My class took the HESI a few weeks ago, just before graduation. Yeah, we had a lot of input to our faculty about their timing and implementation of the HESI! Anyway, I passed with a 983, which I thought was pretty good considering that we never had exposure to the HESI-RN, not once in our program. Also, the great folks at HESI updated the material in conjunction with NCLEX, so we were hit with a few areas that were not incorporated or barely touched on in our program (Disaster Preparedness, for example). However, I noticed that the folks in my class who did well on the HESI had these things in common:
1. Lots of Questions - Do at least 200 questions every week from NCLEX review books, starting now. My favorites were Lippincott's Review, Saunder's Review, and Nursing Made Incredibly Easy's NCLEX Questions. Find a few that work for you. I actually used them to study the content for our course tests, too!
2. Review - Note areas where you are not strong and review, review, review. If you need to make flash cards, that's fine, but you will need to know more than the regurgitation of this material. You need to know how to apply unique situations to the concepts and find the BEST answer. If there is an NCLEX review course available through your school, do it. If not, think about starting your own study group. Sometimes other people can make concepts clearer by explaining things in their own words.
3. Improve Your Odds - Pick up a guide that outlines the common pitfalls and strategies for eliminating wrong answers. I used Kaplan, but there are a lot of them out there. From my experience, the HESI pulls out some obscure information, so you may not have even covered the topics they will throw at you. But if you know how to whittle down the odds against you, you may luck into the right answer. And you don't have to pay top dollar for the strategy guides. A one or two year old one will be just fine. Even though the content changes, the strategies don't.
4. Lessen Anxiety - This is the most important one! DO NOT PANIC!!! :uhoh21: While it may seem that a lot is riding on this one test, you will defeat yourself if you forget that it is just one more test in a long series of tests. It does not reflect how good you are in a patient's room or how you will react in a real-world situation, and it will not define you as a nurse. It is a written (okay, computerized) test. You must eliminate stinky thinking and try to soothe test anxiety. Remember to breathe before, during, and after each question. Maybe even get a massage the morning before you go take the test. The questions will seem harder and and possibly weirder as you go, but it is designed that way. The HESI Exit is looking for you to set a pattern and string together right answers until they become too hard. It is a game of "Stump the Chump", so don't let that throw you. Every one of my classmates said they took a break at some point in the test. So if you feel overwhelmed during the test take a break, look up at the ceiling, find your happy place, do what you have to do to keep yourself focused. And the ones who did the very best on the HESI from my class said they just didn't let the anxiety get to them.
Have faith in yourself and you will make it through this....then, next step NCLEX!!!