Dr. Jan Olson By: Dr. Jan Olson
HESI Exit Exam

The HESI exit exam is an assessment exam used by various nursing programs to determine whether a student is ready to take and pass either the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN exam.

Nursing programs are required to achieve certain passing rates by various accrediting and regulatory agencies. Ensuring students succeed on the exit HESI is as critical to nursing programs as it is to individuals.

Summary: Learn about the HESI exit exam. If you are looking for practice for the standard HESI exam, use our HESI practice exam.

The HESI exit exam is typically given in the last quarter or semester of a school's nursing program. The test is comprehensive in nature and is constructed to mirror the content of the NCLEX exam.

The purpose of the exit HESI is to predict a student's success in passing their NCLEX. Recent studies have found that the HESI exit exam has a 96%-99% prediction of success on the NCLEX exam (source).

The HESI exit is delivered via computer similar to the NCLEX exams, with one crucial difference - the HESI exit is not a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) like the NCLEX.

This means that the questions will not become harder or easier based on how you answered the previous question.

The HESI exit exam is designed to match the NCLEX test blueprint. Students can expect to be tested in 3 main subject areas when taking their HESI nursing exit exam:

  1. Nursing Process
  2. Client Needs
  3. Specialties

Nursing Process

Some of the subtopics you can expect to find in this content area include:

  • Assessment
  • Analysis
  • Planning
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation

Client Needs

Some of the subtopics you can expect to find in this content area include:

  • Safe Environments
  • Management of Care
  • Safety Control
  • Health Promotion
  • Integrity
  • Basic Care and Comfort
  • Pharmaceutical and Parenteral Treatments


  • Nursing Fundamentals
  • Geriatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Community Health
  • Pediatrics
  • Medical-Surgical

The number of questions on the exit HESI depends on which version of the exam you will be taking.

  • HESI RN Exit Exam: 150 questions
  • HESI LPN Exit Exam: 150 or 75 questions

The format of the questions on the HESI exit exam are intended to simulate the types of questions a student will see on their NCLEX board exams.

The questions are more critically thinking based, versus a standard information/fact level like students see in their standard nursing courses. The exam questions will be in one of the following four formats:

  1. Multiple Choice - These are the majority of the questions. Students will select an answer from one of four choices.
  2. Multiple Response - Students can choose one or more answers from five to seven choices.
  3. Fill in the Blank - Students calculate an answer and submit. An on-screen calculator is provided.
  4. Drop and Drag - Students will rank or sequence items.

The HESI exit exam is scored from 0-950. Review the table below for more information on HESI exit exam scores:

Score Probability of Passing the NCLEX
Greater Than 950 Outstanding probability
900-940 Excellent probability
850-899 Average probability
800-849 Below average probability
750-799 Additional prep needed
700-749 Serious prep needed
650-699 Danger of failing
Less Than 649 Poor performance can be expected

Since the HESI exit exam is used to predict success for the NCLEX and so closely mirrors the NCLEX exam, you can use NCLEX resource to prepare as well. We have listed some HESI exit exam practice questions below.

Resource Provider 
HESI RN Exit Questions StudyLast
NCLEX-RN Questions J&B Learning
NCLEX-RN Questions Exam Cram

Does every RN program have a HESI exit exam?

No, every program does not have a HESI exit exam. Each program can decide if they want to give the exit HESI to their students.

How many HESI exit exams are there?

There are 2 HESI exit exams. They are the HESI RN exit exam and the HESI LPN exit exam.

Why is the HESI exit exam given?

Nursing programs give the exit HESI to help determine if their students are ready to pass the NCLEX.