HESI A2: Don't stress- Tips from a recent test taker!

For months, I stalled before scheduling up my exam date. Since I graduated college 5 years ago, I was pretty concerned about being out of practice academically. I ate many "anxiety cookies" in the days leading up to the test. Nursing Students HESI Article Video


HESI A2: Don't stress- Tips from a recent test taker!

Yesterday, I finally took my HESI exam and I couldn't wait to post some tips for future test takers! Here are my scores along with some things I wish I would have known:

How To Pass HESI

McGraw Hill's practice exam booklet is a great way to familiarize yourself with the test format.

By far, the best study guide book is by Elsevier, the company that makes the HESI A2. Buy it, read it and take the practice questions. The guide shows you exactly what you need to study for the exam. The only section I would recommend doing additional studying for is the A&P section.


Math: 98%

Basic, basic math. You also get a simple calculator on the exam, which is wonderful! Know your conversations (temperature, metric, etc.) and be very comfortable working with ratios and fractions.

Reading Comprehension: 92%

Practice exams hugely helped prepare me for this section. During the test, make sure you read through the passage first and understand exactly what a question is asking before selecting an answer. To be safe, on most questions I wrote out "ABCD" on my scratch paper and went through the passage marking each wrong answer as I read to ensure I chose the correct answer and didn't rush through the question.

Vocabulary: 98%

Whoah there- did anyone purchase the Mometrix HESI A2 study guide? If you haven't: Stay away! If you have: Put it down and breathe a sigh of relief. The book contains a hefty list of medical terminology. I memorized everything from hepatosalpinx to carbuncle and not a single word I learned was even close to the content on the exam. For the vocabulary section, focus on general vocabulary. I'd say most of the content consists of words commonly used in everyday academia.

A&P: 84%

I way, way over studied for A&P, so it's unfortunate I achieved my lowest score on this section. Two weeks before the exam, I pored over the minutia of each chapter of my past anatomy textbook. Unfortunately, I focused on accumulating a knowledge of many details and skimmed general concepts, figuring this information was "too easy" for the exam. Wrong choice. When you're studying for the HESI A2 A&P section, focus on broad, general concepts (hormones, cellular transport, general anatomy, etc.) and don't get bogged down with the little details. I used the following site to brush up on my anatomy: Anatomy & Physiology Class Website. Excellent organization of information! Again, don't focus on the little details.

Grammar: 98%

Studying for this section concerned me. Whereas I know the rules of grammar, the last time I learned the technical terms for grammar rules (indirect object, weak clause, etc.) was years ago. Luckily, the exam didn't focus on identifying parts of a sentence via technical terms. I used the following site to test myself on grammar knowledge after studying and it was really helpful: Grammar Quizzes

Critical Thinking: 940/1000

This section is not included in any of the available HESI A2 study guides, so I was nervous to take it. The Critical Thinking section provides you with a variety of different situations you could encounter as a nurse and asks how you would respond in a given situation.

My advice... before answering a question

  • Identify the most urgent problem
  • Select the best response for treating the specific problem

Hope this information helps someone! Overall, the test was much less intense than I expected, so don't stress yourself out too much. Happy to answer any questions!


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Thank you so much for all this information.

Hi. Thank you for your tipsT I will be taking the HESI soon and I was wondering if there were story problems in the math portion?

So glad to hear it's helpful. Good luck, all!

Karen1357, I had several word problems in the math portion, but the overwhelming majority of questions I received were straight forward math (e.g. "3:4::x:100, solve for x" or "4.235/3.44"). Best of luck!

Thank you so much for this post! I have studied the ELSEVIER Edition 3 review book for about a month and decided to take some practice tests online and totally freaked because they were so hard and specific! I feel very confident after seeing your post and recommend everyone to buy the ELSEVIER book to study with. Really I cannot tell you how relieved I am after reading your info. Thanks so much for sharing! I take my test in 6 days!

I am scheduled to take my exam tomorrow morning. The grammar section has me very worried. It's been a very long time since i learned all the rules :(

Do you know if the vocab, grammar, and reading comp sections get added together to count as one single score?

No problem, Kierstan! Happy to help and good luck on your upcoming exam! If you're studying from the Elsevier book, you'll do great. The practice exams online and in some of the other study guides are definitely not indicative of questions on the actual exam. Sheesh!

Happy new year. :-)

Hi there, ilovemia112507! Sorry I didn't see this post sooner. I'm sure you figured it out, but the Vocabulary, Grammar and Reading sections are scored separately. Hope your test went well and happy new year!

Thanks for these tips. I just applied for the LPN to RN Program and have already been stressing over HESI Exams!

You're welcome, rmaddox! Good luck on your exam. You'll be golden if you study the Elsevier book. :-)

Hi was there a lot of fill in the blanks for math

Hi there,

I appreciate all of the tips! Did you take the LPN or RN HESI?