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How to Pass the HESI A2

Learn everything you need to know about the HESI A2 and how to pass the exam.

Are you worried about taking the HESI A2 exam? This is a difficult exam and often takes multiple attempts until someone is able to pass.

What Is the HESI A2 Exam?

The HESI A2 is a standardized entrance exam used by nursing schools and allied health programs. The test gives schools an insight on how prepared a student is and if they have the knowledge and skills to join their nursing program.

What Subjects Are Tested on the HESI A2 Exam?

The HESI A2 exam covers 8 subjects:

  1. Anatomy & Physiology (25 questions, 25 minutes)

The topics you will need to understand for this section include basic terminology, fundamental anatomy and body systems, anatomical planes and directions, and histology.

  1. Biology (25 questions, 25 minutes)

The Biology section covers the plants, animals, and microorganisms. Test questions cover general biology basics, cellular respiration, photosynthesis, metabolism, biological molecules, cells, genetics, and DNA.

  1. Chemistry (25 questions, 25 minutes)

The HESI A2 Chemistry section tests students on chemical equations, the periodic table, anatomic structure, chemical bonding and reactions, acids and bases, scientific notation, metric system, oxidation-reduction, and biochemistry.

  1. Grammar (50 questions, 50 minutes)

The HESI A2 Grammar section checks for understanding of language, communication, and rules for words and sentence structure. The test covers the parts of speech, important grammar concepts, and typical grammatical errors.

  1. Math (50 questions, 50 minutes)

The test asks questions about basic operations, decimals, ratios, fractions, military time, algebraic equations, roman numerals, measurements, and conversions. Physical calculators are not allowed, but a digital calculator is provided on-screen for math questions.

  1. Physics (50 questions, 50 minutes)

The HESI A2 Physics section includes questions about friction, gravity, energy, Newton’s laws of motion, light, optics, and acceleration.  

  1. Reading Comprehension (47 questions, 60 minutes)

This Reading section includes reading passages with subsequent questions about the content, main ideas, themes, and other reading concepts.

  1. Vocabulary (50 questions, 50 minutes)

The HESI A2 A2 Vocabulary test contains questions about the meaning and use of vocabulary words, including health-related terms that should be familiar to the student.

5 Steps for HESI A2 Exam Success

The following is a step-by-step formula for passing the HESI A2 on your first attempt.

  1. Start With a Practice Test

This test will give you a feel for what the exam looks like and the types of questions that you will see. Click here to take NurseHub’s Free HESI A2 Practice Test that mimics the content, format, and difficulty of the real exam.

  1. Review Your Test Results

You should always review your test results to see where you can focus your studying. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses will help you figure out exactly what you need to study to improve your score.

  1. Select Your Study Strategy

You can read written lessons, watch video reviews, or answer practice questions. Pick one of these or a combination of them and get to work!

  1. Schedule Your Studying

This is not a test that you want to wait until the last minute to study for. Planning out your study time is going to allow you to take your time through the material and not rush at the last minute. It will also leave you less stressed when it is time for you to take your exam.

  1. Take Your Exam Believing You Are Going To Pass

Now that you have fully prepared yourself to pass this exam, be confident about it! Make sure to get a good night's rest and eat a healthy breakfast before you go to your exam. You got this!

HESI A2 Exam Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I schedule an exam?
  • Reach out to your school to find out your options. Some schools only offer the exam online through Proctor U. While others have testing centers that allow you to test in person.
  • How much time is allotted for the exam?
  • This depends on your school. We have seen anywhere from three to six hours depending on what sections your school requires. Reach out to your school to learn more about how much time you have and what will be on your exam.
  • Can you use a calculator?
  • Yes, you will have a built-in onscreen basic four function calculator available throughout the entire exam for you. You cannot bring your own.
  • How many questions are in each section?
  • Math: 50 questions
  • Reading: 47 questions
  • Vocabulary: 50 questions
  • Grammar: 50 questions
  • Biology: 25 questions
  • Chemistry: 25 questions
  • Anatomy and Physiology: 25 questions
  • Physics: 25 questions
  • What should I study?
  • Take NurseHub’s free HESI A2 practice tests to help you get an understanding of what you need to study! These tests will let you know exactly how you would score if you took the exam today.
  • Is scratch paper allowed or are they not allowed at all?
  • Yes, typically you will get one piece of scratch paper. At home testing also allows you to have scratch paper. Make sure to show your online proctor that you have scrap paper and how much scrap paper that you have.
  • Can we go back to previous questions?
  • No, you cannot go back to previous questions.
  • How long do I have to wait to retake the exam?
  • You need to wait 60 days and you can only take it three times in a 12-month span.
  • How many times can I take the exam?
  • This varies depending on the school. Some will allow multiple  retakes while others only allow one attempt.

Bobby Tolan is the Director of Marketing for NurseHub.

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