Hesi A2: Pre test prep and what to expect on test day. Learn from my experience.


Disclaimer: This post is for the anxious pre nursing students who need details on what to expect when taking the Hesi A2 for the first time. Those that want quick overview of what to expect on test day watch my review video on our YouTube channel; or read the bold text below.

Standardizes test are… well…. challenging. Never mind the fact that any exam is stressful, but the nursing entrance exams definitely takes the prize. As many of you know, you can be a 4.0 straight A student with the perfect resume/transcript, but if you do not get the minimum score on the Hesi A2 your nursing applications can be disqualified. ::sigh:: There is a lot of pressure on getting the minimum score, and boy did I feel it!

I, as many of you have testing anxiety! I want to share with you my experience as I hope it helps ease your anxiety and questions!


First: Please do not stress out! Once you get the test started you will realize that you are familiar with a lot of the questions. Take the first few minutes to get yourself mentally prepared to focus. Take deep breaths in and get started! Once I was able to normalize my heart rate, wipe my sweaty palms I felt more in control and ready to start one of the longest tests in my life.

So in preparation for this exam I used the following study aids:

    • Teas Study Guide
    • Hesi A2 Study Guide
    • Old A&P Book
    • Quizlet
    • Youtube videos of other Hesi exam takers

Second: Get a good study guide. Everyone wants to know how useful the exam study guides are. I believe the Hesi A2 Study Guide did help me learn what I needed to know for the exam. I do suggest purchasing it as it will help you target your weak areas. So once you get it work through all of the practice and sample test questions. Some of the questions come directly from the book! If you have old notes from Biology and A&P I suggest you review them. I did not take Biology prior to taking my exam so I knew that the biology section would be the toughest part for me. All I needed was a 75% in this section, so I tried my best to learn everything in the study guide. Learn from my mistakes, try to take this exam after you have taken Biology and at least A&P I.

Third: Make sure you note which sections you need to take when you register for the exam. Also, make a note on the order of sections you are planning to take. For example, starting with math, vocal, reading, etc… I suggest starting with the sections that you will need the most amount of time. Some may start with the easiest sections. Note: The exam does not have timed sections! It is up to you to divide the hours allotted, so pre plan how much time you need per each section you are required to take. Overall, I say study at least a minimum of 2 weeks form the test date. ( That is, if you have been in school recently and have a good amount of knowledge that will be tested. If you can study for a longer amount of time that will be helpful.)


First:Make sure that you know your Evolve Elsevier username and password. You will need this information in order to take the exam. I printed out my username and password, as well as the address of my testing center. Make sure to arrive at least 30 minute prior to your test time to allow enough time to check in.

Second: Make sure you have 2 forms of identification. If you do not have the proper ID you will not be allowed to take the exam and you will lose your money! I did not know this before I went to the testing center. The sheet of paper said two forms of ID but the lady only checked one.

Third: Find out what you need to bring. When I got to the testing center I found out that a basic function calculator was allowed. The proctor would of course review and approve the use of your calculator. I recommend that you go to the dollar store and purchase one and take it just incase you are allowed to use it.Note: From my experience as well as suggestions from others that have taken this exam the calculators on the computer system are not the best. There were times that the buttons got stuck or what I typed did not indeed show up on the calculator. I had to triple check each answer because I feared I made errors with the built in calculator. (Believe me, you’d want every available minute to work on other questions/sections. I felt that the calculator in the computer slowed me down.)

Fourth: Prepare to have an easy morning, which means, knowing what you are going to wear, make sure you have all of your ID’s in your wallet, make sure that you know where you will be driving, and what time you need to leave the house in order to make it on time.

Fifth: Get rest! There is nothing worse than falling asleep during an exam so try to relax and rest.


First: Check traffic as soon as you wake up to make sure you know which route to use. During my test day about 3 people that were there were delayed due to a major accident on the freeway.

Second: Gather all of your materials- double and triple check.You would not be happy if you drove 30 minutes to find out you do not have your ID.

Third: Have a light breakfast. I repeat light! With your anxiety you may not want to eat but I suggest you do because during 4-5 hour exam your stomach will starting making noises and that could easily make you feel uncomfortable and lose your focus.

Fourth: Write down the order in which you would like to take the exam and include the amount of time you need to complete each section. Fifth: After each section take a 1-2 minute breather. Stay focused and continue the exams. Make sure to check your time to make sure that you finish the entire exam. Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

Things I wish someone told me:

1. You are smart and will do great!

2. Bring your own calculator. (Just incase you can use it.)

3. Learn to relax and focus quickly.

4. Each section is scored as soon as you finish. This was hard for me as I felt like I was expecting the <75% bomb to blow after each section I completed.

5. Study for a longer period of time. (At least a month.)

6. Read additional sources for Biology. ( Or your weakest subject.)

7. Prepare to take the test twice. ( Just incase you need to improve your score. I now feel less anxious taking it again as I now know what to expect. Check with the programs you are applying for under their Hesi/Entrance Exam requirements section.)

8. Try to take all of the sections as other schools may need a section you didn’t originally sign up for. This could save you money and could save you from sitting another 4 hours for the Hesi.

9. Don’t get discouraged if you get a few hard questions during a session. (I lost it during the Biology section. :-/ I felt like I was bombing it and just wanted to get it over with quickly. (This cost the 3% I needed! )
10. Don’t worry. It will all work out.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes!