What Is the HESI and Why Do You Need It to Become a Nurse?

Recent estimates from the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in order to meet the public need, the healthcare industry will have to hire about 1 million new nurses by the end of 2020.

In short?

If you're looking to get into nursing school, now is the right time given the strength of the job market.

However, this extreme need for qualified registered nurses does not mean that nursing schools are willing to take people who they don't feel meet the qualifications for entry. Plus, because so many are drawn to the promising job market, nursing schools today can afford to be picky when it comes to who they accept into their programs.

In order to gain entry into nursing school, many programs require you to pass an entrance exam -- one of the most common of which is called the HESI exam.

But what is the HESI exam, what kinds of topics will it cover, and what should you do to prepare for it?

Keep reading to find out.

What Is the HESI Exam?

First, let's answer the most obvious question: What is the HESI exam?

"HESI" stands for "Health Education Systems Incorporated," and is sometimes referred to as the HESI A2 exam. It's easiest to think of it as a kind of assessment test that helps admission counselors decide your likelihood of succeeding in nursing school, as well as in the nursing profession at large.

It covers a variety of topics (which we'll get into later on) and isn't scored on a pass/fail grade. In order to pass the HESI test, you'll need to score at least 73%, usually between 75-80% (each school sets its own scoring standards for admission.)

If you fail to make the grade the first time, you can take it again in 60 days. However, be aware that you can take the HESI exam only three times in 12 months.

Remember that each nursing school will likely have their own set of requirements about when and how to register for the exam. Usually, the exam is administered electronically, which also means that your scores will be available immediately after you complete the exam.

The Format of HESI Nursing Exams

First of all, know that you'll have a total of 5 hours and 15 minutes to complete your HESI test, and there are 326 questions in total (however, know that 29 of these questions are concerning your personality style and your learning style.

There are eight major sections of the HESI exam, and each section tests you on a specific skill.

The advantage of the HESI exam is that, even though it contains more sections than other nursing school entrance exams, you'll likely have encountered many of these subjects before in high school or any college that you've already completed.

You will have a 25-question biology section, a 25-question chemistry section, a 25-minute physics section, a 60-minute reading comprehension section, a 50-question vocabulary/general knowledge section, 50 math questions, 50 grammar questions, and 25 questions on anatomy and physiology.

We know -- it's a lot!

That's why it's so important to give yourself plenty of time to prepare and study for the HESI exam, as well as to rely on some of the most effective study methods to help you to feel like you're more than ready when you walk into the testing room.

How to Prepare

Nearly 20% of people suffer from some form of test anxiety.

If you're among them -- or even if you're just nervous about whether or not you'll actually be able to learn everything in time -- then the best way to curb those nerves is to start preparing early.

Taking a course preparation class online, especially one that comes with a coursebook and PowerPoint presentations to easily break down more difficult concepts is absolutely essential.

You can move through each of the study sections at your own pace, spending more time on the sections that you struggle with. A course and book will help you to actually understand the material, and not just memorize it.

This is especially important because the HESI test doesn't just help you get into nursing school: it also lays the foundation for your time in school.

You'll learn things like anatomy terms, how to calculate dosage amounts, understand the circulatory, respiratory, and other systems of the body, understand how to interpret medical charts and data, and much more.

All of this will serve you well once you actually get to nursing school.

Another incredibly effective way to study for the HESI exam is by taking as many practice exams as you can.

Not only has taking practice tests been proven to help with knowledge retention, but it also helps you to identify the sections of the test that you'll need to dedicate most of your studying time towards. Plus, practice tests help you know what to expect out of the test formatting, which helps you to relax on your testing day.

Ready to Start Studying for Your HESI Exam?

In addition to answering the question, "What is the HESI exam?" we also hope that this post has helped you to understand why so many nursing schools today require it, as well as the best ways that you can feel confident when you're scheduled to take your test.

Of course, in order to get the highest score possible -- and increase your chances of admission as a result -- you'll need the right study materials.

That's where we come in.

We offer unbeatable study courses, practice tests, course books, and everything else that will help you to feel prepared for the HESI, TEAS, and other nursing exams.

Check out what our HESI prep program has to offer on this page, and order your course today.