What is the HESI A2 Exam?

Everything You Need to Know About the HESI A2 Exam

It’s 2022. This will be the year you go to nursing school. 

You’ve made up your mind. And now it’s time to make it happen. 

Most nursing programs have an entrance exam. The Health Education Systems, Inc. Admission Assessment, known as the HESI A2 ©, is commonly used by nursing schools across the US. Since this test is the last thing standing between you and your nursing school dream, it’s important to understand the test basics and how to prepare. 

This 2022 HESI A2 Intro Guide will walk you through the essentials to feel good about your nursing school application. We will even show you the best free HESI A2 practice tests here to prepare. Read on to learn more about the HESI A2 test, so you can walk in with confidence and walk out with pride on the first attempt.

  • What is the HESI A2 Exam?
  • What subjects are tested on the HESI A2 Exam?
  • How to pass HESI A2 Exam
  • How should I prepare for the HESI A2 Exam?

What is the HESI A2 Exam?

The HESI A2 Exam is a test that nursing schools use in their admissions process. Most programs set a minimum score required for acceptance. On the other hand, some nursing schools use HESI A2 test scores to rank applicants for admission. See more HESI A2 Frequently Asked Questions here.

You may have heard this test called “the HESI.” But it has quite a few aliases. Other names for this notorious exam include:

  • HESI Evolve
  • Evolve Reach HESI
  • Evolve Reach Admission Assessment 

The names all refer to the HESI A2 test for prospective nursing students, which gauges their academic skills. It evaluates students’ readiness for successfully completing the demanding nursing curriculum

The HESI A2 Exam is computer-based and includes multiple-choice questions. It consists of subject-specific sections. There are eight academic subjects and three areas of aptitude. Some schools require applicants to take four subjects, and some require five or more. You can see examples of the HESI A2 subject tests here, to see where you stand in each area. Test-takers must schedule the subjects required by the school they want to attend by working with a college advisor. 

Many schools offer HESI A2 testing on-campus. Others allow students to test off-campus at approved test centers. The exam is administered through Prometric. 

Prometric offers in-person and virtual test appointments. Depending on the school’s requirements, some candidates are eligible to test remotely from anywhere with an internet connection by way of a remotely proctored exam.  

The HESI A2 is a challenging test. But with the right preparation, you can do well in every area. After determining which subjects your program requires, it’s time to start studying. 

What subjects are tested on the HESI A2 Exam?

Here is an introduction to the test content

You can sign up for the NurseHub email list to receive a free question of the day emailed directly to you if you click here.

Academic Subjects

Anatomy & Physiology: The HESI Anatomy & Physiology (A&P) test evaluates students understanding of body parts and functions. The topics covered in this test section include basic terminology, fundamental anatomy and body systems, anatomical planes and directions, and histology. Programs that have prerequisite A&P classes may require students to take this HESI A2 subject. Wonder how you will do in A&P? Take the NurseHub free Anatomy & Physiology test here today!

Total Questions: 25 

Time Limit: 25 minutes


BiologyThe HESI Biology test examines the test-takers knowledge of plants, animals, and microorganisms. Test questions cover general biology basics, cellular respiration, photosynthesis, metabolism, biological molecules, cells, genetics, and DNA. Nursing schools with Biology courses as prerequisites may require students to take this HESI A2 section. Students can try a free HESI A2 Biology diagnostic test here, to see how they’d do on the real HESI.

Total Questions: 25 

Time Limit: 25 minutes


ChemistryThe HESI Chemistry section tests students on chemistry concepts. The exam questions include chemical equations, the periodic table, anatomic structure, chemical bonding and reactions, acids and bases, scientific notation, metric system, oxidation-reduction, and biochemistry. This section may be necessary for nursing schools that require Chemistry prerequisite courses. Try the free HESI A2 Chemistry diagnostic test here.

Total Questions: 25 

Time Limit: 25 minutes


GrammarThe HESI A2 Grammar exam determines the test-takers understanding of language, communication, and rules for words and sentence structure. The test covers the parts of speech, important grammar concepts, and typical grammatical errors. Try the NurseHub free Grammar diagnostic test here.

