Hey everyone, and welcome to our insightful article on the HESI nursing exam.

Today, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the HESI A2 exam.

By the end of the session, you’ll be conversant with the exam structure, subject breakdown, passing score, and cost.

In brief, here is what we’ll cover:

  • An overview of the HESI A2 exam
  • HESI exam structure
  • HESI exam passing score and cost

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Other free HESI A2 study materials:

  1. HESI A2 exam prep
  2. HESI A2 study plan
  3. HESI A2 study guide
  4. HESI A2 practice tests
  5. HESI A2 flashcards
  6. HESI A2 cheat sheet
  7. HESI A2 study materials
  8. HESI A2 Exam FAQ

An Overview HESI A2 Exam

in this article, you will find a complete overview of HESI exam study.

Health Education Systems Incorporated (HESI) creates and administers the HESI exam.

The exam is designed for healthcare and nursing students.

It’s a standardized exam used as an admission assessment criterion and a preparation tool for licensure exams.

Majorly, it’s taken by candidates who want to forge a career as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses (LPN), or advanced practical registered nurses.

It assesses students and helps them chatter their career paths.

Health Education Systems Incorporated provides the exam and HESI study materials to prepare for it.

Having said that, there are two HESI exams: the HESI A2 exam, also known as the HESI Admission Assessment exam or the HESI entrance exam, and the second one is the HESI Exit exam.

The HESI entrance exam tests whether candidates qualify to join a nursing program.

The exam is used in most colleges as an assessment tool to determine whether aspiring nursing students have what it takes to pursue a BSN or ADN.

A student’s performance in the exam predicts whether they’ll make it in nursing school or not.

Hence, most nursing schools in the US have it as an admission criterion.

The HESI Exit exam is often taken in the last semester before graduation.

Some colleges may bar students who’ve not passed the exam from graduating, as it indicates they are not well prepared for the NCLEX.

The exam replicates the NCLEX exam and helps learners prepare for the NCLEX licensure exam.

HESI Exam Structure

let's discuss further and cover the HESI A2 exam content, question types, and HESI score.

Now that we know what the HESI nursing exam is, it’s time to delve a little deeper and give you details on what to expect in the HESI entrance and the HESI Exit exams.

Let’s get started with the HESI A2 test.

HESI Entrance Exam

This exam is given to prospective nursing students to determine whether they qualify for a bachelor’s degree program or an associate degree program.

The exam covers nine subjects: reading comprehension, math, grammar, vocabulary, biology, chemistry, physics, and anatomy and physiology.

Learning and personality styles are bonus subjects that bring the total to nine.

However, most colleges don’t include it, and even when they do, it doesn’t go toward the final score, although it’s still used to screen candidates.

Now, this is important; most schools don’t include all nine subjects.

They customize the exam to meet their admission requirements.

That is to say, they can exclude some subjects.

You’ll find that most schools include reading comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar.

They may or may not include physiology & anatomy, physics, chemistry, and biology, depending on whether these subjects are prerequisites for the healthcare program you are interested in.

The eight subjects can be taken separately, but it’s recommended that you take them in a day.

As mentioned, you may only need to take some of the sections for your admission.

How many sections you take depends on your school’s requirements.

Mostly, the exam runs for four to five and a half hours.

Here is a breakdown of the exam subjects, the number of questions, and the time limit.

HESI Entrance Exam Subjects Breakdown

SubjectNo. of QuestionsTime (Minutes)
Reading Comprehension4760
Physiology & Anatomy2525

In total, the exam has 365 questions.

Important to note is that the HESI nursing exam is predominately multiple-choice.

However, you may find a few fill-in-the-blank questions in the math test.

Let’s now shift gears and walk you through what you can expect in the eight subjects tested in the exam.


Math has 50 questions and takes 50 minutes to complete.

That means you have a minute for each question.

This subject covers basic knowledge in math, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, decimals, ratios, and roman numbers.

It goes further to cover dosage calculations and household measurements.

Reading Comprehension

This section has 47 questions that take an hour.

Here, you’ll read passages that talk about medical and health-related issues.

You’ll be tested on your ability to read and understand health-related issues, deduce the meaning of vocabulary used, identify key concepts and make conclusions.

Vocabulary and general knowledge

As the name suggests, you are prone to meet new words used in health care.

You’ll be tested on how versed you are with basic healthcarerelated vocabulary.

In the test, you’ll have 50 minutes to answer 50 questions.


The grammar portion has 50 questions that run for 50 minutes.

The grammar part focuses on your knowledge of basic grammar.

You‘ll be tested in parts of speech, how to use different terms in grammar, and common grammatical errors, to mention a few.


Chemistry is for programs that require chemistry as a prerequisite.

Here, you’ll have 25 questions and 25 minutes to answer the questions that span chemical equations, the periodic table, atomic structure, nuclear chemistry, and chemical bonding, among other introductory topics in chemistry.


Like chemistry, physics takes 25 minutes and has 25 questions.

You’ll be tested on Newton’s law of motion, projection motion, friction, gravitation, acceleration, and waves and sounds.


Like in the first two sciences, you can expect 25 questions and the same amount of time to complete the section.

In biology, the exam covers cellular respiration, photosynthesis, biological molecules, metabolism, and several topics in basic biology.

Physiology & Anatomy

Physiology and anatomy are all about body systems and anatomical structures.

Here, you’ll have 25 questions and 25 minutes.

The bonus section, personality style, has 15 questions, while the learning style has 14 questions.

These two sections give a glimpse of your personality when it comes to learning and how you learn best.

The HESI A2 entrance exam generally covers basic healthcare and nursing knowledge.

Its goal is to determine whether learners have foundational knowledge in nursing.

It identifies those well-suited for a career in nursing.

HESI Exit Exam

HESI Exit exam tests test-takers’ readiness for the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN exams.

It’s used to determine whether learners are well-prepared for the licensing exams.

According to the HESI website, the HESI Exit exam score has 98% accuracy on whether a student will pass the NCLEX.

The exam tests students’ critical thinking; since it replicates the actual NCLEX, it reflects their readiness.

The HESI Exit exam has the same type of questions as the National Council Licensure Examination: multiple-response, multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, and fill-in-the-blank.

The HESI RN Exit exam has 150 questions, while the HESI LPN Exit exam has 150 or 75 questions.

It covers three areas: the nursing process, client needs, and specialties.

Client needs

Here you are tested in safe and effective environment, safety and infection control, psychosocial integrity, pharmaceutical and parental treatments, care management, health promotion, basic care and comfort, and reducing risk potential.

The nursing process

The nursing process covers assessment, nursing diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Specialty areas

Specialty areas are all about the specialties in the nursing field.

You’ll be tested in geriatrics, pediatrics, OBGYN, community health, mental health, pathophysiology, critical care, and professional issues, among others.

The HESI Exit exam covers the same content areas as the NCLEX exam.

HESI Nursing Exam Passing Score

For HESI Exam different Colleges have their own passing scores.

The HESI A2 exam is not a fail/pass exam.

It’s based on a passing score that sums to 100%.

Colleges have their own passing scores.

The majority have a passing score ranging from 70% to 80% for each section tested in the exam.

But generally, 75% and above is considered a good score, while 90% + is an excellent performance.

If you fail this exam the first time, you’ll have a 60-day waiting period before you retake it.

You can only take the exam three times a year.

And a retesting fee may apply.

Your score is valid for two years.

As for the HESI Exit exam, your score is based on the questions’ difficulty level and the number of questions you’ve answered.

The score ranges from 0 – 1,500.

It’s recommended that students score 900, although 850 is also acceptable.

If you score below 850, it shows that you need more preparation to take the NCLEX.

Further, some colleges have their own passing score.

Thus, you need to have this information before the test.

The HESI nursing exam is taken at a testing center, a community college, or a nursing school.

In some Prometric testing centers, the exam is offered every two weeks.

HESI A2 Entrance Exam Cost

HESI A2 entrance exam cost varies depending on the institution.

When it comes to cost, the price varies depending on the institution since schools set their own prices.

The HESI A2 exam fees range from $35 to $75, with the majority charging around $45.


Conclusion on HESI A2 exam

There you have it—everything you need to know about the HESI nursing exam.

We’ve highlighted the exam structure, passing score, subject breakdown, and cost.

We’ve gone further to answer all your concerns about this entrance exam.

We hope you can now start your exam prep with a clear mind.

HESI Nursing Exam FAQs

Here we have answered some most commonly asked HESI study questions

What is a good HESI score for nursing?

A good score for the HESI Exit exam is 850 and above. As for the HESI entrance exam, a good score is 75%. However, the passing score varies from one nursing school to the other. So, confirm with your nursing program the school’s passing score.

How do I study for the HESI exam for nursing?

– Have a HESI study plan ready
– Leverage the HESI study guide and manual to cover the subjects
– Take practice tests at the end of each subject
– Use the HESI cheat sheet and flashcards to cover knowledge gaps
– Take full-length HESI practice exams to test exam readiness

Is the HESI a pass or fail?

No. It’s not a pass-or-fail exam. If you take the HESI A2 exam, you must score 75% and above to pass. As for the HESI entrance exam, 850 score and above is considered good. Please note that nursing schools have their own passing score. So, check with yours.

What is HESI exam for nursing?

The HESI nursing exam is used in most nursing schools as an admission screening test and for preparing for the NCLEX exam. HESI A2 tests whether potential nursing students qualify for a nursing program. The HESI Exit exam prepares learners for the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN exams.

How many questions are in the HESI nursing?

The HESI admission assessment has 326 questions. But the number may change depending on the sections your school includes in the exam. The HESI RN Exit exam has 150 questions, while the HESI LPN Exit exam can have 75 or 150 questions.

How much does the HESI exam cost?

The HESI nursing exam costs range from $35 to $70. Although, you may find some schools charging as high as $110. The exam costs vary by the testing center and school. The fee may go up if you choose virtual testing because of the proctoring fee.

Can you use a calculator for the HESI exam?

Yes. You are allowed to use a calculator on the HESI exam. The calculator is provided on the screen of the computer. You can’t bring your own. This is to minimize cases of cheating and ensure a standardized way of taking the exam.

How do you know your HESI exam score?

You’ll get your results immediately after you complete the exam. Further, Evolve Elsevier will send you your score report through the email you provided during registration between 24 hours and two weeks after doing the exam. You can check your Evolve account. The results will be there within 48 hours.

How many times can you take the HESI exam?

How many times you can take the HESI A2 solely depends on your school. Some schools allow two attempts per admission, while others only offer three attempts per year. Still, some allow once per year. The majority, however, allow three attempts with 60 day waiting period.

Is the HESI mandatory?

The HESI nursing exam is not mandatory. For some schools, passing the HESI 2A exam is not a requirement for admission to health science programs. However, in most schools, aspiring health science students must pass the HESI entrance exam to be admitted and the HESI Exit exam to take NCLEX.

How long is the HESI?

The HESI A2 exam takes around 4 hours to complete. The exam has multiple-choice questions and covers reading comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, anatomy & physiology, chemistry, biology, physics, math, and personality and learning style. The HESI Exit exam takes 3 hours to complete and has 150 questions.

HESI A2 vs. HESI Exit Exam: What’s the difference?

THE HESI A2 exam is an entrance exam designed to show learners with the most aptitude for nursing. It tests whether students qualify for a health science program. The HESI Exit exam is for preparing prospective RNs and LPNs for the NCLEX. The exam predicts learners’ potential for success in NCLEX.

What is the difference between HESI and TEAS?

The Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) is an entry-level exam designed to test learners’ preparedness for an allied health or nursing program. It tests learners’ general knowledge, while the HESI nursing exam tests the medical field and general knowledge.

What should I expect to be on the HESI exam?

Here are the subjects you should focus on in the HESI A2 exam: math, grammar, anatomy & physiology, vocabulary, reading comprehension, chemistry, physics, biology, and learning and personality styles. As for the HESI Exit exam, expect client needs, the nursing process, and specialty areas.

Is the HESI exam multiple-choice?

Yes, the HESI entrance exam is mostly a multiple-choice exam with a few fill-in-the-blank questions. The HESI Exit exam has multiple types of questions, including multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, multiple-response, and drag-and-drop. It will be best to take HESI practice exams to familiarize yourself with the exam questions.

Where do I take the HESI test?

You can take the test at a community college or nursing school. You can also take the exam in the many Prometric testing centers across the country. You can also take the exam remotely at home. Before registering for the exam, contact your school to confirm their preferred option.

What happens if I don’t pass my HESI exam?

If you don’t pass the HESI nursing exam, you can retake it. Confirm with your school the retake policy, which may include a waiting period and an additional fee. From there, start your HESI exam prep. Review the areas you performed poorly. HESI flashcards can help cover these areas fast.

How many questions are on each section of the HESI A2?

Here is a breakdown of the sections in the HESI exam plus the time limit:
– Math: 50 questions (50 minutes)
– Grammar: 50 questions (50 minutes)
– Vocabulary: 50 questions (50 minutes)
– Reading comprehension: 47 questions (60 minutes)
– Sciences (biology, chemistry, physics and anatomy, and physiology): 100 questions

Are HESI exams harder than the NCLEX?

Yes. The HESI exam is more difficult than the NCLEX. This is to help test-takers over-prepare for the actual NCLEX exam. Most nursing schools require students to take the HESI Exit exam before sitting for the NCLEX. This is to test their preparedness level.







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