a 68 I made on he Neuro exam can you help me please????? Candi

    • It’s good advice to think like you’re in an ideal situation. For example, if you have an option of which nursing action to take, and one action would take you a LONG time, but the other one was quicker, you can’t pick the “quicker” action simply because you think you wouldn’t have time to do the longer nursing action in real life. The truth is, the longer nursing action is probably the better one to take in an ideal world, whether you would have the time to do it in the real world or not.

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