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HESI A2 Topics and Tips

June 12, 2018 0 Comments

HESI A2 Tips

  • Before you being to study, check with your nursing program/school to verify which subjects will be required for you to take on the test. All programs will vary.
  • When deciding on a correct answer, sometimes it may seem like multiple answers could be correct. You want to make sure you choose the MOST correct answer.
  • Read the question carefully. Understand what the question is asking before choosing your answer.
  • Figure out why the correct answer is correct.
  • Do not just assume.
  • Think like a nurse when reading and answering questions. What would the nurse do in ___ situation?
  • Brush up on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs and the ABC’s of safety. Some questions may rely on this knowledge. For example, What would the nurse do first in ___ situation? What is the PRIORITY task in ___ situation?
  • All the options may seem correct, but what is the BEST answer?
  • Brush up on your critical thinking skills.

Never pass the patient on to someone else as an answer. YOU are the nurse. You must handle the situation.

While doing practice questions, break the questions apart → apply and use critical thinking to choose correct answer

  • Read the question. Read it more than once and don’t look at any other part until you’ve done this. Understand what it is asking.

  • Who is your Patient? (i.e. pregnant women, geriatric patient, newborn, teenager, toddler, 30 year old male, etc.)

  • If patient, age/gender is NOT identified, not relevant to the question.

HESI A2 Topics and HESI A2 Tips

The HESI A2 exam has 8 categories as well as a personality style test (15 questions with 15 minutes to answer) and learning style test (14 questions with 15 minutes to answer). The categories are as follows:

Math: 55 questions, 50 minutes

This section of the test aims to evaluate your math skills. The test is looking for at least an 8th to 9th grade skill level.

Medication calculations are a very vital part in nursing and it is important to understand how this is done. Although, the test is not necessarily looking for the student to calculate medication administration doses, the student score on the math section will help determine the student’s future ability to the calculations correctly. For example, a student who scores in the 90% range and above, it likely to demonstrate the ability to calculate all levels of medication administration. Whereas, a student who scores in the 70-79% range, will likely need assistance in medication calculations and/or need remediation in math. Be sure to brush up on basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, decimals, ratio and proportions, and household measures. In addition, to general math rules.

A calculator will be provided.




Vocabulary and General Knowledge: 50 questions, 50 minutes

It is important to brush up on general medical terminology and vocabulary that is frequently used in the nursing field.

Reading Comprehension: 50 questions, 60 minutes

Expect to see a variety of health-related reading scenarios which are aimed at identifying a students level of reading comprehension. Ideally, you will want to familiarize yourself on how to identify main ideas, find the meaning of words in a context, understand passage comprehension, etc. The purpose of this section is for the nursing school to understand how well the student will be able to read and understand and nursing textbook.

Grammar: 50 questions, 50 minutes

Be sure to study basic rules of grammar, including: identifying common grammatical errors, punctuation, the eight parts of basic sentence (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections), Dependent vs independent clauses of a complex sentence, Spelling, Subject-verb agreement, common prefixes and suffixes and their meanings.


This section is important to do well on, as there will be a lot of reading and writing assignments in nursing school.

Subject tests

These topics are likely to be required by a nursing program if they required the course as a prerequisite.

Chemistry: 25 questions, 25 minutes

Topics to brush up on: atomic structure, periodic table, matter, chemical equations, chemical reactions, chemical bonding, and nuclear chemistry.

Anatomy & Physiology: 25 questions, 25 minutes

Topics to brush up on: anatomical structures, systems of the body, basic terminology for the subject.

Biology: 25 questions, 25 minutes

Topics to brush up on: photosynthesis, metabolism, cells, cell structure, cellular respiration, biology basics, biological molecules

Physics: 25 questions, 50 minutes

Topics to brush up on: newton’s Laws of Motion, rotation, energy, gravitation, friction, sound and waves, average speed, projectile motion, light and optics, and acceleration



Learning Style/Personality Profile exam: This section may not be required by all nursing schools or programs.

Learning Style: 14 questions

Aimed at identifying a students learning style

Personality Style: 15 questions

Aimed at identifying a students personality style and how it correlated to learning.