Hi! First off I'd like to say that this board drastically helped me on my first HESI exam that I took on March 20th. This is my first post on this website although I've been browsing on here since January.
My college requires the A&P, Math, Reading Comprehension, Grammar and Vocabulary sections with at least a 75% in each section. The sections are weighed accordingly: A&P 30%, Reading Comprehension 25% and all other sections 10%. I focused heavily on studying for the A&P portion as I did not do as well as I would have liked in A&P I. I ended up being 1 question away from the qualifying score, which I'm not too happy about but my scores in all other sections will make it possible for me to brush up on as much as I can before my retest date of April 7th. There are 20 spots open for my nursing program so it's super competitive and I hope to do a little better in all the sections that I can do better in to improve my entrance chances.
STEP 1 Stop stressing
It's not as hard as you think it is and if you've taken an ACT or SAT test in the last 5 years this test is not as challenging. It's basic knowledge in all of the sections. USE THE BOOK for everything other than A&P. The time limit did not make a difference for me, I finished in 101 minutes and 17 seconds. I wish I would have taken it a bit slower on some seconds so I could have done even better. Don't try and answer too quickly as you can not go back and there were multiple times that I realized as soon as I clicked the "submit" button that I had read the question too quickly and I did not mark the correct response. I'll talk about that when I'm explaining my experiences in those sections, though.
STEP 2 Get some rest.
I crammed as much as possible the day before, which honestly did nothing but make me super nervous and agitated only getting 4 hours of sleep. I wish I would have been as alert as possible instead of staying up trying to force information into my brain.
STEP 3 Have confidence.
If you're making decent grades in your classes, you should do fine. Especially if your curriculum requires some type of math, English and a&p before you take an entrance exam. If you go into the test unsure of yourself, you're going to second-guess all of your answers instead of going with the knowledge you already learned and have stored somewhere in your brain.
The order that I took the exam in.
Anatomy & Physiology (72%):
I told myself I would not take this section first, but before the exam I became so nervous about it that I knew I wouldn't be able to focus on any other section until I got it over with. I'm disappointed in my score, but from a competitive standpoint this isn't so bad as I have not encountered any of my classmates that have done more than pass the A&P part "by the hair of her chinny chin chin" as she said it, lol. We're all still in A&P 2, and none of us really knew what to expect on the first, go-round. It really is an accumulation of everything you learned from A&P and having 25-30 questions means you have to have a well-rounded knowledge of what is going on. If your A&P professors are a little lenient on describing everything in scientific terms, you may want to brush up on that. (ex. mastication- chewing) That wasn't a question for me but that's the best example I can give without violating any TOS. Also, focus on A&P I as tissues, the skeletal system and the muscles are important. Know where things are in terms of anatomical directions. (ex. the sternum is superficial to what?) Once, again, just an example. A&P I was 80% of the knowledge I needed for my section. Basic knowledge about how chemicals in the body work and organ systems is also important. Overall, just brush up on things you feel you are weak in, and be confident enough to not try and re-learn all of A&P over in 3 months. If it's your first time taking it give yourself enough time beforehand to retake the test if need be. I feel 10x better knowing what to expect.
Reading Comprehension: (92%)
This section was much easier than I expected, as most of my classmates had trouble in this area too. I found the passages to be short and pretty simple. I lost points in the author's purpose areas on the test. Some of them were unclear but really pay attention to the language in which the author is speaking, review the grammar part of declarative, imperative, interrogative and exclamatory sentences and adjectives that might give a hint to the author's tone. Also pay attention to what the author is talking about and where you might find that type of excerpt. If it's talking about entertainment, the main idea is more than likely to entertain. If it's talking about science or any type of research it's either to persuade or inform. If the passage has a lot of details and sounds like something out of a textbook, it's probably to teach.
I cant say much more than what other people have said on this board. Use the HESI Elsevier guide and practice from that. Know ratios and proportions. Everyone I have encountered says that the test is mostly on this and I concur. Other than that, memorize the measurements, especially metric to English, and know Fahrenheit to Celsius and Celsius to Fahrenheit formulas. If you don't remember the KHDBDCM mnemonic, type it in Google and learn it. Don't be afraid to write things out. No one else in my testing group was doing much writing (from what I could hear) but that didn't really phase me. Math is something I have to visualize so that's what I did.
My test was 80% of the book and the other parts were common knowledge-type questions. Common medical language that you'd hear on any TV show. If this section worries you, make some flashcards. Don't overload yourself by trying to learn all of the words, just learn the ones that are tricky or that you don't recognize from everyday life or class. If English is not your first language, pay special attention to the section as I could see as how the way in which the questions are written may be a little challenging to understand.
The killer for me in this section was not having enough confidence in myself. Once I got to this section I focused too much on thinking that every question would be a trick question, and ended up marking some odd answers, when the answer was something as common as a spelling mistake. Brush up on subjects and predicates, and go from there. Independent/Dependent clauses also are important.
What I used to study:
The McGraw- Hill guide for all Nursing Entrance Exams was spot on with what I saw on the HESI in terms of Grammar and Reading Comprehension, I only looked through it the day before, and I kind of wish I would have utilized all of the practice tests.
HESI Elsevier Guide 3rd Edition provided everything I needed for math. Literally, you don't need anything else to learn what will be on the math portion. There are no trick questions and the word problems are usually as simple as addition and multiplication. If you need extra practice, there are various websites online that will generate questions for you, just type in what you need help with (dividing fractions/ roman numerals/ metric to english) and it'll be there. Military time is easy. Just know how to convert regular time to military time and military time to regular time.
The above guide also provided everything I needed for vocabulary.
A&P: I was all over the place with studying for A&P. I used my Anatomy textbook, my class notes, the suggestion from this board of looking at youtube AnatomyGMC. My issue was that I studied too many topics instead of focusing on what I did not know.
Overall, I am so glad I allowed myself more time to be able to re-take the exam and my college allows us to take our highest scores in each section from both tests, so I'm focusing on raising my anatomy, reading comp and grammar, but I hope something I said helped for those like myself who never take the "stop stressing" advice.