The Health Educations System, Inc. Admissions Assessment, commonly referred to as the HESI A2 is also known as the Evolve Reach Admission Assessment. Students need to take and pass this screening to pass to gain admission into nursing schools and into many other healthcare occupations programs. While the HESI A2 test is only one component in your application package, you will need to pass it to be accepted into your desired health profession program. 

Each school administering the test can set the time allotted for students. Most schools require that students complete the test within 4 hours, although some schools extend the time limit to 5 hours, while other schools eliminate the time limit altogether. The HESI A2 exam contains 339 questions in three academic sections and one learner profile section, although some nursing and other health science programs may not require you to take every section. Fees differ by school but range from $40-$100. Some schools may also charge a proctoring fee to administer the test.

Did you know?

The HESI A2 Test has nine sections in three academic sections and one learner profile. The academic sections are: (1) English language, (2) math, and (3) science. Each school sets its own passing score for the exam, with most requiring at least a 75%-80% in each section to be considered for admission. To excel on the test, you will need to read the instructions carefully and work quickly through the sections.


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Icon Questions Explained White HESI A2 Test Question Types Explained

The HESI A2 is a multiple-choice test. The test is divided into 9 sections, covering three academic areas and a learner profile section. The HESI A2 does not have an official time limit. The time listed in the table below, however, are recommendations. Please be sure to check with the school you are applying to for actual time limits. 

PartNo. of QuestionsTime AllowedTime per Question
English Language
Reading comprehension55*60 minutes65 seconds
Vocabulary and general knowledge 55*50 minutes54 seconds
Grammar 55*50 minutes54 seconds
Math
Basic math skills55*50 minutes54 seconds
Science
Biology30*25 minutes50 seconds
Chemistry30*25 minutes50 seconds
Anatomy and physiology30*25 minutes50 seconds
Physics30*50 minutes100 seconds
Learner Profile
Learning style1415 minutes64 seconds
Personality profile1515 minutes60 seconds

*Five of these questions are pilot questions and are not included in your score

English Language

The English language portion of the exam is divided into three separate sections, measuring your proficiency in English. 

Reading Comprehension

The test measures your ability to understand information that you have read. You will be presented with a passage to read and be asked to identify the main idea, define words, answer questions that demonstrate your understanding of the passage, make logical inferences, and more.

Winning Tip for Reading Comprehension

Read through the passage and the questions carefully. You will frequently be faced with two answers that are both plausible or partially correct. In most instances, you are being tasked with selecting the best answer, rather than an answer which is acceptable. 

Vocabulary and General Knowledge

In this section, you will demonstrate your proficiency in vocabulary. The test includes terms that are used in general, English-speaking settings as well as in healthcare fields.

Winning Tip for Vocabulary and General Knowledge

Many people tend to think that they can’t improve their vocabulary. However, this is an area where you can improve your skill set by studying new words and understanding common health-care-related prefixes and suffixes. 

Grammar

 You will identify parts of speech, important terms and their uses, and common grammatical errors, and answer other grammar questions.

Winning Tip for Grammar

If you haven’t taken an English class in a while, take time to study the basic rules of sentence structure. This section is easy to overlook, especially with some of the science sections, but grammar is just as important as chemistry and biology to help you get into your healthcare program.

Basic Math Skills

There is only one section in the basic math skills section. The focus of the test is on math that is used in healthcare fields. You will need to display proficiency in addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, decimals, ratios, proportions, household measurements, and general math facts.

Winning Tip for Basic Math

You don’t always need to work out the answer. Oftentimes you can simply eliminate some of the multiple-choice answers to find the correct response. 

Science

The science section is divided into three parts, allowing you to demonstrate your knowledge in these areas. 

Winning Tip for Science Questions

There are no tricks in these questions. You either know the answer or you don’t. Your best tip is to find a textbook to study. Additionally, use online tutorials, like those offered by iPrep, which will review the essentials for you.

Biology

This section covers biology basics including water, biological molecules, metabolism, cells, cellular respiration, and photosynthesis.

Chemistry

In this section you’ll be asked questions that cover topics like matter, chemical equations and reactions, the periodic table, atomic structure, nuclear chemistry, and chemical bonding.

Anatomy and Physiology

You’ll be asked questions on general terminology, anatomical structures, and systems.