Total Questions: 50 

Time Limit: 50 minutes


Mathematics: The HESI A2 Mathematics exam assesses students’ understanding of mathematical concepts, specifically those used in healthcare. The test includes questions about basic operations, decimals, ratios, fractions, military time, algebraic equations, roman numerals, measurements, and conversions. Physical calculators are not allowed, but a digital calculator is provided on-screen for math questions. Take a free HESI A2 Math diagnostic test here.

Total Questions: 50 

Time Limit: 50 minutes


Physics: The HESI A2 Physics test examines the test-takers proficiency in physics concepts. It includes questions about friction, gravity, energy, Newton’s laws of motion, light, optics, and acceleration. This section may be required by schools that have prerequisite physics courses. Wonder if you’re ready for the Physics portion? Test your ability now with the free HESI A2 Physics diagnostic test here. You’ve got nothing to lose!

Total Questions: 50 

Time Limit: 50 minutes


Reading Comprehension: The HESI A2 Reading Comprehension exam tests a candidate’s ability to understand and interpret what they read. This section includes reading passages with subsequent questions about the content, main ideas, themes, and other reading concepts. Take a free HESI A2 Reading Comprehension test here to see how you will do!

Total Questions: 47 

Time Limit: 60 minutes


Vocabulary: The HESI A2 Vocabulary test contains questions about the meaning and use of vocabulary words, including health-related terms that should be familiar to the student. You can try a free HESI A2 Vocabulary diagnostic test here.

Total Questions: 50 

Time Limit: 50 minutes


Students who are going to take the HESI A2 exam should review the free HESI A2 practice tests here. They show students detailed score reports to identify areas of strength and weakness within each subject. Students can use the final reports to improve efficiency while studying. They can even save time by working specifically on weak areas.

Aptitude Assessments

In addition to the academic subject tests, the HESI A2 Exam also has three sections related to student aptitude. These include:

  • Learning Style (14 total questions, 15-minute time limit)
  • Personality Style (15 total questions, 15-minute time limit)
  • Critical Thinking (A2CT) Test (30 total questions, 30-minute time limit)

Most nursing schools require math, reading, vocabulary, and grammar. Some require biology, A&P, and A2CT. Since each school determines which sections students must take and the minimum required scores, check with your school before you start studying to pass the HESI A2. 

How to pass the HESI A2 Exam?

Each subject exam is scored out of 100. Final subject scores may also be grouped into a combined score that your school uses to rank you against other students. Your school will determine what a passing score is. But most programs consider 75% to be the passing grade. Be sure to check with your school if you have any questions about what it considers a passing score.

Test results are sent to your school when you finish the exam. But don’t worry. You won’t die from anticipation. Scores are also available immediately when you finish the computerized test. And HESI A2 Exam results are loaded to your Evolve Elsevier web account within 24 hours after the test. 

Although schools determine the passing scores, here is a good way to look at your results.

  • 90-100% Excellent score. You rocked it!
  • 80-89% Very good. Strong score.
  • 75-79% Good score, satisfactory to pass
  • Less than 74% Poor score. Keep working! 

Candidates who do not achieve passing results may have to retake the test. That could mean a waiting period. Students should check with their school program to find out their policy for retaking the HESI A2 test.

How should I prepare for the HESI A2 Exam?

Now that you understand the HESI A2 entrance exam let’s talk about test prep. The sooner you start to prepare, the better off you will be when your test day rolls around. Here are the best actionable tips to prepare you for the HESI A2 Exam.

  1. Get comfortable with test conditions. The HESI A2 will be administered in a quiet, well-lit room, on a computer. Personal effects like cellphones or headphones are prohibited from your testing area. Keep these conditions in mind to study in a similar setting. 

Practice answering computerized questions in a clean, quiet environment to simulate what you will experience on test day. It will train your brain and help ease your anxiety for the big day. Pro-tip! Use NurseHub’s five full length timed practice tests here that mimic the real test. These look and feel like the actual exam. 

