Took the Hesi Today! My scores, Tips, A&P and Bio Heavy, Will Answer Qs


Ok I took my HESI this morning. I won't lie, I was stressed.I had convinced myself I was going to fail miserably and since we can only take the test two times only I really really wanted to pass on the first try. For my school we need 75% or better in each section. So I was SHOCKED when I saw my scores (I am trying to insert a picture of the scores printout but in case it doesn't work I'll post them here too.)

Reading Comprehension: 86%

Meaning/Word Use: 80%

Conclusions: 56%

Implications: 93%

Understanding: 100%

Grammar: 98%


& General Knowledge: 100%

English Composite Score: 94.67

Biology: 100%

Anatomy and Physiology 92%

Science Composite Score 96%

Math: 92%

Math Composite Score 92%


My mama always taught me to round up so we'll call that an even 95% overall ;) LOL.

Ok if I had read this post I would have thought, well SURRRRE, she's one of those naturally amazing at science people. Well I am not. Promise. I have just above a B average in college-level sciences ( A&P, Microbiology and Nutrition for Science Majors) and I tend to be much, much stronger in English and have a 4.0 in all my English classes as well as classes that tend to be very heavy on essay writing etc. My overall GPA is 3.54, so nothing out of this world by any means.

So how did I do so well on the sciences? First off, I found both sections to be pretty broad, if you have taken A&P in the last year or so and did reasonably well you should at least pass the A&P section. I actually haven't taken Biology since high school 14 years ago (!) but I just finished my Microbiology class last quarter. Having the Micro stuff (which is arguably much more complex than the basic biology on the exam) fresh in my mind really, really helped. But honestly, it was mostly practice and studying. I decided NOT to buy the official Elsevier study book (scandal!) because everything I had read in reviews said it was great for all the sections EXCEPT the sciences, and I knew sciences where what I needed to focus on. I bought this book and used it as a jumping off point. I got it for only $6.99 since I bought the kindle version, it was a steal! It was great because they had short self-assessment quizzes in each subject, then a broader section explaining what is likely to be in each section of the test/subject, followed by two full practice tests. The review in the book was helpful, but the MOST helpful part was the practice tests. They allowed me to hone in on what I was weak on, and then I went back to my notes and A&P or Microbiology book to study those areas (again, my Micro book encompassed everything on the Bio section as the first few chapters were reviewing biology as a whole, though I will say a TON of the Bio questions focus on the Micro level anyway, parts of the cell, DNA replication etc) So the testing was really helpful to help me see what I need to focus my time on.

Which brings me to the single best study tool I used. The downside is that this requires you to have a smartphone or iPad, but if you do have one I can not, can not, CAN NOT say enough good things about the HESI A2 App by Pocket Prep. Best $9.99 I've spent in my college years, seriously. Here's a link to it in the iTunes store so you can see what it looks like. (Oh and if you're keeping track I only spent about $17.00 on study materials, virtual study guides are definitely cheaper)

Though I primarily used it for the sciences, this app is great for all the sections, because you can choose how many questions you'd like, which subjects you'd like, if you'd like your practice test timed etc. Anytime you get an answer wrong there is an option to expand why, you can even take the tests in study mode to see the answers as you go along. When I first started using the app I would do 10 questions from each section, so 60 total. Once I was comfortable with the types of questions in the English/Math sections and was consistently getting in the mid 90s in all of them I soon unchecked those and started just doing 30 each of A&P and Bio. BTW you can do as many as (I think) 350 questions or few as 20 questions at a time. So when you are standing in line at the grocery store, bored during commercial breaks, can't fall asleep at night, you can grab your phone and get some studying in. I think there are about 2000 questions in the bank at any time but they are constantly updating them so while yes, you will run against repeats, there is a nice variety. And these questions (in all sections) came the closest to the actual questions on the test, down to some of them being virtually exactly the same or mirror images of each other. For example (no this wasn't an actual question so don't get your hopes up LOL ) The pocket prep question might be " The wrist is _____ to the humerus" while the actual HESI question might be "The humerus is ______ to the wrist" I also liked that I was able to see my history as a whole as well as my overall average. You can also clear your history at anytime if you feel like your first few scores were testers and dragging down your overall score.

