How to Pass the HESI A2 Exam: 7 HESI A2 Tips

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Are you a student looking to be accepted into nursing school? Are you looking for information on how to pass the HESI A2 exam? You have come to the right place if either of these is true.

Several thousand students take the HESI A2 exam each year, hoping to get into the college of their choice. We will provide you with what you can expect to find on the exam and some helpful tips for ensuring that you get a passing score.

All you must do to find this information, and more, is keep reading. We will help you get a better understanding of the exam and provide you with links to helpful resources.

What Does HESI A2 Exam Consist Of?What Does HESI A2 Exam Consist Of?

The HESI A2 exam is an assessment exam traditionally used at colleges and universities across the country. The exam is used for nursing programs and other health science programs and aims to test the knowledge of applicants in an array of science, math, and skill-related fields. The exam contains a learning assessment and personality assessment as well.

The HESI A2 exam is made up of several exams. Each exam is meant to test a student’s proficiency in a different area. The list below contains a detailed explanation of each section and what you can expect from that section.

English Language

The English portion of the exam consists of 3 exams:  Grammar, Reading Comprehension, and Vocabulary/General Knowledge. Each exam contains 55 scored items, estimated to take up to an hour to complete. This section will contain content related to the vocabulary used in healthcare, reading scenarios for comprehension, and common grammar.


The math sections contain one 50-minute, 55-question exam that will be used to test your basic math skills. This includes things like addition, subtraction, measurements, and more.


The science section boasts some of the shorter exams. This section contains three exams: Anatomy/Physiology, Chemistry and Biology. These exams are all 25 minutes apiece, and each includes 30 questions.

Depending on the exams the student takes, they will receive a composite score for all the exams taken. In addition to this score, the exam will also identify the student’s strengths and weaknesses where additional effort is needed.

Personality & Learning

In addition to the subject matter exams that students will take, there are two additional exams. The first exam, the personality profile, is 15 minutes and consists of 15 questions. The second is the Learning style assessment, which is also 15 minutes but consists of 14 questions.

How to Prepare for the HESI A2 Exam?

How to Prepare for the HESI A2 Exam?

You can do several things to prepare for the exam, but we’ll help you understand some of the most essential to ensure an excellent score.

Order the Recommended Text

One text that you will see commonly referenced in conjunction with the HESI A2 exam is the Admissions Assessment Exam Review. HESI created this text, and it contains all of the most up-to-date information. What better place to get information than the test creators themselves? The text comes equipped with 2 HESI A2 practice tests, a pre-test with 25 questions, and a post-test with 50 questions.

Take Practice Exams

Regardless of whether your practice tests are coming from the HESI text or an online source, you should make sure to take them. Taking at least one before studying and one closer to your exam date will help you get a feel for the areas you need to spend your final days prepping for.

Find Methods that Work

Everyone doesn’t learn the same; therefore, reading and highlighting a textbook may not be what you need to do to pass the exam. Try additional activities like creating flashcards, studying with other potential nursing students, or even watching prep videos on YouTube. These may give you an idea of the activities which work for you.

Several schools, online venues, and educational companies offer HESI prep courses and tutors. This may be one alternative to bypass preparing on your own.

7 Essential Tips and Strategies to Pass the HESI A2 Exam

7 Essential Tips and Strategies to Pass the HESI A2 Exam

Passing the HESI A2 exam is not impossible. It is a standard exam used to test your general knowledge of various related topics. Use the tips below to help you pass the HESI A2 exam.

Submit to More Schools

Though not a direct tip for passing the HESI A2 exam, you should make sure that you do your absolute best because this exam is important. Submitting to multiple schools is not uncommon. However, you will only need to sit for the exam once. Send your exam to multiple schools by simply requesting your HESI transcript. This can be done from the Elsevier portal.

Print Your Materials

Though it may be nice to study on your IPAD or phone. Printing your materials is more effective. You can then notate and highlight your pages. This also takes away from your screen time and allows you to focus without the distraction of notifications.

What to Bring to HESI A2 Exam

In addition to having a sensible breakfast, you can’t just walk in with nothing on the day of the exam. You must bring the applicable IDs to prove you are who you claim to be. This may include a passport or state identification. Ensure you get to your testing site early and in time for anything that may come up before the exam. Before your exam day, double-check your testing site instructions to ensure you know what to bring and where to go.

Apply for Testing Accommodations Early

If you are eligible for testing accommodations, it would be your best entrance to apply for them early. This can be done on the Elsevier portal. You will then need to submit documentation supporting your needs. You should not take the HESI exam until you have received approval for your accommodation.

Understand the Scoring

Though you may not be as concerned before the exam, understanding how it is scored will help you prepare for it. To achieve a perfect score on the HESI exam, a student will need to get 1500. However, this would not be the score the student receives. This score is further converted to a 100-point scale, and this is the score provided to students. A “good score” may generally be considered anything above 800. This would equate to 75%.

Students can receive their results immediately; however, detailed scoring is available shortly after your initial exam.


One heavily recommended site for exam preparation is Nurse Hub. Many students find that Nurse Hub offers practice exams and even prep questions for your review.


Another great online resource for passing the HESI A2 exam is Quizlet. On this site, you can find premade flashcards to help you get through the exam. This is just one example of a helpful quizlet you can use for your Anatomy & Physiology exam.

When is the Best Time to Take the HESI A2 Exam?

When is the Best Time to Take the HESI A2 Exam?

To know the best time to take the exam, you will need to check with your school of choice. The school can let you know when the exam is offered. They will also be able to suggest when it would be best to take it.

How Much Does It Cost to Take the HESI A2 Exam?

How Much Does It Cost to Take the HESI A2 Exam?

It is important to note that there is a cost associated with taking the exam. To know the exact price for your exam, you will need to check with the school you are looking to apply for.  Exam fees can range from as low as $40 to as high as $110, with the average being around $45.

In addition, for the exam fee, students who are looking to take the virtual exam will likely incur another fee of $25 for proctoring. It’s important to remember that the exam fee is nonrefundable, so make sure you are ready before you pay for the test.

What Happens If You Don't Pass the HESI A2 Exam on Your First Try?

What Happens If You Don’t Pass the HESI A2 Exam on Your First Try?

The HESI A2 exam is not explicitly pass or fail. Instead, each school sets a threshold that students must meet to be considered for admission. However, if you fail to meet the minimum threshold for the exam, you do have the ability to retest. However, you can only take the exam again after 60 days. If there are requirements specific to the university you are testing with, you must receive those from the specific university.

One important thing to remember is that though you may retake the exam, there is a limit on the number of times you may take it in 12 months. That cap is set at three times.

Wrapping Things Up: How to Pass the HESI A2 Exam: 7 HESI A2 Tips

If you are wondering how to jumpstart your studying for the HESI A2 exam, we hope you use some of the resources we provided as a starting point. Studying for the exam doesn’t have to be a chore; there are several texts, like the Admission Assessment Exam Review made by HESI, which can help you along your journey. In addition, several YouTube channels and Quizlets are devoted to helping students’ study.

However, it is not the end of the world if you don’t pass the exam on the first try. You will have the option to retest; however, specific limits will need to be checked on a school-by-school basis. Happy Testing!

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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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