  1. Read and re-read the instructions, then check and double-check your answers. Many subjects give you only 60 short seconds to make your choice. Don’t be pressured to rush. You could make preventable mistakes. When you study, use NurseHub’s study content here to see detailed answer explanations. So when you see a similar question on the HESI A2 exam, you will know how to answer it.
  2. Create a study schedule. Plot out how many days and weeks you must study. Think about how many hours and minutes you can devote to your study plan each day. Determine what sections need the most review time. Use a HESI A2 practice test to see where your areas for improvement lie. When you have that study plan in place, stick to it!
  3. Use the RIGHT study aids. When studying for HESI A2, you need guides, programs, and tools that will help you get the best scores. Look for study aids that give you tons of practice questions and thorough answer explanations. NurseHub content has over 7500 realistic practice questions! The more, the better. Find content that will help teach or re-teach you in weaker subjects. NurseHub also offers three full-length video courses on Math, Reading, and Grammar. Check out the NurseHub YouTube channel here for more free resources. 

For practice tests, find HESI A2 practice exams that give you detailed score reports to quickly see where to focus your study energy. If you’re going to spend money, invest in the right products for you! Don’t pay for prep courses that don’t come with a pass guarantee.

And don’t forget to sign up for the NurseHub email list here to receive a free question of the day in your email inbox.

HESI A2 Exam Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I schedule an exam?

Contact your school to find out your options. Some schools only offer the exam online through Proctor U. Other schools have testing centers that allow in person testing. Your best option is to reach out the program or school you’ve chosen and ask them about your options.

How much time is allotted for the exam?

The amount of time you receive depends on your school. We have seen anywhere from 3-6 hours depending on the school and what sections they require you to take. Contact your school to learn more about how much time you have and what will be on your exam. 

What should I study?

Take our free practice tests to help you get an understanding of what you need to study! Each question comes with detailed answer explanations so you know exactly why you got it wrong. 


Is scratch paper allowed?

Yes, generally you are given 2-3 pieces of scratch paper. At home testing also allows you to have scratch paper. Make sure to show your online proctor that you have scrap paper and how much scrap paper that you have. 

How many breaks are given and how long are they? And do we ask or are they given automatically after each section?

You can take a 5-minute break between each section of the test. The testing center will check your photo ID before you are allowed to reenter the exam room and start the next test section.

Can we drink something while taking the test?

If you are in a testing center usually the answer is no. It might be different if you are taking the test online so make sure to ask your proctor. 

Can we go back to previous questions?

No, you cannot skip questions and go back to them. If you skip a question, it will be considered incorrect.

What else should I bring apart from my ID?

You only need your ID. They will tell you if you need anything else. Reach out to your school if you have any questions about things you need to bring or want to bring. 

I know it is proctored so will someone be on screen while I take the test? Like Zoom?

They are able to see you but you cannot see them. 

Who do I contact if issues arise during my exam?

If you are in a testing center, talk to the proctor there. If you are online contact the proctor site immediately. 

Can I skip sections?

Usually, the school will only have the sections they require show up on the test. Others have skipped sections that they did not need to take, and the school did not count it against them.

How long do I have to wait to retake the exam?

You can take the HESI exam only once every 60 days but no more than 3 times in a 12-month period.

How many times can I take the exam?

This depends on your school. Some schools allow more than one retake while others only allow one attempt. 

Can I reschedule the exam if I am not feeling prepared to take it?

In order to reschedule your exam, you need to cancel your original test date 24 hours before you are scheduled to take it. Once you do that you can sign up and pay for a new test. 

How does the HESI compare to the TEAS?

The HESI A2 exam is generally considered easier than the TEAS. The HESI is broken up into these 8 subjects: physics, biology, chemistry, anatomy & physiology, grammar, reading, vocabulary, and math. The TEAS test only covers math, reading, science, and english. 

If someone is taking the test from home, can we wear earplugs or headphones?

In most schools, you are not allowed to unless you have an accommodation. Make sure to reach out to your school in order to find out their specific policies. 

How close are NurseHub's practice tests to the HESI?

We make our practice tests as aligned as possible to the real HESI A2 exam so that you are prepared as possible when you take it. NurseHub teaches you all of the concepts that you will see on the exam so you feel prepared and confident going in!

What is the difference between NurseHub's Practice Tests and the official HESI book?