Physics

This section, which is considered experimental and given primarily to students attending radiology other imaging programs, covers laws of physics, wave classification, energy, currents and voltage, motion, optics, static electricity, and gravitation.

Learner Profile

This section of the test offers insight into the way you learn and the impact your personality has on the way you learn new subjects. 

Learning Style

The questions assess your preferred learning style, which can be used by schools to ensure that your learning style matches the school’s teaching style.

Personality Profile

You’ll be asked questions to help the school assess your personality, which will help determine whether you are a good fit for their program.

Icon Preparation Strategies White HESI A2 Test Preparation Strategies

If you are intending to go to nursing or other healthcare programs, it’s vital that you prepare for the test. HESI offers a review manual, which includes a pre-test to help you assess your strengths and weaknesses, and a post-test, which shows how prepared you are. 

The review manual will walk you through topics and questions you can expect to find on the test. 

In addition to the review guide, there are other steps you can take to give yourself the edge you need when competing against other candidates. 

Schedule Plenty of Time for Studying

To do well on the academic portions of the test, you will need to have a vast amount of knowledge. If it has been a few years since you say in a classroom, you will need to spend a considerable amount of time getting back up to speed, which will help you brush up on subjects that you may have forgotten and give you the confidence to succeed.

We have found that most applicants need a minimum of one month to prepare for the test, with many of them requiring 2-3 months of study to prepare themselves to take the HESI A2.

Identify Strengths and Weaknesses and Build a Study Plan

Before you throw yourself into studying, take a practice test like the one offered by iPrep. This will help guide your studies, as a poor score in any subject could derail your plans. Based on the results of your practice exam, you should know whether you need to spend more time studying chemistry, practicing your grammar, or brushing up on math skills. 

Create a study plan that emphasizes improving in areas of weakness, but be sure not to neglect areas where you feel stronger. It’s important to continue to study those subjects as well, to refresh your memory and sharpen those skills before the test. 

Find a Test Preparation Course that Meets Your Needs

You need an online test prep course that can guide you through all the different sections of the HESI A2 test, rather than looking for different courses that focus on English, math, and science. Check reviews to make sure that the course you choose has been beneficial to other test takers. While looking for the right course, keep the following in mind:

  1. Don’t settle for a generic nursing or health course. Find a course that uses the same format as the HESI A2, which will help familiarize you with the test before you sit down, and make it easier for you to focus on test day. 
  2. The course should focus on areas of study on which you will be tested. There’s no sense in taking a course that includes the study of geology when your focus needs to be on chemistry, biology, anatomy, and physiology.
  3. Sign up for courses that have recent user reviews and customer support. There are plenty of prep courses that merely collect practice tests from other websites, and offer you study guides that are out of date. 
  4. Look for an online course or book that was published by a familiar author.

Practice Answering Multiple Choice Questions 

This might seem like a waste of time to someone who is trying to provide the right answer, but the reality is there are some techniques that can help you improve your score on multiple-choice tests. As all the questions in the HESI A2 are multiple-choice, this cannot be overstated. 

The key is to learn methods of elimination and how to make educated guesses for many types of problems, as well as to learn time-saving techniques when solving numerical problems. Find a guide that teaches these tips and tricks. 

As part of iPrep’s tutorials, we include these techniques in our courses, giving you tips and time-saving techniques for these questions. 

Practice Timed Simulations

While not every practice run needs to be timed, as you get closer to the test date it will become increasingly important to simulate the actual test experience. The more opportunities you have to run through a simulation, the more comfortable you’ll be on test day, and the more likely you will be to work effectively within the short time frame you have to complete each section.

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The Health Educations System, Inc. allows individual healthcare programs to set some of their own policies. For example, while most programs require one valid ID, Miami Dade College requires two picture IDs. While the information below is accurate under most circumstances, students should review their school’s policies before registering for the HESI A2 exam.

HESI A2 Fast Facts (tl;dr)

  • Total of 369 questions
  • The test is officially untimed, but most schools impose a 4 or 5 hour time restriction
  • Three academic sections
    • English – reading comprehension, vocabulary and general knowledge, and grammar
    • Basic math
    • Science – biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and physics
  • One learner profile section covering learning style and personality
  • Not every program will require you to take all the sections. Check with your school before you start studying.
  • The test can be typically be taken up to 3 times per year, with a minimum of 30 days between attempts
  • Calculators may not be brought into the test, but there is a built-in calculator in the test platform
  • You will need to create an Evolve account before taking the test
  • You will need to show a current, valid ID to take the test. 

