HESI Exit Exam: What Is It and How to Pass It

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As a U.S.-based company, HESI, which stands for Health Education Systems Incorporated, is part of Elsevier’s extensive resources and services. It offers various preparation materials and examinations for individuals aspiring to or are currently studying a healthcare profession.

HESI includes many exams that are either used as a tool to test candidates on whether they are suitable for a healthcare program or try them on their preparedness for exams such as the NCLEX. However, this article solely focuses on the HESI Exit Exam, its definition, and how one can ideally prepare for it.

What is the HESI Exit Exam?What is the HESI Exit Exam?

What is the HESI Exit Exam? It is a test given to individuals currently enrolled in a nursing school. Its sole aim is to evaluate whether a student has acquired the necessary knowledge to pass the NCLEX licensing exam. National Council Licensure Examination, known as NCLEX, is the test potential nurses take to obtain their licenses.

Hence, in other words, the HESI Exit Exam is a tool that measures if someone is ready to start practicing their nursing skills in the real world. Students usually take it during the last semester of a program. It also is administered by the school the student is enrolled in.

However, many wonder if the HESI exam is a valuable tool to measure someone’s preparedness for the NCLEX exam. A study illustrates that a score of 850 or higher on the HESI exam produced, on average, a first-time pass rate of 96.33% on the NCLEX-RN.

There are various NCLEX exams, such as one for registered nurses and another for practical nurses. Hence, depending on the nursing program someone is studying for, the HESI Exit Exam will differ. A prospective registered nurse would sit for the HESI Registered Nurse Exit Exam, and a practical nurse would take the HESI Practical Nurse Exit Exam.

Another important distinction is the HESI Exit Exam vs. HESI A2. Many confuse the two, although the difference is quite clear. Students take the Exit Exam at the end of a healthcare program to evaluate the readiness for the NCLEX exam. The A2 test is used before enrolling in a school. It assesses whether the person qualifies to enroll in the program.

What Does the HESI Exit Exam Cover?

What Does the HESI Exit Exam Cover?

The HESI Exit Exam attempts to provide similar conditions and subjects as the ones found in the NCLEX. Hence, most topics and questions cover critical thinking problems, analysis, and basic knowledge a nurse should have.

However, three main subject areas are in the exam. These provide an extensive overview of all the knowledge one has acquired over years of studying. Below is a profound illustration of what to expect on the exam.

  1. Client Needs
  • Primary care and patient comfort
  • Health promotion and maintenance
  • Maintaining a safe and effective environment
  • Management of care
  • Pharmaceutical and parental knowledge
  • Physiotherapy adaption
  • Psychosocial integrity
  • Reduction of risk potential
  • Safety and infection control
  1. Nursing Process
  • Analysis
  • Assessment
  • Evaluation
  • Implementation
  • Planning
  1. Specialty area
  • Community Health
  • Critical care
  • Fundamentals
  • Geriatrics
  • Maternity
  • Medical Surgical
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pediatrics
  • Professional issues
  • Psychiatric and mental health

What is the Format of the HESI Exit Exam?

What is the Format of the HESI Exit Exam?

The format of the HESI Exit Exam is designed to simulate the same conditions present in the NCLEX exam. That is like how the same topics are covered in both. Hence, the HESI exam is multiple-choice but with distinct options, limited to the ones mentioned below.

  • Multiple Choice: most of the questions are simple multiple-choice ones that require you to mark just one correct answer. You must select one of the four presented answers.
  • Multiple Response: these questions will present you with five to seven choices. You will have to label one or more correct answers.
  • Drop & Drag: the drop and drag questions will ask you to rank some items or a sequence in order according to the criteria presented.
  • Fill in the Blank: as the name suggested, these questions will present you with an empty blank that requires an answer. It is often a calculation. You will have an on-screen calculator as an optional choice to use.

The bottom line is that the format is multiple-choice oriented or fill-in-the-blank. Hence, it eliminates any essay questions requiring much writing, which is often time-consuming. The questions direct towards critical thinking instead of the straightforward fact-oriented education method you find throughout your nursing program.

But how long is the HESI Exit Exam? According to the University of Saskatchewan, a student can have up to three hours to complete it. As for the number of questions on the Exit Exam, the HESI RN includes 150 questions. The HESI LPN will vary between 75 and 150 questions.

If you are worried about failing or underperforming, then know your options. One can retake the exam every 60 days. However, that is limited to three trials in 12 months. The test results will be valid for two years, which allows you to take your time applying to places and retaking the test if necessary.

HESI Exit Exam Scoring

HESI Exit Exam Scoring

The HESI Exit Exam Score range is between 0 and 1500. As mentioned earlier, a student should score 850 or higher to pass the NCLEX on their first attempt. That said, the score you achieve often reflects how well you will perform on the NCLEX exam.

However, keep in mind that every school policy differs. You might need a specific minimum grade to graduate from the program you are studying. Other schools do not have such policies. Hence, contacting your school and double-checking whether a minimum score is a prerequisite to your graduation is vital.

Moreover, many programs consider the HESI Exit Exam as part of your final grade for a course. The exam might also count as a separate course on your transcript. So, it is essential to study well and pass the exam with excellence to ensure you successfully give all your classes and are prepared for the examination.

Below is a list of what each score range represents, as it gauges your overall proficiency level and how well you have retained the information you have been studying in the program. The numbers reflect the score, and what follows is how likely you are to pass the NCLEX exam.

  • 950 and higher: outstanding chances
  • 900 –949: excellent possibility
  • 850 – 899: average chances
  • 800 –849: below average results
  • 750 –799: you should prepare more efficiently for the exam
  • 700 –749: resort to additional resources and materials to study from
  • 650 –699: high chances of failing the exam
  • 640 or lower: likely to perform very poorly on the exam

Once again, it is crucial to mention that you should aim for a minimum of 850. Any score above 950 is impressive and a sign that you are well-prepared. Remember that your school might require specific scores to graduate or pass the course the exam is part of.

How to Pass the HESI Exit Exam: 3 Tips

How to Pass the HESI Exit Exam: 3 Tips

So, do you want to know how to pass the HESI Exit Exam with excellent scores? Then refer to the list of steps below.

Find creative ways of absorbing information

As mentioned earlier, the format of the Exit Exam will differ from the program tests you have previously taken. They target your analysis skills and critical thinking abilities instead of the straightforward facts you have studied previously.

Hence, practice is the ultimate way of getting familiar with the exam material and format. You can do so by solving exams and tests through online resources you find. These are not equal. Some are definitely better than others.

According to Elsevier’s website, most instructors from nursing schools require their students to study through HESI Nursing Case Studies and HESI Practice Tests. You can access the practice tests and learn about their HESI Preparation Suite through their website.

Be prepared for some ground rules in the exam

As you will take the test through a computer, check your audio and volume settings before the examination start. Keep in mind that food and drink and prohibited during the exam, as are any electronic devices. You are also allowed to have one piece of exam and a pen to write with, which you will have to get rid of afterward. Another important note is that you cannot use external calculators or rulers. Instead, you can use the ones integrated into the exam.

Do not review from a study guide – find the best resources

You will not have to purchase any hardcopy resources in our digitalized age. Instead, there is a myriad of options available online. One is the HESI Exit Exam review provided by Elsevier. Another one is available for the PN exam. Hence, it is vital to track which resources you use depending on whether you are a practical or registered nurse.

Remember that the NCLEX and HESI Exit Exam are similar. You will use whichever study material you purchase for either exam. Another extensive study resource would be the flashcards offered on Quizlet. Using those as a review on the go is an excellent way of refreshing your memory and information.

Wrapping Things Up: HESI Exit Exam: What Is It and How to Pass It

The bottom line is that the HESI Exit Exam is one you take at the end of your nursing program. This tool will evaluate whether you are ready for the NCLEX exam, which will provide you with your license to practice nursing.

Remember that you should score a minimum of 850 to ensure you successfully pass the NCLEX exam. The HESI test is a tool that will provide you with insight into whether you will be able to pass the NCLEX with ease or not. Hence, preparing for either one requires the same steps.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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