We truly believe that our HESI A2 practice test pack is the best resource for this exam! You get 5 practice tests for each of the 8 subjects on the exam. Each test also comes with in-depth answer explanations so you will never feel left behind. We also break up each subject into sub-categories so you will be able to see exactly what you are struggling with. Also, we offer a money-back guarantee if you do not pass!

How long should I study for the HESI?

This really depends on person to person. We recommend giving yourself enough time to start studying so that you do not feel rushed. However, we have seen plenty of people pass with only a week of studying. We recommend taking our free practice test to see which areas you need the most practice with and start from there when developing your study plan.


What sections are on the HESI?

The HESI A2 exam consists of physics, chemistry, reading, grammar, anatomy & physiology, vocab, biology, and math.

What kinds of topics are tested in each section?
  • Physics
    • Nature of Motion
    • Acceleration
    • Projectile Motion
    • Newton’s Laws of Motion
    • Friction
    • Rotation
    • Uniform Circular Motion
    • Kinetic and Potential Energy
    • Linear Momentum & Impulse
    • Hooke’s Law
    • Universal Gravitation
    • Waves and Sound
    • Light & Optics
    • Atomic Structure
    • The Nature of Electricity
    • Magnetism & Electricity
  • Math
    • Whole Numbers
    • Decimals
    • Adding and Subtracting Fractions
    • Multiplying & Dividing Fractions
    • Converting Decimals & Fractions
    • Ratio & Proportions
    • Percentages
    • Evaluating Expressions
    • Solving equations
    • Temperature Conversions
    • Metric Conversions
    • Household Measurements
    • Roman NUmerals
    • Military Time
  • Reading
    • Identifying the Main Idea
    • Identifying supporting Details
    • Finding the Meaning of Words in Context
    • Distinguishing Between Facts & Opinion
    • Identifying the Authors Purpose
    • Making Logical
    • Summarizing the Passage
  • Vocab
  • Grammar
    • Identifying Parts of Speech
    • Identifying Parts of a sentence
    • Subject-Verb Agreement
    • Run-on-sentence
    • Pronoun CAse
    • Apostrophe Usage
    • Commas in a Series
    • Unclear Pronoun References
    • Sentence Fragments
    • Misplaced Modifiers
    • Comparative & Superlative Modifiers
    • Eliminating Poor Language Usage
    • Verb Tense
    • Troublesome Words Pairs
  • Biology
    • Biology Basics
    • Water
    • Biologic Molecules
    • Metabolism
    • The Cell
    • Cellular Respiration
    • Photosynthesis
    • Cellular Respiration
    • Genetics
    • DNA
  • Chemistry
    • Scientific Notation & Measurement
    • Atomic Structure & The Periodic Table
    • States of Matter
    • Reaction Rates, Equilibrium, and reversibility
    • Solutions and Solution COncentration
    • Chemical Reactions
    • Oxidation & Reduction
    • Acids & Bases
    • Nuclear Chemistry
    • Biochemistry
  • Anatomy & Physiology
    • General Terminology
    • Histology
    • Integumentary System
    • Skeletal System
    • Muscular System
    • Lymphatic System
    • Nervous System
    • Endocrine System
    • Circulatory SYstem
    • Respiratory System
    • Digestive System
    • Urinary System
    • Reproductive System
    •  Body Sense
When should I schedule my exam? Should I wait until I feel ready or choose a date now?

Most people schedule their exam first then create a study plan leading up to their test date. However, we recommend that you begin to study first so you are able to estimate how much time you need in order to be prepared on exam day.

Can you still pass the HESI test without taking your A&P classes?

Our practice test pack comes with in-depth answer explanations that do not assume you have taken an A&P class before. Everything is broken down as if you are learning the information for the first time.

What functions are included on the calculator?

The built-in calculator is a basic four-function calculator. This consists of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

If you take this test for one school, can scores be used to get into another school?

This depends on your school. You will have to contact all the schools you are going to apply to in order to find out if they will accept your scores. 


Now you know the basics of what to expect with the HESI A2 test. With the essentials and tips in this 2022 Intro Guide, you can confidently navigate the HESI A2 academic subject tests and design your best study plan. This will be the year you walk into your test with assurance and walk out with stellar results.


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