Hello, I applied to UTHSC Houston for spring 2013 and am waiting to hear back from them (November can't come soon enough!!). I took the HESI back in July. This is the info I was given along with my critical thinking scores...
"This exam is a four-choice, multiple-choice test. All answers are correct. However, each choice reflects a different degree of critical thinking skills.
Scores range from 0-1000. The higher your score is, the better your ability to think critically within the discipline of nursing.
In addition to a total score on this exam you will receive scores on five sub-categories of critical thinking:
- Problem Solving: These questions refer to the process of inquiry in which the nurse seeks multiple facts to remove obstacles or resolve patient care problems.
- Biases and Ethical Dilemmas: These questions address ethical, legal, and moral issues, as well as biases nurses may have about patients and others.
- Argument Analysis: These questions refer to situations in which the nurse seeks to resolve conflicts or disagreements by considering multiple points of view.
- Analysis of Data: These questions address the need to interpret patient data correctly, and decide if further nursing action is required."
The fifth sub category is "Prioritization of Care" which isn't listed here, but the title is pretty self-explanatory.
There were 30 questions on the critical thinking portion. But it's been a few months since I took the test, so I don't remember the questions that I had.
Many people found the book "Fundamentals Success A Q&A Review Applying Critical Thinking to Test Taking" helpful in studying for this section. I bought this book as well, but unfortunately this was after I already took the test.
I can see how it would help you to prepare for the types of questions given on the HESI, though.
Basically, you need to try to think like a nurse. Before you do anything else, make sure you understand what the question is asking.
Read it CAREFULLY, recognize the keywords in the question, and recognize who the "client" is in the question. Then critically analyze each of the options in relation to the question. You can usually eliminate at least 2 of the answers fairly easily.
For "prioritization of care" questions, remember ABC (airway, breathing, then circulation). Meet the patient's physiological needs before psychological ones (like safety/security).
Best of luck to you! Hopefully we'll both make it into UTHSC.