Dr. Jan Olson By: Dr. Jan Olson
HESI Study Guide

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Preparing to take the HESI? Studying for this exam can be overwhelming, especially if you do not know what you should be studying. Check out our HESI study guide to get a start on your exam preparation.

Our HESI exam study guide will help give you a better idea of what you should be studying while preparing for this exam.

Utilize our study guide and other HESI resources outlined in this article to get a top score on your exam and get accepted into your dream school or program.

Summary: Utilize our free HESI study guide and other resources below to ace your exam. For more help, take a practice HESI test.

One of the most common questions students ask is, “how long should I study for the HESI?” The answer to this question is it depends on how much time you can devote to your studies.

If you can devote multiple hours a day to studying for the HESI exam, you will be able to have a shorter study timeframe. If you are working full-time or in school full-time, you may not be able to study every day, thus requiring a longer study timeframe.

Most experts recommend studying for 5-6 weeks when preparing for this exam. This is a great time frame to avoid cramming and better learn and review information.

Our Recommended HESI Prep Course

If you are serious about passing your HESI exam, try our recommended HESI Prep Course

Prepare Now

Our HESI study guide below outlines the following subtests:

  1. Math
  2. Reading
  3. Grammar
  4. Vocab
  5. Anatomy and Physiology

While there are other subtests that some schools test students on, these 5 subtests are the most common. It is important to verify with your school or program to see which subtests you will be tested on.

The subtests you are tested on will determine how to study for the HESI. If you are only tested on 3 subtests, the way in which you study for this exam will be different versus someone who must take all 8 sections.

You will notice that each subject on the study guide below starts and ends with a practice test. Practice tests are a great way to gauge your progress. Use our HESI practice test combined with the HESI study guides below for the best results.


  • Practice Test #1 – HESI Math Specific
  • Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division
  • Order of Operations
    • Exponents
    • PEMDAS
  • Decimals
    • Addition of decimals
    • Subtraction of decimals
    • Multiplication of decimals
    • Division of decimals
  • Fractions
    • Addition of fractions
    • Subtraction of fractions
    • Multiplication of fractions
    • Division of fractions
  • Conversion of Fractions and Decimals
    • Converting from fractions to decimals
    • Converting from decimals to fractions
  • Ratios and Proportions
  • Units of Measurement
    • Temperature
    • Length
    • Volume and capacity
    • Weight and mass
  • Percentages
  • Algebra
    • Expressions
    • Equations
  • Word Problems
  • Practice Test #2 – HESI Math Specific


  • Practice Test #1 – HESI Reading Specific
  • Supporting Details
    • Series
    • Evidence
  • Summarizing
    • Strategies to help summarize
  • Purpose and Tone
  • Logical Inferences
  • Structure
    • Facts
    • Opinions
    • Word meanings
    • Point of view
  • Practice Test #2 – HESI Reading Specific


  • Practice Test #1 – HESI Grammar Specific
  • Parts of Speech
    • Nouns
    • Pronouns
    • Adjectives
    • Prepositions
    • Conjunctions
    • Interjections
  • Parts of a Sentence
    • Subject and predicate
    • Phrases
    • Clauses
    • Direct and indirect objects
  • Punctuation
    • Commas
    • Semicolons
    • Colons
    • Apostrophe
    • Quotations
  • Practice Test #2 – HESI Grammar Specific


  • Practice Test #1 – HESI Vocab Specific
  • Find a Directory of HESI Vocab Words
    • HESI vocab tests (Free)
    • HESI prep course with HESI vocab section
  • Practice Test #2 – HESI Vocab Specific

Anatomy and Physiology

  • Practice Test #1 – HESI Anatomy and Physiology Specific
  • Basics
    • Key terms
    • Directional terms
    • Body planes
    • Body Cavities
    • Homeostasis
    • Cells
    • Membrane
    • Junctions
    • Transport Process
    • Mitosis and meiosis
    • Synthesis
  • Tissues
    • Muscle tissue
    • Nervous tissue
    • Connective tissue
  • Respiratory System
    • Basic functions
    • Structures
  • Circulatory System
    • Blood
    • Heart
    • Pathways
    • Cardiac cycle
  • Digestive System
    • Basic functions
    • Structures
  • Nervous System
    • Terminology
    • Brain
    • Ventricles
    • Spinal Cord
    • Reflexes
  • Muscular System
    • Basic functions
    • Size and arrangement
  • Reproductive System
    • Male
    • Female
  • Endocrine System
    • Hormones
  • Urinary System
    • Basic functions
    • Structures
  • Skeletal System
    • Skull
    • Thorax
    • Pectoral girdle
    • Pelvic girdle

Image breaking down a weekly HESI study guide

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Our free HESI study guide will help you get the study process started. If you are looking for additional resources, continue reading to find some great resources to help you get a top score on the exam.

Listed below are some additional study resources you can use with your HESI study guides. After reviewing the study guide above, supplement these resources as necessary.

Practice Exams

You can use our free HESI practice tests to get a gauge of where you are at. Our tests are grouped by subtest so you can focus on specific sections.

All questions are automatically scored and include answer explanations. Pay special attention to the answer explanations as they can help you better understand concepts and get a higher score on the exam.

Students should focus on the sections that they struggled on most. You can find section specific practice exams below:

Prep Courses

Prep courses are going to be the most efficient way of studying. Most courses will lay out everything you need and give you an outline to follow as you progress through the course.

Many courses are affordable and offer pass guarantees. A prep course should be looked at as an investment – spend a little money up front and ensure you pass the exam the first time. 

If you do not pass the first time, you will have to pay another exam fee (which no one wants to do). You can compare different options with our best HESI prep courses guide.

Self-Studying Vs. Prep Course

Students studying for this exam should not take this test lightly. Many schools and programs use this exam as a means of evaluating potential candidates.

Students can choose to self-study or use a prep course. Both methods are an option, but it depends on what you are looking for.

If you are someone who needs some guidance and needs some motivation to study, a prep course is probably your best bet. If you are someone who is disciplined and enjoys a challenge, you can probably get away with self-studying.

A prep course will lay out everything you need to know and will include practice questions, practice tests, and lecture materials. Individuals who decide to self-study will have to collect and find all their resources, which can be very time consuming – you may also miss out on key information.

How long should I study for the HESI exam?

It is generally recommended that you spend between 5 and 6 weeks when studying for this exam. That will give you ample time to study without having to cram before the exam.

Should I self-study or use a prep course?

If you want to study in the most efficient way possible, a prep course will be your best bet. You will save a ton of time by not having to collect your own study resources. You can also be confident that the prep course will include everything you need to know – you may miss certain topics or subjects if you decide to self-study.

With that being said, some students decide to self-study for this exam. It can be done. It will take some more time and effort but is achievable.

Can I use just a HESI study guide to study?

We recommend supplementing other resources with HESI study guides. Some other resources could include practice exams, prep courses, or flashcards.

We recommend using other resources to ensure that you are learning the material you need to know. Practice exams are the most important alternative resources as they will prepare you for the exam and help give you a better idea of what to expect on the actual exam.