Hesi a2 entrance exam tips!

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by sarah_the_leo sarah_the_leo (New) New

So I know that there's a ton of threads on allnurses that discuss the HESI A2 Entrance Exam, but I felt like I needed to talk about my experience with the exam and offer any advice that hasn't been mentioned so far.

In order to be admitted into the BSN program at TAMUCC, I needed to take the HESI A2 with Critical Thinking. Here are my scores when I took the exam the first time in June:

(1) Reading Comprehension 86.00%

(2) Meaning-Word Use 89.00%

(3) Conclusions 71.00%

(4) Implications 88.00%

(5) Understanding 88.00%

(6) Grammar 94.00%

(7) Vocabulary & General Knowledge 92.00%

(8) Biology 96.00%

(9) Chemistry 92.00%

(10) Anatomy & Physiology 84.00%

(11) Math 96.00%

Cumulative Score (not including critical thinking): 91.43%

Critical Thinking Overall Score: 760 (out of 1000)

Some background about me:

I am very strong in liberal art-related subjects such as philosophy, grammar, syntax, english, etc. & my worst subjects are chemistry, biology, & math (or so I thought). Not too sure what happened with the "conclusions" section of reading, though. Anyway, I combatted my weaknesses by studying those first. I obsessed with studying basic chemistry and biology principles such as the periodic table and cell structures, & combed YouTube for related videos. I suggest the YouTube channel "CrashCourse" for starters. Their videos are extremely informative & incorporate humor & other fun facts to help you remember the material. I did something similar to study the math section. As ridiculous as this is going to sound, I had forgotten how to solve fraction problems. I know. How I've gotten by this far without using fractions is a skill at this point. I took it back SEVERAL notches & relearned how to multiply, divide, subtract, add, and rearrange fractions from YouTube videos geared towards elementary kids. Say what you want, but it totally saved me. Most of the math part, I'll admit, I solved with the on-screen calculator that was provided.

Since it was my first time taking this exam, I was really happy with my results. I studied for about a month & a half before the exam, approximately 2 to 3 hours every other day. I relied heavily on the practice questions & rationales in Mometrix' 3 HESI Admission Assessment Practice Tests book & McGraw Hill's 3 Evolve Reach (HESI) A2 Practice Tests book. Additionally, I skimmed Saunders 2014-2015 Strategies for Test Success by Linda Anne Silvestri & Angela Silvestri to get a feel for the types of critical thinking questions I'd be asked. Because I wanted even more critical thinking questions to practice with, I went ahead & also bought the third edition of Fundamentals Success: A Q&A Review Applying Critical Thinking to Test Taking by Patricia Nugent & Barbara Vitale since recommendations kept popping up on forums I'd stalk on allnurses.

So... TAMUCC currently recommends a score of 80% or better on the cumulative section and an 800 or better on the critical thinking section in order to be "competitive". After finding this out, I was pretty disappointed in my 760 CT score. I didn't want to take the chance at applying with a CT score I knew was subpar by their standards, I started studying again & scheduled another test date. I took the test again today & since I was able to click on whichever section I wanted to start with first, I chose critical thinking. I knew that since I was satisfied with my cumulative score, I would only retake the critical thinking part (even though I had to pay for the whole test again--another $100, by the way! :dead:). Anyways, it took me about 25 minutes & I got an 880! :D SUPER relieved.

What did I do differently the second time around? Well, since I knew I was happy with my cumulative score, I did not study any of those sections. I instead focused on critical thinking development, since I have not taken a single nursing course that would've prepared me for the types of questions I faced. I honestly believe that the Fundamentals Success book I mentioned earlier in my post helped me. It came with an interactive CD that let me feel the testing pressure--a timer on-screen, a calculator, multiple-choice questions, feedback. Excellent preparation, in my opinion. Nextly, I studied the Saunders Strategies for Test Success book a LOT more the second time around. The most vital tips in that book were to focus on the ABCDE (Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disease Processes, Everything Else) method of prioritization and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (Physiological, Safety/Security, Love/Belonging, Self-Esteem, Self-Actualization). Other tips included avoiding close-ended answer choices (ones that include "never", "always", "only", etc. in the phrasing) and picking the "umbrella answer choice" if the others are all very similar. At the end of the book, about a hundred practice questions & rationales are provided, but the Fundamentals Success book is almost all practice questions.

So what advice would I give a student prepping for the HESI A2 Entrance Exam?

