Hey Future Nurses!
As you are studying for the HESI A2, you may or may not have heard that the exam is crazy hard, maybe even non-passable. But it's really not, people be exaggerating sometimes. Especially if they did not study! Hehe
I'm going to highlight HESI A2 specifics, as well as general test taking pointers.
As I'm sure you're aware, there are 7 subjects covered on the exam. However, make sure you research the nursing school (or dental or other healthcare program) you're applying to, and see which subjects they require you to test.
Most schools only require 5 out of the 7 subjects. So double check.
Ok let's talk about exactly how you're going to smash the HESI A2 out of the water! I just all the study guides from readyforthehesi.org hella expensive but worth it just make sure you ACTUALLY USE IT PEOPLE, cos they don't allow refunds.
Anyhoo they also have a free HESI A2 practice test. I think it's like 50 or 70 free questions. I can't remember atm.
Anyhoo ok so this is what you REALLY NEED TO KNOW for the hesi a2, forget about everything else.
Lotsa students focus on the details and that's a wrong move and waste of time.
- Anatomy & Physiology - 30 Questions
- Focus on the general concepts of the body systems. Out of one entire year of anatomy and physiology, it will all come down to only 30 questions.
- Circulatory System - know the location of the superior vena cava, aorta, right/left atrium, pulmonary valve, tricuspid valve, inferior vena cava, right/left ventricle, aortic valve, bicuspid valve, pulmonary veins and pulmonary artery. Know the flow!
- Endocrine System - review these hormones: ADH, LH, FSH, oxytocin, serotonin, and estrogen. Know where they're secreted and their functions.
- Nervous System - know sympathetic vs. parasympathetic. Review cerebellum, cerebrum, medulla oblongata, nerves (Olfactory, Optic, and Vagus) and hypothalamus.
- Sensory System: review eye & ear anatomy.
- Immune System: know T-cells, B-cells, thymus, basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils, and plasma/thrombocytes.
- Do not:
- Over study. Or overthink, for that matter. Getting worked up about details will only serve to harm your score. The HESI only covers ~20% of two entire A&P semesters. Focus on the outline above or go over the chapter summaries and vocab at the end of your A&P textbook.
- Study commonly misused words pairs - bad/badly, lie/lay, affect/effect, among/between, amount/number, good/well, its/it's, farther/further, then/than, which/that, and fewer/less all may come up.
- Be able to identify adjectives and adverbs. Remember, adverbs do not modify nouns!
- Understand how to solve for subject-verb agreement. Be sure you can isolate the subject and the verb to make them match up. They'll put some tricky clauses to try and slip you up. Don't fall for it!
- Know what makes a simple/compound/complex sentence.
- Brush up on commas and semicolons.
- Do not:
- Over think it. If you're still having trouble breaking down grammar, hop on over to HESI A2 Study Guide – Ready For The HESI for a free HESI Grammar Practice Test. Also check out Pocket Prep's app for endless practice questions. Another hack***: get more in depth grammar explanation from a 5th Grammar Workbook. Yes, that's right, you're being tested over 4th - 5th grammar! This is prob like $10 or $15.
- Start small. Start from the smallest building blocks and work your way up. Study membranes, organelles, cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems.
- Understand functions such as cellular reproduction (cell cycle), cellular respiration (aerobic/anaerobic and fermentation), diffusion, and active transport.
- Have a general understanding of antibiotics, enzymes, microscopy, the scientific method, homeostasis, genetics (genotype & phenotype), and tonicity.
- Do not:
- Waste time on details, such as memorizing every single step of the Krebs cycle! You could spend your entire life studying biology and never finish. Stick to the basics and then use your critical thinking skills to put that general knowledge to use.
- Start small. Make sure you have a good understanding of each building block before you work your way up. Start with subatomic particles. Move to atoms, then to elements, then to the periodic table, then to compounds (and different types of chemical bonding), and lastly to chemical reactions. Having a solid foundation is key.
- Make sure you understand chemical formulas and how to balance reactions.
- Practice basic stoichiometry!
- Brush up on pH, buffers, gas laws, and specific heat.
- Do not:
- Let chemistry intimidate you simply because it is a struggle for many nursing students. If chemistry is your challenging subject, even one hour of tutoring may make all of the difference. Whether it is with us, or anybody else, tutoring can really give you the advantage.
- Also remember, for all sciences under HESI A2, it is general, 30 questions will be asked out of months long science class.
- Study the basics of fractions (adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing).
- Brush up on decimals and percentages. Be able to convert from fractions to decimals and relate them to percentages.
- Ratios and simple algebra will most certainly come up. You should know how to solve for X like you know the back of your hand.
- It's also highly important that you practice word problems. Word problems are the most commonly missed HESI math questions and repetition through practice will help you solve them faster!
- Do not:
- Simply memorize formulas and assume you can apply them on the fly. Practice, practice, practice! Math gets exponentially easier with practice! (Bonus points if you understood my math pun).
- Reading Comprehension - 50 Questions
- Identifying the main idea & topic sentence(s) will be helpful in detecting the purpose of the story. Practice being able to do this. Keep in mind the type of passage and author's tone as you work through these steps.
- Understand how to solve for context clues and be able to draw conclusions/form logical inferences. These skills will also help you determine if something is fact/opinion AND help you determine proper meaning of words, which most certainly will be asked of you!
- It's important to calmly read the passage, and find a balance between taking your time while avoiding overthinking. Remember, the main idea of the story is probably exactly what it seems!
- Do not:
- Assume that all details within scientific research and passages that include historical timelines are fact. Opinion statements may be within passages of these types and can give a clue to author's motive.
- Ignore the Table of Contents or Index, if provided - valuable information might be included here.
- Wing it. Many students think they can just handle this section on the fly. Unfortunately, they're usually wrong. There are tried and true exercises to help you own this section!
- Vocabulary - 50 Questions
- Understand that the test will include words you have never seen. This is because standardized tests focus more on problem solving than straight up knowledge.
- Look at these questions like a puzzle for which you need context clues to solve. Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself:
- Are there any prefixes/suffixes that change the meaning of the word?
- Are there any synonyms and antonyms?
- Is the explanation of the missing word actually included within the sentence?
- Are there specific examples within the sentence that help define the missing word?
- Do not:
- Stress over the sheer volume of words in the English language. The truth is, using study guides and practice tests will prepare you to fool the test without being a human dictionary. If you've taken the SAT (or any state mandated exam), you're already familiar with how standardized tests force you to rely on your skills using context clues rather than merely knowing what the meaning of 'favor' is, for example. Hint: favor has no less than 6 different definitions; it's all about your problem solving skills!
Now let's talk some general test taking tips...
- Take practice tests. Review and understand the practice test questions and fully explained answers/solutions. These insights will prove to be invaluable for you. Many HESI A2 students say practice questions really gets them ready.
- Read the full question! Digest the question, and try to come up with the answer before seeing the choices.
- If you cannot confidently answer a question, it's ok to move on. In fact, you need to move on. Budgeting your time is an extremely valuable skill.
- There will be questions that you do not know the answers to. However, you will be prepared to use your knowledge to rule out/cross out incorrect answer choices.
- Trust your gut. Don't go back and change answers due to overthinking. Trust what you see on the paper.
- Personally, I always suggest to end studying and relax the night before the test. I never find it helpful to stay up all night cramming the night before the exam.
- We've focused on studying, but it's also incredibly important to RELAX! Maintain a calm disposition during the test. Studying hard will not serve you if you blank out during the test due to anxiety.
- If your nerves do get the best of you and you find that you are not thinking clearly, close your eyes. Inhale for 5 seconds, and then exhale through pursed lips for 5 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Open your eyes. Resume the test. Exhaling through pursed lips activates your parasympathetic nervous system and helps you regain control of your mindset. ;-)
With all of this in your back pocket, you can
make the choice to get it right the first time.
Most importantly, just practice test taking strategies and be comfortable taking standardized tests. If you know how to do this, you're already 80% there. DM me for any questions.
I know applying for medical programs or nursing programs
that require the HESI is effin hard and really effin stressful. Okurrt. GOOD LUCK!