What Is the HESI Exam?

If you are thinking of going to nursing school, there’s a good chance you have heard of the HESI exam. The HESI exam is an entrance exam implemented by nursing schools to determine whether students qualify for acceptance into their program.

Taking the HESI exam is your first step toward becoming a qualified nurse. The score you receive will play an essential role in your path during nursing school. It will provide a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses.

Exams can be stressful, though. But being prepared can help manage your stress and allow you to perform at your best.

Learn more about the HESI exam and how to best prepare for it here.

What Does HESI Stand For?

HESI stands for Health Education Systems Incorporated. The HESI exams are designed and owned by Elsevier Education as an entrance exam required for many nursing programs.

The HESI exam is a four-hour exam selected schools give prospective nursing students. Nursing schools use this exam to screen applicants for admission into their programs.

What Is on the HESI Exam?

There are 326 multiple-choice questions on the HESI exam. Your nursing school may decide to make adjustments to suit their program requirements.

But generally speaking, there are 326 questions across ten sections. Eight of those sections are academic (graded). Two of those sections are personal (ungraded).

Keep in mind that schools may customize the test to include or exclude certain information.

Academic Sections

The Academic Sections of the HESI exam include the following:

  • Anatomy and Physiology (30 questions, 25 minutes)

  • Biology (30 questions, 25 minutes)

  • Chemistry (30 questions, 25 questions)

  • Grammar (55 questions, 50 questions)

  • Mathematics (55 questions, 50 minutes)

  • Reading Comprehension (55 questions, 60 minutes)

  • Vocabulary (55 questions, 50 minutes)

  • Physics* (25 questions, 25 minutes)

The physics section is generally not needed by most nursing schools. If you’re unsure, talk to your nursing school faculty department before you begin studying this section of the exam.

Personal Sections

The Personal Sections of the HESI exam include the following:

  • Personality Profile (15 questions, 15 minutes)

  • Learning Style (14 questions, 15 minutes)

Keep in mind that this section of the HESI exam is not graded and may or may not be included, depending on the school.

What Is the HESI Exam Used For?

The HESI is one of many nursing exams you will take throughout your degree. This particular exam is used to predict whether a student will be successful in their nursing program.

HESI exams are not limited to a single test. Instead, they are a series of exams designed to assess the academic capabilities of their students in the course and program content.

Some nursing schools will require students to pass HESI for entrance into their program and pass the HESI before graduation. Other nursing schools will use the HESI exam as part of the nursing school curriculum.

Instead of thinking about the HESI as a chore, consider it an opportunity to strengthen and improve your current knowledge in preparation for when you eventually take the NCLEX.

How Long Is the HESI?

The HESI exam is a computerized exam taken either on-campus or at home through ProctorU. You have four hours to complete the exam. You are allowed to take short breaks, including use of the restroom, to get a drink, or eat a snack.

Students cannot access the internet, email, or study materials during breaks. Every school sets its own cost for taking the HESI exam. But you can expect to pay between $35 to $70.

If you are unhappy with your score, you can retake the HESI exam. But, you can only take it once every 60 days and no more than three times within one year.

That’s why it’s essential to prepare for the exam early to avoid retaking the exam and delaying entry into nursing school.

What Is a Good HESI Score?

The HESI exam is scored on a scale ranging from 0% to 100%. Unlike the exams you may have completed during high school, the HESI isn’t a “pass” or “fail” exam.

Keep in mind every school has its set score for admittance into its nursing program, which may differ slightly from the scores listed here. As always, check with your nursing school program to see the passing requirements.

A good HESI exam score is 75%. An excellent score is between 90% to 100%. College students with these scores demonstrate comprehensive knowledge and are well prepared to enter nursing school.

The admissions are so competitive in many programs that students must achieve 75% or higher test scores.

If you complete your HESI exam on a computer, you may receive your score right away. A more detailed score report will be available to view seven days after taking the exam.

Your HESI scores are valid for two years from the date of your exam completion.

How Can I Prepare for the HESI Exams?

Passing the HESI exam can be a daunting challenge. If you can pass the HESI exam, it will give you the confidence to continue your studies and get into the nursing program of your choice.

Before you panic about taking the exam, there are plenty of ways you can prepare for the HESI exams. When you take the time to prepare, you will less likely feel stressed or anxious on the day of the actual exam.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the HESI exam:

  • Know what to expect on the exam

  • Read everything carefully

  • Utilize HESI flashcards

  • Read through HESI study guides

  • Create a study schedule

  • Complete a HESI practice test

Union Test Prep’s HESI study materials are a lifesaver for those who want to sharpen their knowledge in areas of strength and identify and work on areas of weakness.

When you’re prepared for an exam, you can manage your stress levels to allow you to perform at your best.

