Dr. Jan Olson - Nursing Expert Academically reviewed by Dr. Jan Olson - Nursing Expert
HESI Scores

HESI scores are used by nursing schools as a means of reviewing applications during the admissions process. Schools use these scores to identify the likelihood of success in their nursing program. They want students to be able to successfully navigate their course materials. 

It is important to note that every school has different requirements and may require applicants to take specific sections of the HESI exam, up to a total of 10!

These sections are all scored separately on a  percentage scale from 0 to 100.

In short, one school might only require students to take three sections of the HESI exam while another school could require all ten. Furthermore, there are varying requirements for HESI scores.

So let’s take a moment to look through all of the different exams and how HESI scores reflect a student’s abilities. 

If you are looking for information on the HESI exam or exam resources, check out our HESI practice tests resource

How is the HESI Exam Scored?

The HESI exam is scored on a percentage scale from 0% to 100%. For example, if a student got 50 of the 55 questions correct on the HESI math exam, they would receive a 91% on that section of the exam.

Each section of the exam is scored separately, however, students will also receive a cumulative score. This cumulative score is the average of all of their subtest scores.

For example, if a student got a 91% in math, 85% in grammar, 82% in reading comprehension, and a 88% in vocabulary, their cumulative score would be 86.5%. 

Some schools may require students to have a cumulative score above a certain number (usually above 70%). Other schools may require students to score above a certain percentage for each subtest they take. The requirements by school and program will vary.

If the program you are applying to is a competitive program, it is likely a more competitive score will be required. A higher score will help you stand out when compared to other candidates.

Looking to improve your HESI score? You can check out our reviews of the best HESI prep courses or view our top rated pick below. 

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HESI Scores

In general, HESI scores will fall in the following categories. Since every school and program sets their own passing scores, the percentages below may differ. If you would like to see breakdowns for each specific HESI section, keep reading below. 

HESI Scores Breakdown

HESI Math Scores

The math section of the HESI is designed to evaluate a student’s basic mathematical skills. A basic 8th/9th grade knowledge is sufficient. Here’s how HESI scores reflect a student’s skill level in the eyes of various schools and programs. 

Score Percentage Notes Classification
90% to 100% Shows that a student is able to calculate basic arithmetic at an 8th or 9th grade level. As a result, they are able to calculate medication supervision at all levels. Excellent Score
80% to 90% Shows that a student is able to perform basic calculations and administer medication at an above average level. However, there is still room for improvement. Above Average Score
75% to 80% Shows that a student is only capable of rudimentary mathematics and will need supervision when administering medication. Average Score
Below 75% Shows that a student needs to study mathematics more before they will be admitted into nursing school. Failure Score

HESI Vocabulary and General Knowledge Scores

This exam tests a student’s general knowledge and vocabulary on a 10th grade level. Here’s how HESI scores reflect a student’s skill level in the eyes of some schools and programs around the country. 

Score Percentage Notes Classification
90% to 100% This score indicates that a student reads at a 10th grade level. For nursing schools, it proves that an applicant can read and comprehend the knowledge contained in textbooks.  Excellent Score
80% to 90% Shows that a student will be able to find success in nursing school but might require additional time when reading texts. They will also need more time to memorize certain medical definitions. Above Average Score
75% to 80% Students will find the advanced curriculum to be quite challenging so many schools won’t admit individuals with a score lower than 80%. Average Score
Below 75% Students should seek additional help in vocabulary before applying to nursing school. Failure Score

HESI Reading Comprehension Scores

This exam tests a student’s ability to understand basic 8th grade level text. Here’s how HESI scores reflect a student’s skill level in the eyes of the programs they may be applying to.

Score Percentage Notes Classification
90% to 100% Indicates that a student is able to read and comprehend text that will be found in nursing school textbooks.  Excellent Score
80% to 90% This score shows that a student is able to comprehend text in textbooks but they will need to dedicate more time to their studies. Above Average Score
75% to 80% Students who score in this range will likely struggle with some of the textbooks and will have trouble keeping up with the curriculum. Average Score
Below 75% This score indicates that a student is not ready for the complex text found in some of the textbooks they will be reading. Failure Score

HESI Grammar Scores

The grammar exam tests basic high school level grammar skills to ensure students are able to navigate the learning resources that will be present in their program. Here’s how HESI scores reflect a student’s skill level in the eyes of their programs. 

Score Percentage Notes Classification
90% to 100% Indicates that a student is able to produce written text that is grammatically correct. Furthermore, they can do this without difficulty. Excellent Score
80% to 90% Shows that a student is able to produce grammatically correct text but it will take them longer to produce such text. Above Average Score
75% to 80% Students who score in this range will struggle with written assignments and verbal communications. Average Score
Below 75% This score indicates that a student should seek further grammar lessons before applying to nursing school. Failure Score

HESI Subject Test Scores

Chemistry, biology, anatomy, and physics exams are all tested and used to determine whether a student is able to keep up with the curriculum found in nursing school. Here’s how HESI scores reflect a student’s skill level in the eyes of the various programs around the country.

Score Percentage Notes Classification
90% to 100% Indicates that a student possesses exceptional knowledge in all of these essential sciences and will be able to keep up with their studies.   Excellent Score
80% to 90% Students who score in this range will be able to keep up with the curriculum but they still have some room for improvement. Above Average Score
75% to 80% Indicates that a student possesses adequate knowledge of these sciences but they will need to seek additional assistance with the curriculum. Average Score
Below 75% Shows that a student should seek further lessons in the subject before applying to the program. Failure Score

As stated above, each program and school will have their own requirements. With that being said, most schools require a score above 70% to be considered for their program. Students should strive to get the highest score possible in order to stand out against their peers.

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