Hello, everyone! I took the HESI A2 entrance exam this past Thursday for the first time and passed!!! I had to take 4 sections and receive a 75% or better, along with taking the Critical Thinking section. Here are the sections and the scores I've received:
Reading Comprehension: 88%
Anatomy & Physiology: 92%
Overall Score: 91.50%
Critical Thinking: 820/1000 - The nursing school I am applying to wants us to take this section just to see where we are in terms of thinking critically before being admitted into Upper Divisional nursing courses...so it doesn't really count towards us being admitted, but still, it's a high score for someone who hasn't been admitted yet!
Just wanted to give some advice on what I recommend as far as studying for the HESI A2 Entrance Exam.
1. Know what materials to buy. I strongly recommend the HESI A2 Exam Review, Ed. 3 book that is offered by Elsevier. I would use this book to study and review for Grammar, Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, and Math. I wouldn't exactly recommend it for the science portions because the material in the book is extremely vague and does not cover what you might need for the test in terms of Biology, Chemistry, A&P, and/or Physics.
For study material in terms of the sciences, I recommend your old textbook and a Cliff Notes review of the science section(s) you have to take.
I can not really offer a correct method for the Critical Thinking section (for those who have to take it) because it didn't really count for me and also there's no exact way to teach someone how to think critically. I feel like that's something you learn through experience, which I learned by being a CNA.
2. Learn how to manage your time. This is extremely important because the exam is timed. At my university, we have exactly 4 hours to take all sections. The exam started at 12 PM and the test immediately shut off at 4 PM (however, I didn't have this problem because I completed the test with an hour and 15 mins to spare). Still, for those who may not be as fast paced as others, take your time, but do not dwell on questions that take up too much of your time. Pace yourself and keep moving forward.
3. Study/Review well in advance. I started studying for the HESI about two months or so before I had to take the advance. Every day I focused on different sections and took practice tests at the end of each week. The night before, do a light study session or just take a break. Give your brain a rest and get a good nights sleep before your test.
4. Go into the test with positivity. I was extremely nervous days before my test. My friends kept telling me that I would be fine and that they knew I was going to pass, so with that extra encouragement and some self motivation, I was able to go in with less nervousness and anxiety. Tune out that extra noise and talk about the test once you get to your designated testing site. Listen to music and separate yourself from the other people until it's time for you to go into the room for testing. That will help you calm your nerves and the talk about how "hard or challenging" the test may be won't psyche you out.
5. Once you begin the test, choose which sections to do first in a way that will MOTIVATE you. I say this because I feel that everyone's angles of 'attacking' the test are different. Some people may want to take the section that they feel is the hardest first because they'll be calm about getting it done and out the way. I didn't do this because I felt that if I failed that section, I would be discouraged and not do well on the other sections (but to each his/her own).
I took Reading Comprehension first because it was the boring part and I knew that it would take up most of my time. I gave myself enough time to read the passages and answer the questions to the best of my ability. In some instances, I would glance at the question first and look to see if it was asking about a specific part of a passage (for example, "what does this word in this paragraph/sentence mean"). That way, I didn't have to re-read the entire passage in order to answer one question.
After seeing my Reading Comp. score, I did the Math section which I was extremely confident with. My math section test consisted mostly of ratio/proportions and adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing mixed numbers and fractions (which was a no-brainer for me). So I wasn't necessarily surprised with my score, but I was still extremely happy and that motivated me to do well with Grammar and then Anatomy & Physiology.
With A&P, I looked at the specific words in the questions and associated them with different body systems and tissues (for example, I had a question where I had to determine what type of connective tissue had "lacunae" and "rigidity"... and I knew the answer was bone tissue because I remember lacunae is what makes up bone tissue). I was surprised by the 92% but then figured that context clues helped out a lot!
6. Finally, if you do not pass a section or the test, DO NOT LOOK AT IT AS A FAILURE!! You've done all you can by studying. If you don't pass, think about what was a problem for you and go over the problem(s) during your remediation period. Not passing the HESI on the first try is NOT a denial into nursing school. Just continue to do your best and study and you will do well the next time around. Also, it helps that you don't have to take the sections that you passed over again, so you'll have plenty of time to go through the section(s) you didn't pass (unless you didn't pass any at all).
I hope you all take these little tips into consideration and remember that you will be fine. The HESI is actually really easy (don't let that trip you up), and with the proper tools, you can pass.