Many nursing schools throughout the U.S. use this exam as part of their admissions process. It is designed to test your knowledge and skills both academically (in the areas of English Language, Math, and Science) and personally with an assessment in learning styles and personality traits. Both will give your nursing school the tools to decide if you are a good fit for their program.
What Does the Registration Process Look Like?
Application and registration for the HESI A2 are typically handled by the nursing program or school of your choice. Some may have a certain number of prerequisites such as college courses completed or applicant’s age.
Most schools offer the exam on campus, usually administering it online in one of their computer labs on a few specific dates throughout the year. However, you may also have the option to schedule an exam appointment at one of the 350 Prometric testing centers located worldwide.
Your nursing school administration office should be able to tell you the whereabouts, date and time, and any application or exam fees for such testing sessions. Each school also determines just what the test will look like as far as the number of sections/subtests included, length, and the amount of time given for completion.
What is Covered?
The exam your school chooses to use can include any or all of the following sections and/or their subtests. There are three possible main academic sections and one that is more personal.
- English Language – reading comprehension, vocabulary and general knowledge, and grammar (55 questions each)
- Math – basic math skills (55 questions)
- Science – biology, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology (30 questions each)
- Learner Profile – learning style and personality profile (14/15 questions)
Each section/subtest, except for the personal sections, will include 5 pretest or pilot questions. These are unidentified as such and do not count towards your score.
The personal questions, while not having right or wrong answers, are weighed heavily. Do not underestimate their importance.
Your school or nursing program should inform you as to which of these sections and their subtests are included and how much time you will be given to complete them.
What to Expect on Test Day?
As this exam is a scheduled appointment, it is important that you arrive early or at the very least, on time. Many schools, as well as all Prometric sites, have policies in place that do not allow latecomers to sit for the exam that day.
Part of the reason for punctual timing is due to the need for check-in by each candidate. During this process, most schools will need you to provide identification, such as a valid driver’s license, before being allowed to enter the testing area. Prometric testing centers require that you provide such ID as well.
In addition, Prometric, as well as many nursing programs, has strict policies as to what cannot be brought with you. Most generally, the following items are prohibited, and if found on your person during the exam, will result in your dismissal and the voiding of your scores.
- Cell phones and any other electrical devices
- Coats, hats, and any outerwear
- Study materials, including pencils, books, and calculators
- Purses, bags, or wallets
Some Prometric sites may have a small storage area to keep a few of these items during the exam.
What about My Scores?
All nursing schools that use the HESI A2 determine their own standards as to what is considered passing or acceptable for admission. However, most schools agree that anything below 75% is a good indication that you are not ready for the challenges of a nursing program. Typically, schools want to see that you will most likely not have the need for assistance in academics. This can be indicated by a score of 85% or higher.
If you do not do as well as you would like and need to retake this exam, many schools will allow at least one. However, as this is an entrance exam, there may be a waiting period before you can make a second attempt. It is also important to note that each exam is different, making the possibility of seeing the same questions on your retake very slim.
How Can I Prepare for the HESI A2 Exam?
That’s a great question. We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.
- Do yourself a favor and study. Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try. Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping. All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance. If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
- Get a study guide or set of flashcards. Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them. We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!