How to Prepare for the HESI Entrance Exam

A version of the HESI is also used by some schools as an exit exam.
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The Health Education Systems, Inc. Admission Assessment, also called the HESI A2, is a test given to prospective nursing students prior to admission into a nursing program. The exam, consisting of multiple-choice questions, is timed and administered on a computer. Not all schools require you to take the entire test, so check with your particular college admissions department to see which parts of the exam they use so you don't spend your time studying a subject on which you won't be tested.

1 On the Test

The HESI covers four general areas -- English, math, science and personality. Nine exam subjects are on the test plus two short personality profile exams. These subjects include anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, critical thinking, grammar, mathematics, physics, reading comprehension and vocabulary. A few questions determine your personality type -- whether you are shy or outgoing -- and learning style in order to provide you with targeted study tips. Some schools may require only four or five of the subjects, while others may test all of them.

2 Study Guides

Once you determine which test subjects you need to know for the exam, it is a good idea to purchase or borrow the latest version of the official study guide, HESI Admission Assessment Exam Review. In addition to giving you an overview of what to study, the study guide has sample questions with explanations, practice tests and review questions. Supplement the content reviewed in the study guide with additional review using textbooks that you have from previous classes or borrow from the library.

3 Practice Tests

While the practice tests in the study guide are useful, they do not simulate the exam-taking experience since the HESI is taken on a computer. Many online practice tests are available that will allow you to not only get a better idea of the questions and the experience of taking the test but will also let you time yourself. That way you not only know that you are well versed in the material but also that you are able to answer the questions in the allotted time. You can take practice tests as many times as you wish until you feel ready for the real thing.

4 Other Study Aids

Flash cards are a useful way to learn vocabulary-based questions. Flash cards are available online, or you can make your own using index cards. The advantage of index cards is that you can use them to study with friends or other students if group study helps you remember information. You can also carry the cards with you to practice with when you have spare time throughout the day. The library is a valuable resource for texts and study aids if you can't afford to purchase your own. Sharing the texts with a study group is another possibility.

Jill Kokemuller has been writing since 2010, with work published in the "Daily Gate City." She spent six years working in a private boarding school, where her focus was English, algebra and geometry. Kokemuller is an authorized substitute teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Iowa.