I started studying about three months ago for 15-30 mins a day, mostly in the app and in the past 2 weeks I upped it to about 30-60 minutes a day. I reviewed almost all day yesterday, couldn't sleep last night and showed up with two hours of sleep. Yeah, don't do that ;)

So now a breakdown by section:

A&P and Bio: Take the tests, take them again and again and then go back to your book or notes to brush up on problem areas. You will do well! It was much, much easier than I thought. Pay attention to body systems as a whole, anatomical directions, and the broader points of A&P. For example (again not on the test!) You might have a question like "Which of these is not a main feature of muscle tissue" But you're unlikely to have something like "Which section of the sarcomere is made up of dense fibers" Like I said earlier, if you did well in the class you should at least pass, if not knock it out of the park. For Bio I touched on this but it's probably 75% Microbiology stuff. Know your parts of the cell, your mitosis/meiosis, Glycolysis, Krebs Cycle, Electron Transport chain, taxonomical classifications, basic differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes, photosynthesis/Calvin cycle. There were a couple of questions in Bio that could easily have been in the A&P section, so I'd say the other 25% was specifically human biology that again you should know pretty well. Oh, know about the different polymers, (e.g. sugars make up starch etc)

Math: I felt the doing well on Math section was truly just repetition. The only fault I would give the app is that it did not include questions on conversions and there were a fair amount of metric conversions, liters, quarts, kg etc. There were also a few questions about military time, which was also not included on the app. Memorize all the conversion tables and military time, those are super easy points you can earn. But the vast majority of the questions were improper fractions, add, subtract, multiply, divide. Very basic. There were also some ratios, some simple division/multiplication and some word problems. If you practice the math section problems you will do well, I promise, there are really no surprises on the math section. Wait I lied, LOL! There were a few math questions where you had to type in the answer rather than choose from multiple options. I wasn't expecting that, but again, they are very easy. Pay attention to what place they are asking you to round to, I almost made that mistake myself when filling in one of the blanks.

Vocab: Honestly, I didn't study for this at all. Vocab is my strongest suit, so I am not a huge help here. I know the book I talked about upthread had a great list of words likely to be on the test, and I also know a lot of the words I saw on the app were also on the test. I'm not going to mention specific ones as that's bordering on unethical, but as you can imagine the more common a medical term the more likely it will be used in the Vocab section. Probably 30% of the words were true medical terms and 70% were words used both in a medical setting and in other types of sentences. What do I mean by words that are both medical/used in other contexts? An example would be, you know the word pale means light/lacking color because you have a pale pink dress at home, so you're going to know if a patient is pale s/he is lacking color. Something that would be ONLY a medical term would be a word like angina. Even without a medical background (which I don't have btw) you will probably do pretty well on this section because the majority of words aren't solely medical. Even the words that are solely medical often have context clues and/or latin roots that can point the way.

Grammar: Another relatively easy question with a huge caveat, if you are NOT a native English speaker this could be a really tricky section. The vast, vast majority of the questions are things like the correct spelling of a homophone, where to put an apostrophe, the correct verb tense etc. If you speak English as a second language I would devote a ton of time to this section and perhaps even consider getting a tutor ahead of the exam to help you if you aren't scoring well on the practice tests. I know I took Spanish for 6 years and I would have a really, really hard time doing this section in Spanish and doing well on it. If you are a native English speaker and a college student I'm assuming your grammar is pretty good, so, again, this will probably be pretty easy for you. Do the practices in the app, if you are consistently doing well on this section stop studying it and devote your time to the other sections.

Reading Comprehension: Well I have no business even offering advice here apparently LOL. Honestly I love to read, always have my head in a book and I write all the time, so I never thought I would do so poorly in this section. You get an overall score which is determined from 4 subsections (Also as an aside, how can I have 100% "understanding" of the material and yet 56% in "conclusions?!" Anyone? Bueller? Ok you are all probably too young for that reference, moving on ;) ) I really disliked that a lot of questions were along the lines of "which argument do you think the author meant to highlight most" or " which statement is best supports the main idea of the article" so there is a heck of a lot of subjectivity going on. If I'm being honest I barely studied this section, I did 4 or 5 practice tests, got in the 90s on them, and called it a day. I am not sure that studying would have helped that much, but I wish I had done more because now I'm not sure if that's truly the best I could have done. So my advice here would be, especially if you are a native English speaker with a pretty strong vocabulary, devote your English studying time here even more so than you think you need to. Even if you read all the time. Even if you do well on the practice tests. And even if you have never had less than an A in an English class in your entire life. (No, no I am not bitter at all, why do you ask?)

Well speaking of reading and writing this post turned into a heck of a novel. I hope it was helpful for you and I am happy to answer any questions you may have to the best of my ability. No, I will not give you actual test questions, not even privately, not even if you give me your first born child and a glitter-covered hippogriff who quotes Plato. So don't ask for those.

Now... I am going to go relax for the first time in weeks!


110 Posts

Awesome thank you for the tips & congrats on passing your Hesi.


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Is there a way to edit my original post? I thought of a couple of things about the test as a whole that are helpful, some of which I knew ahead of time and some I haven't seen anyone post about.

