HESI A2: My Experience and How to Successfully Pass the Exam

This article shares my experience taking the HESI A2 exam, and how I passed. In this article, I talk about each section that was on the test and how I felt about each one. I also included study materials that I found helpful for when I studied for the HESI. My hope for this article is to help others pass this exam with ease and little stress. Nursing Students HESI Article

HESI A2: My Experience and How to Successfully Pass the Exam

Last week, July 31st to be exact, I took my HESI A2 exam and scored a 90.4% overall! I have used this website multiple times in order to gain more knowledge on what to expect for the HESI and tips on how to study for such a daunting exam. Seeing how much of an impact some of these articles had on me, I am hoping that through my own personal experience I can help others prepare for the HESI. I will provide tips to help future test takers avoid any test anxiety and provide them different ways for how to study!

Anatomy and Physiology: 96%

This portion of the exam is what made me the most nervous, so I decided to complete it first. This was because I had no idea how specific or broad the questions were going to be. For the majority, I found most of the questions fairly easy and not detailed at all. However, there are very specific questions that are put into the exam that will definitely make you think. For those questions, I based it on what choice made the most sense to me, and past information I had studied from. I believe it is important to stick to studying the general knowledge of each chapter, then going into depth and memorizing every single, little detail. Therefore, do not spend time on studying how muscle contractions work, or how cellular respiration works. Instead, focus on the general concepts of each chapter (ex: anatomy of heart/blood flow through heart, the skin layers/basic function of it, and anatomy of the renal system). For this section, I used my PowerPoints that my professors made (so if you have any PowerPoints from your professors, use them). They provide you with all of the information you need, as well as extra details that you feel may be important for you to know. I also used Elsevier's HESI Admission Assessment Exam Review and the Mometrix study guide.

Vocab: 92%

The vocabulary section of the exam is very straightforward and easy to study for. You just have to memorize vocabulary words, along with their meanings (it is also useful to study a few synonyms to go along with the vocabulary word). For this section, I surprisingly knew a lot of the words on the exam, but there were multiple questions that I had to guess on. The exam focuses more on everyday vocabulary than medical terminology, but do not let that deceive you into thinking there will not be medical terms on the exam, because there will be. Just not as much as you think there would be. For this section, I used Elsevier's and Mometrix's study guide. I also used the McGraw-Hill's practice test workbook by writing down any of the vocab words I had not studied from the other two books. Another source that I had used was Quizlet (Hesi Vocabulary a2 Flashcards | Quizlet). I found all of these resources to be very useful, and I found multiple words that I had studied from these 4 resources to be on the exam.

Math: 86%

If you are stressing out about math, don't. It is basic math (ex: ratios, conversions, and fractions). I probably studied the least amount for this section, besides reading comprehension. You are provided with a basic calculator and scratch paper, which is very nice. I suggest focusing on conversions (I had at least 5 of them), fractions, ratios, Roman Numerals, and military time. If you are comfortable with doing all of those, then you should be set for this section! Also, always make sure to double check your answers; it's easy to mistake a number for a different one!

Grammar: 92%

This was another section I was really worried about. I have never been great at grammar. It has just never clicked with me. However, once I started devoting a lot of my study time towards this section, I was finally able to grasp it! For the most part, I found the questions easy to answer. As long as you study and understand each grammar rule and how it works, you should be good! Just focus on the general concepts for this section such as punctuation, word meanings, adverbs, and adjectives. Personally, I did not like Mometrix's section for grammar. I feel like they added too much-unneeded content. Instead, I would focus on using Elsevier's study guide. I also highly recommend taking practice tests for this section, which you can find online or in McGraw-Hill's practice test book.

Reading Comprehension: 86%

I definitely rushed through this section, so I believe I could have done better. I chose to do this section last, and I became short on time. I was not looking forward to finding out what would happen if I did not finish. This section was also the section I studied for the least. All you can really do to study for this section is take practice tests and more practice tests. Make sure to read each passage carefully, as well as the questions. Go back and reread in order to answer each question and to ensure you are getting each question correct. When studying, make sure to know the difference between the main idea and details, and practice fact versus opinion questions. I primarily used the McGraw-Hill's practice test workbook.


Overall, the test was not as difficult as I expected it to be. I felt very prepared by the studying resources that I utilized, and nothing on the test came to me as a surprise. I studied for over a month for this test. I know everyone is different, so give yourself the amount of time you think you will need in order to be successful! I hope this information will be helpful to anyone who reads this! I am always open to answering any questions. Below, I am going to list every resource that I used to study for the HESI! Thanks for reading!

Study Resources:

  • HESI Admission Assessment Exam Review (Elsevier)
  • HESI A2 Secrets Study Guide (Mometrix)
  • 3 HESI A2 Practice Tests (McGraw-Hill Education). They also have a study guide/review book as well!
  • PocketPrep (this is seriously the best app ever. I recommend buying the full version. It is so worth paying for, and it prepares you so well for the exam. They have a lot of questions that are similar to the A&P questions, and others as well.)
  • Crash Course A&P videos (Youtube)

My name is Gracie, and I am 19 years old. I attend Grand Canyon University and I am going into my second semester of sophomore year. I am hoping to enter into the nursing program and begin clinicals in the spring!

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