HESI FAQs

Choosing the HESI A2

What is the HESI A2 in nursing?

The HESI Admission Assessment (HESI A2) exam is a part of the admissions process for nursing and allied health programs around the country. Schools use the test to assess applicants’ capabilities in high-school–level reading, writing, math, and science.

What does HESI A2 mean?

“HESI A2” stands for Health Education Systems Inc. Admission Assessment.

Why should I become a registered nurse?

Nursing is an in-demand job with the opportunity for growth. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for registered nurses is forecast to grow by 15% in the next ten years. Nurses also enjoy job flexibility: instead of working a nine-to-five day, nurses can work three days and then have four days off. Nurses also have the chance to travel for work. Travel nurses travel the world working for major corporations, cruise lines, or the military. For registered nurses, every day is different. Helping patients, running tests, assisting in procedures; no two days are the same. Finally, registered nurses make a median salary of $70,000 a year, or $33 an hour. RNs who have more experience and specializations can make even more.

Who is eligible to take the HESI A2 exam?

Anyone who is applying to a nursing program or school can take the HESI A2. You must create an Evolve account through Elsevier and take the exam at a Prometric testing site, or sign up through your school.

I’m interested in going to nursing school. Should I take the HESI A2 or the ATI TEAS?

Check with the nursing program you are applying to. Different nursing schools and programs have different requirements: some require the HESI A2, and some require the ATI TEAS.

Taking the HESI A2 Exam

When can I take the HESI A2 exam?

The HESI A2 is offered year-round. You may take it once every 60 days.

How much does it cost to take the HESI A2 exam?

Registration costs between $35 and $40. Check with your community college, university, or nursing program for details.

How many questions are on the HESI A2 exam?

The HESI A2 is a computer-based exam with eight sections. Different schools require different sections as part of their applications. Check with the institution or program you are interested in to find out what sections you need to take on test day.

Most schools require at least six of the eight sections. You can expect to answer 280 – 340 multiple-choice questions, depending on how many sections you are required to take.

How long is the HESI A2 exam?

Most candidates take about four hours to complete the HESI A2. Some programs allow candidates more time, depending on the required tests, or do not impose a time limit at all.

You may take breaks at any point during the exam, but you will not be given extra time and you cannot access personal items (other than medications).

What type of questions are on the HESI A2 exam?

The questions on the HESI A2 are multiple choice with four answer choices. Most nursing programs require the Mathematics, Reading, Vocabulary, Grammar, Biology, and Anatomy and Physiology sections. On the Reading section, you must read passages and answer comprehension questions. On the Anatomy and Physiology section, you may be asked to review diagrams of the human body and its systems and then answer multiple-choice questions.

The HESI A2 has no guess penalty. So, if you answer a question incorrectly, you don’t lose any points; you just don’t get credit for that question. Therefore, you should always guess if you do not know the answer to a question.

What is on the HESI A2 exam?

You can work through the sections on the HESI A2 in any order, so you should plan in advance how you’d like to tackle the test. Some students like to start with the section they find the hardest, while others like to focus their efforts on sections they know they’ll do well on.

The HESI A2 has eight sections, but most schools only require six: Mathematics, Reading, Vocabulary, Grammar, Biology, and Anatomy and Physiology. The time limits listed below are recommendations from the administrators of the HESI A2 exam. You do not need to strictly adhere to these suggestions, but these limits may be helpful as you practice pacing yourself for other board certification exams.

  • Mathematics

    • (55 questions; 50 minutes): arithmetic, fractions and decimals, proportions, units and measurements, calculating dosages

  • Reading

    • (55 questions; 60 minutes): main idea, supporting idea, inferences, identify details, interpret information

  • Vocabulary

    • (55 questions; 50 minutes): knowledge of English vocabulary, particularly related to health and medicine

  • Grammar

    • (55 questions; 50 minutes): punctuation, grammar, sentence structure

  • Biology

    • (30 questions; 25 minutes): cellular respiration, photosynthesis, genetics, biological molecules, cells

  • Chemistry

    • (30 questions; 35 minutes): atomic structure, chemical bonding, chemical equations, chemical reactions, nuclear chemistry, the periodic table

  • Anatomy and Physiology

    • (30 questions; 25 minutes): body systems (muscular, skeletal, nervous, renal/urinary, reproductive, endocrine, circulatory, and respiratory)

  • Physics

    • (30 questions; 25 minutes): mechanics, energy, forces, waves, and light (this section is typically excluded by many programs)

Click here to see the full content outline for the HESI A2 exam.

How do I register for the HESI A2 exam? What is Evolve Elsevier?

You must register through Elsevier. Click on “I’m a Student.” On the next page, under “HESI Secured Exams,” click “Register for Distance Testing.” Then click “Register.” You will have to create a HESI Evolve account, if you do not already have one. Check with your school or nursing program for a department ID to ensure your scores are sent to the correct school.

Can I reschedule my HESI A2 exam?

To reschedule your exam, check with Prometric or log in to your Evolve account. You may be charged a fee if you do not provide enough notice.

Where can I take the HESI A2 exam?

The HESI A2 is administered by Prometric at testing centers around the nation. You can find a testing center when you register for the exam through your Evolve account.

What happens when I arrive for the HESI A2 exam?

The HESI A2 is administered by Prometric at testing centers around the nation. Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the exam to complete biometric screening. Bring at least one form of government-issued photo ID and be prepared to be photographed and have your fingertips scanned. You will also be scanned with a metal detector wand before entering the test room. Your primary ID must be government issued, include a recent photograph and signature, and match the name under which you registered to take the test. If you do not have proper ID, you will not be allowed to take the test.

You will not be allowed to bring any personal items, such as calculators or phones, into the testing room. You may not bring pens, pencils, or scratch paper. Prohibited items also include hats, scarves, and coats. You may wear religious garments, however. Prometric provides lockers for valuables. You can keep your ID and locker key with you.

How do I get testing accommodations for the HESI A2 exam?

If you require accommodations for testing, you must contact Elsevier directly. Log in to your Evolve account. Select “Accommodation Request.” You must supply supporting documentation to Elsevier, which will review your request. You must submit your request at least six weeks before your desired exam date.

HESI A2 Scores

When will I get my HESI A2 score?

Once you have completed your test, you will receive a score report; you can also request to receive the report via email. Scores will be sent separately to the schools you specified when you registered.

How is the HESI A2 exam scored?

Each section is scored separately on a scale of 0 – 100. Different nursing programs require different scores, so check with your program to find out what scores you need for your application.

There is no guess penalty on the HESI A2—that is, if you get a question wrong, you do not lose any points. So if you don’t know the answer to a question, guess; you might get the question right!

The HESI A2 offers Learner Profile exams—unscored tests to help students better understand their strengths and weaknesses, learning styles and habits, and other personality traits. Some schools may require them.

All sections on the HESI A2 will include some pilot, unscored questions. The test writers use these questions to test new material. These questions do not count toward your final score. However, you won’t know which questions are unscored as you’re taking the test, so you must answer every question.

What is a passing score on the HESI A2 exam?

There is no way to pass or fail the HESI A2. A candidate’s score simply shows their level of comprehension and skill. Schools and programs have their own entrance requirements, so candidates must check with the institutions that they want to attend for details on required scores.

Most schools will require at least a 75 on each section to show a minimum level of skill. Check with your program for details.

Can I retake the HESI A2 exam?

If you do not get the scores you want, you will be able to reapply and retake the test after 60 days.