You can take the sections in any order you want. I chose to do A&P first since it was the one I was the most nervous about...but beware! Your scores show up after each section! So if it will freak you out if you don't do well maybe you should ease into your hardest subject and do some easy ones first. I personally like to get the hardest stuff out of the way (And when I saw I got a 92 and 100 on my two hardest I pretty much felt like ordering a margarita and blasting some reggae music. But apparently they "frown" upon that)

Once you enter an answer and press submit, that's it. No going back right away and changing it, no going back at the end of that section, it's locked and loaded and you better hope you have the million dollars in your suitcase ;) I actually liked that for the most part since it's invariable that when you second-guess answers you're more likely to change a right answer to the wrong one than the other way around. But it also sucks because, for example, there was one A&P question I narrowed down to two possible answers, before I finally chose one. Then a few questions later I came across the answer to the one I had been stumped on in the form of this new question. And of course, I had chosen the wrong one :rolleyes: Nothing you can do at that point but mentally drink that margarita.

There is a calculator embedded in the test, actually in all the sections, not just in math. They also gave me two sheets of laminated notebook paper and dry erase pens for scratch paper (smart!)

At the end of each section you are allowed to get up, leave the room, grab some food and/or go to the bathroom. In our particular testing location you were not allowed to leave the building in-between sections. The security was very very tight. When I first arrived they used a metal detector wand and then patted me down to make sure I didn't have any electronics or contraband on me. They asked me to turn out my pockets, if you can plan to wear clothes without them as the one guy checking in at the same time as me took forever getting stuff out of all his various pockets. I had to show them my license, then turn off my phone in front of them and lock it in a locker along with my purse, keys, sunglasses and headband. I guess they worried I could have answers written inside the headband and that the glasses could let me cheat without them seeing, not that I had intended to wear them indoors anyway! Also for some reason you are not allowed to take off your shoes, who knows if it's for hygiene or because they are afraid there are answers in there too LOL. Ultimately I just walked in with my locker key and my license, into a cubicle with my own computer and nice, big headphones if you want to use them to block out all the noises from the other test takers clicking away. I am not sure if my place was just super duper strict or if most places are like this.

You have 4 hours total to take the test, I've hear differing things about some schools not having a limit for the HESI but mine did have the standard four hour window. I finished in exactly two hours. The part that took me the longest was the math since there were 55 questions and I made sure to double-check each one before submitting. It took me approximately 40 minutes. The fastest one for me was vocab, it took less than 5 minutes. I think most people would have no problem finishing with plenty of time to spare.

Ok, I think that really is it now! Wanted to get it all on "paper" while it is still fresh :)


110 Posts

I am not sure if you can go back and edit your post. May I ask what school will you be attending also regarding the reading was the reading passages long?.


10 Posts

I'm applying to a school in the San Francisco Bay Area, if you're local I'd be happy to give you more info :)

The reading passages were not long at all! The longest was probably three (short) paragraphs.


110 Posts

I am located in Rancho Cucamonga I wish you were near me :whistling:. Do you mine me asking if its private or tradition?.


10 Posts

It's a public school. Are you looking at a 4 year or 2 year institution? When are you taking the HESI? I am sure you will do well :)


110 Posts

What level would you say the reading is?. I ask because I have been taking test online and have not been scoring as good as I thought I would but, you love to read I don't lol!


110 Posts


The school I am looking into is a private school BSN. I just took the entrance Hesi 9/19 and I failed. I am a bit lost ,hurt, mad, sad, etc. I only have one more chance to take test to get into the school I am trying to get into. I use the Hesi Admission Edition 3. This book was good for Reading, Math and Grammar but, not Vocabulary for me. Out of all the vocabulary words in the book I only seen 10 on the test and was so lost when it came to the other words. They also has some anatomy vocabulary words that I did not study for so I know I lost many points. I did not finish the math I got up two question 31 took forever on the reading and, I do not think I did to well on that section. I should I have took more practice test :banghead: from your post you seem well educated :specs:;).


3 Posts

Specializes in Hospice care. Has 2 years experience.

Congratulations on passing! This post is amazing and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to share your experience and study materials. I take the HESI In November, and the college I'm applying to only allows students to take it once a year! So I'm extra anxious.


10 Posts


The school I am looking into is a private school BSN. I just took the entrance Hesi 9/19 and I failed. I am a bit lost ,hurt, mad, sad, etc. I only have one more chance to take test to get into the school I am trying to get into. I use the Hesi Admission Edition 3. This book was good for Reading, Math and Grammar but, not Vocabulary for me. Out of all the vocabulary words in the book I only seen 10 on the test and was so lost when it came to the other words. They also has some anatomy vocabulary words that I did not study for so I know I lost many points. I did not finish the math I got up two question 31 took forever on the reading and, I do not think I did to well on that section. I should I have took more practice test :banghead: from your post you seem well educated :specs:;).

I'm sorry your first attempt didn't go well. The HESI program should give you remediation options. I think the best bet with Vocal is just practice, practice practice!


11 Posts

Does anyone know if you have to identify structures in a pic or diagram for the a&p section? Or is the section only composed of worded questions? Thanks!