The Importance of a HESI Practice Test

Making excellent scores on the HESI exam can make a massive difference in helping you secure admission into your preferred nursing program. An average score can limit or even ruin your chances of being accepted into a program.

Union Test Prep’s free HESI exam practice tests will help you sharpen your knowledge and identify the areas you need to work on. Each question in the practice exam will test your understanding of the material in a simulated testing environment.

When it’s time to take the actual HESI exam, remember to:

  • Pace yourself

  • Read the instructions carefully

  • Ensure you are physically and mentally prepared

It can be tempting to spend days and nights cramming for the HESI exam. But more often than not, this can lead to physical and mental exhaustion.

Instead of cramming, study at a steady pace in the lead-up to the HESI exam. Ensure you are getting plenty of sleep, and remember to eat well and take breaks often.

The day/night before your exam isn’t the time to cram either. Anything you try and learn now will most likely be forgotten by morning.

Instead, it would help if you tried to:

  • Eat a well-balanced meal

  • Set the alarm (or two)

  • Stay hydrated

  • Review study notes

  • Perform light exercise

  • Prepare for the morning

  • Get enough sleep

  • Relax

While it might be easier said than done, relaxing before the night before your exam will help you in more ways than one. In a relaxed state of mind, you can think more clearly, and you’re less likely to feel stressed or anxious.

Other Helpful HESI Exam Study Methods

Of course, practice tests aren’t the only way to help prep for an upcoming exam. In addition to HESI practice tests, study guides and flashcards are effective study materials that can help you prepare for the HESI exam.

Students often find studying using more than one material will help drive home important points and better prepare them for the actual exam.

HESI Flashcards

Union Test Prep’s free flashcards for the HESI Exam can help you test your knowledge and review your skills.

The flashcard set covers seven sections of the HESI exam:

  • Anatomy & Physiology

  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • Grammar

  • Mathematics

  • Physics

  • Vocabulary

For example, the anatomy and physiology flashcards will help you remember all of those body systems, what organs they involve, and how they work together.

Read the front of the flashcard and write down or say aloud what you think the answer is. Then press the “flip flashcard” button to find the correct answer.

Students find memorizing flashcards an intimidating approach to learning, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few techniques that may help you memorize information more efficiently and effectively:

  • Repeat information over and over

  • Understand the information before you memorize it

  • Write it down

Writing information down is the best way to memorize something as it associates what you have learned through muscle memory.

When you answer an incorrect flashcard, set it aside and write it down. Go back to your notes and find what concepts you’re struggling with. Take the time to study these concepts closely and try again with the flashcards.

HESI Study Guides

Union Test Prep’s free study guides for the HESI exam are another effective way to familiarize yourself with the subject matter that is likely to be in your exam. Use your study guides to determine what is important in preparation for each section of the HESI exam.

For example, mathematics is a broad topic. How will you know which areas to focus on without a study guide? That’s where Union Test Prep comes in.

The mathematics study guide outlines the basic operations (add, subtract, multiply, and divide) in the exam with examples of calculating those equations.

Here are five key strategies to give you a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the material in your study guides:

  • Highlight key concepts

  • Create a study group to learn the material together

  • Explain what you are studying to another person

  • Don’t cram; study over time

  • Take notes, put material in your own words

The breadth of detailed information the Union Test Prep study guides provide will help you determine your test readiness. When you know how to take advantage of them, you can ace your HESI exam without spending endless weeks studying.

Study Tips to Help HESI Exam Prep

There’s no question that nursing school is challenging. When you’re preparing for your HESI exam, the amount of information you need to retain can feel overwhelming.

Before you panic, take a deep breath. With a little bit of planning, time management, and these study tips and strategies, you can improve studying and retaining information:

  • Follow the study guide

  • Study a little every day

  • Focus on the crucial material first

  • Form a study group

  • Skim-read first and highlight key terms

  • Know your learning style

  • Use downtime as study time

  • Take breaks

  • Simulate a test environment

Start your academic journey on the right foot, and remember to reward yourself. Tell yourself to finish your flashcards or complete a set amount of reading before giving yourself a treat.

Rewards could be as little as a piece of chocolate or as big as a night out on the town. Whatever it is, make sure you have accomplished something for HESI exam prep first. It’ll work wonders!

Ace Your HESI Exam With Help From Union Test Prep

It is normal to feel anxious or stressed about the upcoming HESI exam. Luckily, there are many techniques you can try and resources available to reduce stress and make sure you ace your HESI exam when the time comes.

Union Test Prep is here to provide study material to help you pass the HESI and take the first step towards your nursing career. Union Test Prep’s HESI practice tests, flashcards, and study guides can help you get real experience before taking the actual exam.

You can pass the HESI exam and enter your dream nursing program with hard work and dedication.

Sharpen your knowledge with Union Test Prep’s free practice test for the HESI today!

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