Read on for more detailed information you need to know about the HESI A2 exam.

HESI A2, HESI Critical Thinking Exam, and HESI Exit Exam

The Health Educations System, Inc. offers three different exams, each of which is used for different purposes. 

  • The HESI A2 is used by nursing schools and healthcare programs to screen school applicants. 
  • The HESI Critical Thinking Exam is a supplemental test given by some programs as part of their admissions process. This test challenges test-takers in problem-solving, argument analysis, biases and ethical dilemmas, and data analysis
  • The HESI Exit Exam is given around graduation time and indicates the likelihood of passing the NCLEX licensing exam

Closed Book Exam

The HESI A2 is a closed book test. You may not bring any notes, cell phones, or electronic devices into the test center. You may not bring a calculator, periodic table, or other aides. However, there is one built directly into the platform which you may use. 

Retake Policy

Students may retake the HESI A2 exam. There are two versions of the test, so test-takers should expect to see a different version if they need to retake it. Test takers must wait a minimum of 30 days between tests and are typically limited to three tests in a calendar year.


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Digital Testing

The HESI A2 does not offer a pencil and paper version of the test. The test must be taken on a computer, either at the school’s testing center or at a Prometric testing site. 

Rapid Results

Scores are available almost immediately after completing the exam. You can see your scores in your Evolve account. Results are also emailed to you.

Predicting Success in Healthcare Programs

According to peer-reviewed findings, success on the HESI A2 is a valid predictor of success in a nursing or healthcare program. Excelling on this test will not only carry a lot of influence on your application process but will demonstrate to admissions department personnel that you are an excellent candidate for their program. At the same time, students who struggle on certain sections of the test can identify areas of weakness, and study those areas to improve their scores.

Icon Results Scale & Interpretations White Results Scale and Interpretations

If you’re looking forward to a healthcare career in the United States, you’ll need to do well on the HESI A2 exam. Practicing using simulated tests well in advance increases the likelihood of success on the test and getting into the program of your dreams. 

What is Considered a Good Score?

Unlike other tests, the HESI A2 doesn’t have a standard passing grade. Instead, each school determines for itself what a passing grade is. However, research has shown that students who score a cumulative 75% or higher are likely to complete RN and HP programs, while a minimum cumulative score of 70% indicates a likelihood to complete an LPN/LVN program. 

The test is scored using a percentage system, and the highest possible score is 100%. There is a wide range of accepted scores. For example, Louisiana State University requires a cumulative score of 80%, while Chamberlain University accepts students with a cumulative 73% score. 

In addition to cumulative scores, some schools may have different minimum score requirements on the academic section. For example, some might require a minimum of 75% on basic math skills and an 85% on reading comprehension. 

We recommend that you contact your school’s admissions office to better understand the scores they require. 

Your Score Report

You will have access to your scores within a few minutes of completing the test, on the computer that you used for the test. You will also receive a more detailed report about seven days after completing the test.

As shown in the image, you will see a list of the different sections, displayed for both individual areas and cumulative scores. The report also displays your learning style and personality style.

Source: HESI

Icon Frequently Asked Questions White HESI A2 FAQs

What is the passing score for the HESI exam?

Officially there is no passing score on the HESI exam. However, most scores require a cumulative score between 75%-80%. Contact your school’s admission office for their requirements.

What is on the HESI test?

The HESI tests your knowledge in reading comprehension, vocabulary and general knowledge, grammar, basic math skills, biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology. Additionally, some schools include physics in the exam.

What kind of questions are on the HESI A2 test?

The HESI A2 features multiple-choice questions covering English, math, and science. In addition, there are questions used to assess your learning style and personality style.

What is on the HESI entrance exam?

The HESI entrance exam contains questions covering English, math, and science. It accurately measures a student’s likelihood of successfully completing a nursing or healthcare program.

What subjects are on the HESI test?