  • Borrow or purchase some of the books I mentioned above. With the Mometrix book, I suggest sitting down in a quiet room with no distractions to put yourself in "test mode". Then, set up a timer & calculator on your computer. The timer is to simulate the on-screen countdown that the test will have (I had four hours to complete the exam, so I set up the timer on my computer to count down from four hours). The calculator, which is available throughout the entire exam, should be accessible when you're simulating the test. I strongly suggest training yourself to use the mouse to click the on-screen buttons instead of your keyboard's keypad; you may not be able to click the numbers on the testing center's keyboard (I couldn't with mine). This will help you assess your time as accurately as possible. Once a week, I would sit in my room with all that I described above, & answer the practice test from beginning to end. When I was finished, I read each rationale at the end of the section (even if I got the question right) to assess what I needed to work on or if I understood the questions correctly. This is the most important tip I can offer you.
  • Memorize the few most common elements from the periodic table (eg. carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, potassium, sodium, hydrogen, etc). The testing center will not provide you with a periodic table (at least the two centers I went to didn't), so memorizing a few elements' properties/locations/atomic mass/etc. will eliminate any anxiety should a related question arise on the chemistry section.
  • DON'T CRAM. If it's been awhile since you took biology, for example, (the last time I took it was in high school-- I take microbiology this upcoming semester), then give yourself enough time to learn the material instead of memorizing it. Learning it in-depth will help you with conceptualizing, which is the big idea.

I realize now that I wrote WAY more than planned, so please comment below if you have anything to add or ask! Before you comment, please respect that these are my opinions & experiences related to the HESI A2 w/ Critical Thinking exam, & may differ from your own. I am eager to answer questions, & if you don't have any questions, please let me know if these tips helped you in any way!

Thanks for reading!!

--Sarah (TAMUCC Class of 2017 hopeful)

dianah, ADN

Specializes in Cath Lab/Radiology. Has 47 years experience. 9 Articles; 3,269 Posts

Thank you for taking the time to post your experience!

Moving this to the HESI forum. :)

Thanks again!

adcinhae

adcinhae

31 Posts

Hi Sarah!

I am a TAMUCC class of 2017 hopeful as well. I just applied for Spring 2016 eline. What about you?

sarah_the_leo

sarah_the_leo

7 Posts

Hi, adcinhae!

I applied this past summer for the Spring 2016 Face-to-face BSN program-- I'll find out if I was accepted before the end of October! Super nervous!! When do you find out, do you know?

adcinhae

adcinhae

31 Posts

Sarah, I've heard the face to face students have already received their letters. Did you get accepted?

I applied for the spring 2016 eline program. We had to do a proctored writing sample today and interviews will be on Wednesday. We should find out by the end of the month of acceptance or denial.

gio21

gio21

2 Posts

I took my HESI a few months ago and passed every section except for the Reading Comprehension. The nursing school I was applying for at the time required a minimum score of 75 on the reading and, I received a 74. With that being said, does anyone have any tips on how to study for this section.

Thanks.

born_this_way

94 Posts

Thank you!!! Do you have any quizlet cards available? I will be testing for Hesi A2 soon :)

sarah_the_leo

sarah_the_leo

7 Posts

Hi adcinhae, sorry for the super long delay! I did in fact get accepted and I'm in my first semester of nursing school!

I hope you were accepted as well!

sarah_the_leo

sarah_the_leo

7 Posts

Hi gio21,

I would consider myself pretty skilled in Reading Comprehension/Grammar, so I took every single practice test I could get my hands on-- if there was a question that I missed, I would Google the type of question it was (ex: plurals and sentence structure) to learn more about it. My roommate struggled with Reading Comprehension and one tip that I gave her was to think about how you would relay the point of the story/article to someone who hasn't read it yet. If you can do that, that's the main idea of the article-- a question that I've always seen them ask in that section. I hope that helps a little!

sarah_the_leo

sarah_the_leo

7 Posts

Thank you!!! Do you have any quizlet cards available? I will be testing for Hesi A2 soon :)

Hi born_this_way!

I don't have any quizlet cards of my own, but when I was studying for the HESI A2 I searched "hesi a2 biology" or "hesi a2 anatomy and physiology"/"hesi a2 a&p" on quizlet. I binge-studied a TON of those card sets in preparation for the exam--all of them are super helpful!

Hope that helps!

Xorknup84

Xorknup84

70 Posts

I got a 91.43% cumulative and an 880 critical thinking, also! I'll be starting the TAMUCC eLine program Fall 2018, as well. If anyone has any tips for eLine, please share!