I was SCARED to take this exam. In fact, I canceled it twice! If you are wanting to learn how to pass the HESI A2 entrance exam, and you only want to do it once, you are in the right place.
The best way to pass the HESI A2 entrance exam is to first get organized, know exactly what you need to study, and practice, practice, practice.
Let’s go a little more into detail though so that you can score in the top 90th percentile, and stand out in the large pool of applications.
Tip #1: Give yourself at least two weeks to study every day, but a month is better
First focus on what material makes you the most nervous. For most of us, that is the math section. If you haven’t worked out a math problem in months, to years, I would definitely start here.
I found that this study guide textbook had literally everything that I needed to know when taking this test. Thanks to this study source, I really felt like there were no surprises on this test.
For one whole week, about one month before my test, I crammed on all of the math material in this book. I went through the whole math section, worked out all the problems, and I used Math Dude on YouTube to have a teacher instruction while brushing up on this material.
Practicing the math for 1-2 hours a day, for one week before the test, greatly reduced the test anxiety for me. Because of this, toward the few days before the exam, the math really became second nature and was pretty easy.
Tip #2: Study for 1-2 hours every single day
Spend at least 2-3 weeks before the exam, practicing the material. The best way to do this is through practice tests.
Go into quizlet and type in HESI A2 and you will see tons of peoples flashcards come up. I will leave a link of the search here.
Some people on YouTube etc. will say that they passed the HESI by only studying for a few days, or even for only a week. I really do not recommend taking a chance on this, especially if you are applying to a competitive program. I believe these people are the exception, not the norm. If you want guaranteed success, you have to put in the time and give yourself some space to really work out the areas that you struggle with.
“Repetition leads to mastery”
“Repetition leads to mastery.” Math Dude recites this mantra on YouTube a lot, and you should too.
It is so true. This is why you can’t risk learning the material only one week before the exam. You have to practice, practice, practice so that your process of working out the problems is automatic, and you barely have to think about it.
Don’t forget that the HESI is timed. You will have other sections you need to complete, besides the math, so you don’t want to be hung up on the math for too long.
Tip #3: Find your motivation, and “bathe” in it daily.
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” A quote by Zig Ziglar.
There is another saying, “your why should make you cry”.
Why are you doing this? Why do you want to be a nurse? Print out the home you plan to buy, the car you plan to drive, etc. While these are of course not the only reasons why you want to be a nurse, the life it affords us to live is an excellent perk. And that’s okay to acknowledge. It is okay to dream.
One of the ways I kept my motivation fresh was by going on Indeed every week. I would look at the available jobs in my area for registered nurses. It made me feel so excited when I thought about the possibility of applying to one of these positions one day.
So think about what got you interested, and excited, about becoming a nurse in the first place.
Is it because you want to work in a specific specialty? For example, do you want to help deliver babies in L&D? Do you want to take care of premature babies in the NICU? Do you want to be on the front lines saving lives in the ICU or ER?
What excites you about this profession? Hold onto it, and know that it is not going to happen for you, you have to make it happen through action. The first step is first figuring out how to pass the HESI A2 exam.
Tip #4: Take your time when taking the test.
Yes, the HESI is a timed exam. I am not sure if it is different for other schools, but our school allowed us 4 hours to complete three sections.
Most schools only test on a few sections. Our school’s sections included: Math, Reading, and Vocabulary.
It took 2.6 hours for me to complete the whole test, and I was one of the last people in there.
I was truly surprised by how fast people were finishing their tests. I don’t know what the average score was for all of us testing that particular day, but I do know I was one of only 55 students accepted into our BSN program that year and there were close to 200 applicants that semester.
This is significant data to me because my grades were pretty average and couldn’t have been a big factor in my getting into the program. I definitely credit my HESI A2 score as to the reason why I got in.
So yes, take your time. Do not panic when you see people getting up to leave when you are not even remotely close to being done.
Tip #5: Stay calm, and be confident.
Don’t panic the week of the test. If you put in the effort and worked diligently to prepare, you are going to do great. You may even find the test kind of easy.
You would be amazed how many people do not study before taking this test. Some just want to see what it’s like, but that can actually really hinder them. Many schools will have access to all your scores, past and current. It is better to take this test just once. If they see you took it once and you got an awesome score, you will be a front runner to get into your program.
To Conclude how to pass the HESI A2 exam:
- One month before the exam, know exactly the sections you need to study for your specific program.
- Practice daily for 1-2 hours the month before your test.
- Evaluate your “why” every day to stay motivated.
- Take your time when taking the HESI. Utilize all your time given.
- Stay calm and confident for the best performance.
So what were my results following these steps?
I got a 94% in every single required section, and I got into my BSN program my first time applying.
I’m not saying this to brag, but to inspire you that you can do the exact same. I am nobody special. I had a 3.3 GPA. You can seriously use the HESI or the TEAS to your advantage and be a top applicant thanks to a high score. And it can be used as a great tool to make up for any shortcomings on your application.
To learn how to be a stronger student and develop great habits to be successful in nursing school, you can read our article right here to learn how to be a straight A nursing student.
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