HESI Study Guide

HESI Study GuideMany nursing programs will require prospective students to take a HESI Admissions Assessment (A2) Entrance Exam.  For most schools, the score you achieve on your HESI are a critical factor in your admissions.  Schools are under intense pressure to only admit the best students so that their retention, passing and placement rates meet their accreditation standards.  The good news is that your score on the HESI A2 Entrance Exam can easily be increased with the right study guide. provides two free methods for preparing for your HESI: Free HESI Practice Exams and HESI Flash Cards.  For those students that prefer a traditional HESI Study Guide, we also recommend a few that we have found useful.

Best HESI A2 Study Guides

BoostPrep HESI A2 Online Study Program

Rating: 5-star

BoostPrep HESI Course

Test-Guide's Perspective: Offers the best online study guide and practice exams for the HESI A2 Entrance Exam.  Course is currently on sale for $29.

Course offers a thorough review of core subjects: math, reading, vocabulary, and grammar. The math section is a great resource for students who need math help. The vocab section contains a flashcard tool to help you learn/remember the terms. Course contains over 900 practice questions. Tests are immediately graded and students are given rationales (explanations) for all questions. Questions are categorized, which allows you to focus on specific areas that you are weak on.  You can also take the test in a timed mode to simulate the actual test environment.

Learn More

Free HESI Practice Exams:

HESI A2 Math Practice Test- Note: The Math Tests are randomized, so please take the test multiple times.

HESI A2 Anatomy and Physiology Practice Test - Note: The A&P Tests are randomized, so please take the test multiple times.

HESI A2 Vocabulary Practice Test- Note: The Vocab Tests are randomized, so please take the test multiple times.

HESI A2 Grammar Practice Test

HESI A2 Reading Practice Test

Free HESI Flash Cards:

HESI A2 Math Flash Cards

HESI A2 Vocabulary Flash Cards

HESI A2 Anatomy and Physiology Flash Cards


HESI A2 Entrance Exam Overview

The HESI A2 Entrance Exam can consist of up to 10 different exams: four on general content, four on subject specific content and two on personality and learning style:  The four content exams are: Math, Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary and Grammar.  The four subject exams are: Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, Physics and Biology.  The subject exams are typically required if your Nursing program has one or more of these subjects as a pre-requisite.  The last two exams are intended to identify a student's learning style.  Nursing programs can pick and choose which of the exams that they offer, depending on their own admissions criteria. The specific areas tested include:

  • Reading - 55 questions (50 scored + 5 pilot) with 60 minute time limit.  The reading comprehension exam will measure a students capability to understand reading passages.  These reading passages will typically be health care related.  Students will be required to identify a primary theme, find the meaning of phrases in context, determine logical inferences and understand reading passages.
  • Grammar - 55 questions (50 scored + 5 pilot) with 50 minute time limit.  Basic grammar principles are evaluated.  These include important terms, their uses in grammar, common grammatical errors, and parts of speech.
  • Vocabulary - 55 questions (50 scored + 5 pilot) with 50 minute time limit.  Students are tested on the grasp of various health care related terms.
  • Math - 55 questions (50 scored + 5 pilot) with 50 minute time limit.  Evaluates a students math skills as related to health care.  Math skills that are tested include: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, ratios, proportions, fractions and decimals.  A large portion of the exam will include conversions, household measures and dosage calculations.
  • Anatomy and Physiology - Usually required if Anatomy and Physiology is a pre-requisite.  25 minute exam with 25 minute time limit.  The A&P exam will cover anatomical structures, general terminology, and systems.
  • Biology - Typically given if Biology is a required pre-requisite. 25 question exam with 25 minute time limit.  The biology test will cover metabolism, cells, cellular respiration, photosynthesis, biological molecules and biology basics.
  • Physics - Usually required if Physics is a pre-requisite course for your school.  25 question exam with 50 minute time limit.  The Physics exam will evaluate a student's understanding of the following topics: rotation, gravitation, Newton's Laws of Motion, average speed, acceleration, projectile motion, light and optics, and energy.
  • Chemistry - Typically given if Chemistry is a required pre-requisite of your nursing program. 25 question exam with a 25 minute time limit.  The Chemistry exam will cover: the periodic table, atomic structure, chemical equations, chemical bonding, nuclear chemistry and matter.

Programs can choose to utilize any combination of the exams to evaluate a student's readiness for their school.  Most nursing programs will test an applicant on the Math, Reading, Vocabulary and Grammar tests as a way to evaluate a student's readiness.

HESI Scores

Each Nursing program will have their own criteria with respect to their required scores on the HESI A2.  Some schools will require absolute minimum scores, while other schools will look at the score in relation to other admissions criteria (e.g., High School grades, experience, etc.).  Some schools will judge your scores in relation to other students vying for a spot in an upcoming term (i.e., schools may decide to take the top 50 scores for a specific term).

HESI Study Tips

In general, if you want to do well on your HESI Entrance Exam, you should make sure that you are well prepared.  Effective HESI study techniques include:

Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure you have good test taking skills. Having good test taking skills allows you to still have a chance at getting the correct answer without knowing the material.  Good test taking skills also allow you to have a lot more time when taking the test and insure that you will not run out of time.

Ways to study

One way you can study is by reviewing the most basic content.  By reviewing the most basic content you are insuring that you will get some answers right on the HESI exam.  When you are doing practice questions, make sure you know why the right answer is right and why the wrong answers are wrong.  If you just randomly pick an answer and get it right but you don’t know why it is right then that will not help you.

One of the most important things you can do on the HESI exam is read the questions and analyze it.  Reading the questions will ensure you will not misinterpret the question and not make a mental mistake. Sometimes on these tests they will give you information that is irrelevant and you should be able to pick out that irrelevant information.