Prepare for the HESI A2 with our Study Guide.

If you are beginning your education in the nursing field, you will likely have to take the Health Education Systems, Inc (HESI) exam, also known as HESI A2, as a requirement for your application. If you are a current nursing student, your advisor might recommend the HESI exam as a way to predict your success on your licensing exam.

Test design

The HESI A2 is a set of exams delivered by computer at either a college/university or at a Prometric testing facility. Each nursing school has requirements for admission which may include one or all of the exams of the HESI A2. If you are a current nursing student, you can use the HESI A2 and its exams to prepare for licensing board examinations by taking the exams that focus on your weakest areas; your career advisor will be able to help you select the exams to take.

The HESI A2 is a composite assessment consisting of 10 individual exams. You may take them all in one four-hour appointment, or you can select individual exams and spread out your appointments over a period of time. However, you will want to be sure to have the required exams completed in time for your program’s admission date.

The nursing program you are applying to will determine what exams within the HESI A2 are required.  The assessment consists of the following exams:

  • Biology – photosynthesis, metabolism, cells, cellular respiration, biology basics, and biological molecules
    • 25 minutes
    • 25 questions
    • Used by programs with a Biology pre-requisite
  • Chemistry – Measures your knowledge of basic chemistry including atomic structure, the periodic table, matter, chemical equations, chemical reactions, chemical bonding, and nuclear chemistry
    • 25 minutes
    • 25 questions
    • Used by programs with a chemistry pre-requisite
  • Physics – Newton’s Law of Motion, rotation, friction, energy, gravitation, waves and sound, average speed, projectile motion, acceleration, light, and optics
    • 50 minutes
    • 25 questions
    • Used by programs with a Physics pre-requisite
  • Reading Comprehension – measures your ability to comprehend passages as related to health-care
    • 60 minutes
    • 47 questions
  • Vocabulary and General Knowledge – knowledge of healthcare related vocabulary
    • 50 minutes
    • 50 questions
  • Grammar – measures your understanding of basic grammar principles
    • 50 minutes
    • 50 questions
  • Anatomy and Physiology – assesses understanding of anatomy and physiology
    • 25 minutes
    • 25 questions
    • Used by programs with an Anatomy and Physiology pre-requisite
  • Math – assesses your basic math skills as they are related to healthcare
    • 50 minutes
    • 50 questions
    • Calculator provided as a part of the examination
  • Personality Style – aids in the identification of your personality style as it relates to learning
    • 15 minutes
    • 15 questions
  • Learning Style – aids in the identification of your learning style
    • 15 minutes
    • 14 questions

The HESI A2 complete battery of exams consists of 326 multiple-choice, computer-delivered questions. The time-limits noted per exam are a base guideline. Your college may have a different time allotment for the components required for admission.

Registration, cost, and dates

Registration, cost, and testing dates are determined by your program, whether you are taking the exam for admission or as a gauge for your licensure exam.

The cost for the exam varies depending upon your program and which tests you are taking. Cost can range from $40.00 to over $100.00. It may be more economical to test at your college rather than a testing facility. Additional fees may be levied by your program such as proctoring, rescheduling, and retake.

Payment policies for the HESI A2 exam are varied but may include: pay in advance, pay the day of your test, and register and pay online. Individual institutions set their payment policies, including payment method. Make sure you understand the method used by your program or institution.

Test Day

On your scheduled test day, arrive at the appointed location early. Leave personal belongings at home; all you need to bring with you is your identification. All materials are provided, including an in-program calculator, scratch paper, and writing utensils. The test proctor will give you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the delivery method and inform you of the time allotment for your exam(s). At the conclusion, return all test materials. Depending upon the testing facility, you may receive an unofficial print-out of your results.

Exam retake

You can take the HESI A2 once every 60 days but no more than three times in one 12-month period. There is a cost for each retake which is set by your program.

Exam results and scoring

Exams in the HESI A2 are scored individually. This means that each exam will have its own score report. While every nursing program has its own passing requirements for admission, generally you should aim for a score of 75%-80% on each exam.

HESI A2 results will be posted to your account and provided to your program. Your program advisor should be able to tell you when your results will be posted.