The HESI covers three different academic areas. In English, it challenges test-takers in reading comprehension, vocabulary and general knowledge, and grammar. There is also a basic math section and a science section which includes biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology.

Is the HESI A2 exam hard

The HESI A2 exam covers a lot of material in English, math, and the sciences. Test takers, especially those who have not been in a classroom in a while, may find it challenging. However, with the right studying and preparation course, you can pass the test.

What is the difference between the HESI and HESI A2?

The HESI A2 is an admission test and indicates your likelihood to succeed in a nursing or healthcare program. The HESI is taken close to graduation and indicates your likelihood to pass a licensing exam.

What do I need to know for the HESI exam?

You will need to have a strong understanding of English, math, and several of the sciences in order to do well on the test.

What is considered a good HESI A2 score?

Most schools require a 75%-80% score on the test. A good score that helps you stand out among the other applicants would be an 85% or higher.

How many questions are on the HESI test?

There are up to 369 questions on the HESI, if your school uses all the available sections. Of those questions, 40 of the questions are considered pilot questions and not factored into your score.

Do you get to use a calculator on the HESI?

You may use the calculator that is built into the HESI platform, but you may not bring your own calculator.

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

The English sections and the math section each have 55 questions. The science questions have 30 questions each, while the learning style section has 14 questions, and the personality profile section has 15 questions. 

How much does it cost to take the HESI?

The cost of the test is set by each school and ranges from $40-100. In addition, some schools may charge a separate proctoring fee.

What are HESI scores?

The HESI is scored by percentage. Test takers can score between 0-100%. Most schools accept students who score 75%-80% or higher. As each school has different policies, we recommend checking with your school’s specific admission’s office.

What is the HESI A2 exam for?

The HESI A2 is used by nursing schools and healthcare programs to screen applicants. Applicants who perform well on the test have a better chance of being accepted into the program.

Where do I take the HESI A2?

You can either take the test at the school you plan on attending, or you can take the test at a Prometric testing site. Before taking the test, you will need to create an Evolve account on the Elsevier site. If you are taking it at the school, be in touch with the testing center to schedule your test. If you are taking it at a Prometric site, you will need to coordinate your test with the admissions office at the school you are applying to. It is normal for these requests to take three days for approval, so planning in advance is advised.


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Icon Tips White HESI A2 Test Tips

Follow these tips to improve your results.

  1. Read the instructions carefully
    Read every question quickly but thoroughly. Scan the information for the relevant data and use it to find the right answer.
  2. Manage your time
    Don’t spend too much time on any one question. You have a limited time to complete the test, so if something is taking too long, move on to the next question.
  3. Know your strengths
    If you come to questions that you don’t know anything about, try to quickly eliminate an answer from the choices and guess from the remaining questions. You won’t lose points for wrong answers.
  4. Answer as many questions correctly as you can
    Don’t worry about getting everything right. You don’t need a 100% score to get into your program, so if a question has you stumped, move on.
  5. Plan and practice
    Create a study plan up to three months ahead of the test and keep on practicing. The more familiar you get with the test, the fewer surprises you’ll face on test day.

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  • Test Location: Tests are usually given at either the school you are applying to or a Prometric testing site. However, double check with your admission’s office due to changes related to COVID-19.
  • Test Schedule: Each institution publishes its own testing schedule, depending on the program you apply for. All HESI A2 tests are taken by appointment and not on demand.
  • Test Format: Multiple choice taken on computer.
  • Test Materials: Taken on a computer with a calculator built into the platform. You will be provided with scratch paper.
  • Cost: Fees vary by school, ranging from about $40-100.
  • Retake Policy: Applicants can retake the test up to 3 times in a calendar year, at least 30 days apart. Some schools have different policies.

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The HESI A2 exam was created and developed by Elsevier, who have led the way in providing institutions, educators, and students with innovative teaching and learning technology for over 135 years. 

The HESI A2 provides nursing and healthcare programs with detailed, unbiased information about candidates, enabling them to admit and invest in students who are likely to successfully complete the program. 

Disclaimer – All the information and prep materials on iPrep are genuine and were created for tutoring purposes. iPrep is not affiliated with the Elsevier, which is the owner of Evolve system and the HESI assessments, or any other company mentioned.

Get to know what the HESI A2 Admissions Assessment will be like by practicing with these sample questions: