Just Took the HESI A2! Advice:
I literally just got out of my HESI A2 exam, and I did very well for as nervous as I was!! I spent about 2 hours (or more) every day, for two months brushing up on my math, chem, grammar, vocab, and A&P knowledge, and I earned a 92% overall (yay!).
Given my scores, I thought I would issue out some advice based off how I felt before, what I felt was lacking in available advice, and how I feel now - so I hope this helps. I did not have to take Biology or Physics, so if you need help in those areas, I'm sorry!
1. Study study study.
1a. Books: I used the Elsevier Ed. 3 study guide and I felt it was very beneficial. I can't emphasize how helpful it was because it took questions that came off previous HESI Exams. It WILL set you up for success if you read, review and work the problems. I also bought the MOMETRIX "HESI A2 Study guide secrets". It was horrible. I would not recommend the book unless you really want to test yourself - the questions are harder and NOT reflective of the actual exam.
However, there were some errors in the Elsevier book, as well as some areas that I experienced on the test that the book did not cover. (i.e. 2.2lbs is 1kg, not the other way around). But if you have a background in the testing areas, it is a good supplement to your knowledge. Work your way through the problems, and that is the best way to prepare.
1b. Websites. The websites I found most helpful for studying were:
Free Hesi A2 Practice Tests | HESI - Test-Guide.com
This has a lot of great, free practice tests. The only thing is it doesn't touch on Bio, Chem or Physics. The and RC are also limited. The rest (Math, Vocab, A&P) have unlimited questions though. I just took them over and over again.
If you search HESI A2 on Quizlet, there are lots of great study guides and resources available to test your knowledge. They have games and tests that you can practice on. If you are weak in some areas, it's a great way to brush up on your knowledge base.
Free HESI A2 Practice Test Questions - Prep for the HESI A2 Test
Both were extremely helpful. These websites have a bunch of questions for practice as well.
I wouldn't recommend paying for anything other than the Elsevier book. There are websites out there that offer bundles of 10+ tests to pay for, order and then take, but honestly, the "free" questions they give you are rubbish so I must conclude the ones you have to pay for are as well. They are way harder and totally unrelated to what you should be studying for.
2. General Content Pointers:
Vocab - I got a 92%. The terms in the Elsevier book will help you out immensely. If you're having a hard time, use flash cards and make sure you have a basic understanding of each word as well as the context it's being used in. If you don't know what a word means, you can generally figure it out in context.
Grammar - I got a 94%. Remember, practice makes perfect. If you're like me, you know what right looks like but you can't remember the WHY. So definitely study this area. The test focused a lot on "complete this sentence to make it grammatically correct" and "which of the following is incorrect?" You plug and play, identify the wrong word etc. But again, the Elsevier book has questions and practice questions which will help give you a feel for the actual exam.
Reading Comp - I got an 85%. Ironically this is usually my strong point so I didn't study as much. I would likely have done better had I studied it more, but I was worried about Math/Chem/A&P. There are a lot of thematic questions (do you understand the point?) and contextual questions. Use the Elsevier book to study.
Chemistry - I got an 84%. I was really sweating this section. It had been over 7 years since I took my last chem course, so I barely remembered anything. The Elsevier book really helps you out, and the knowledge is VERY basic. Try not to stress out about this aspect of the test. It's 30 questions of super basic knowledge - most of which you can reason out.
A&P - I got 100%. Oddly I was very worried about this portion because most people seem to have a difficult time with it, but I did very well. I also spent 2 days straight of studying and reviewing A&P alone. There's really no way for me to advise you on this section except, read through the Elsevier overview and identify areas (body systems) where you are not comfortable.
Math - I got a 94%. I was VERY worried about math as I am horrible at it. But take heart, there is a calculator you can use on the test. The book outlines most types of questions you will face. Look at conversions, fractions, decimals and know how to work out word problems. You can hand jam most of them, but like I say, a computer calculator is available.
Critical Thinking - this was an interesting section. There are no wrong answers but it does test your critical thinking skills in hospital and medical situations as a nurse. The score is out of 1000, with 1000 being the best score possible.
Personality and Learning Styles - these are just surveys of how your view yourself and your learning style.
3. Get some good sleep the night before
Cram all the way up until the day before. Then take a breather. Relax. Get to bed early and get some good sleep. Don't stay up all night studying or partying. I know that's pretty self-explanatory but the best way to take the test is to be relaxed and well rested.
4. Eat a good breakfast/lunch
Don't go into the exam hungry. Try to get a cup of coffee and a solid breakfast/lunch. Your body needs fuel and you don't want to get distracted by a growling tummy. The exam is up to 4 hours long, so that's a long time to be hungry. Also, bring a sweater in case you get cold.
If you study, you will do fine!! I was super stressed and worried about this test, but going into it I realized that I done my very best in studying for it, so worrying would accomplish nothing. And I was right: it is just a gauge of your knowledge base and education. Focus on your weak areas and practice practice practice. Know how you study and do that. If you're like me, you need organization, quiet, no distractions and lots and lots of self-written notes to really get these things in your head. But not everybody studies well that way.
6. Other study tips:
- Bring some peppermint into the exam with you (if it's allowed). This is supposed to help with focus and memory recall.
- Watch the clock. I didn't have an issue with time (1:50 left out of 4 hours), but I am a quick reader. There is a little clock in the upper right corner of the screen but you are your own time management. You take each section at your own pace, so you need to allow enough time for each. I would suggest starting out with your trouble areas (for me it was math, chem, and then Reading COMP because I knew that would take long) and then working your way down to the personality profiles etc.
I hope this helped. I tried to think of everything I wish I knew without breaking any ethical codes. It really is an easy test if you prepare. All the best!
MJJLast edit by Joe V on Jun 14, '18
Jul 28, '13Thanks for the advice! I am taking it in September and am trying to prepare myself the best I can.....I do not have to take the science portions so I am very happy about that....on the practice testshas been the hardest one (it's been a LONG time since I needed to use perfect grammar)....I need to really focus on that one. I have done much better on the math practice tests than I expected. I will for sure be using your adviceJul 28, '13I really appreciate the information and tips. Looks like I'm going to be grinding through some practice tests!Jul 30, '13Thank you for all of the advice and tips that you have given. I have the HESI book that you spoke of and I was looking for a tutor because I am not strong at all in math. I actually took the exam once in May and completly bomed on the math section. So, needless to say, I will have to retake it. But, I have been holding off on it until I could find a math tutor here in Jacksonville, Fl. But, I am having no luck in it. So, I am going to have to try to study it myself. If you can do it, then I should be able to do it as well. I am going to have to get a good study routine together. Thank you so much for your help.Nov 7, '13Quote from UTX14hey how was the test ???? UTX14I'm taking my test in two weeks and I'm so nervous ... thank you for the great advice!!Dec 1, '13Thanks!! Very informative. I take the exam on this Friday. Not as nervous after studying the Elsevier, but kind of skeptical about the vocab. Everyone has different reviews about the vocab section. Hopefully, I get a test that has majority of the words that are in the book.