Is The Hesi Exam Hard

12 minutes read
Dec 11, 2023

Having a passion for working in healthcare is great, but there’s this challenge called the HESI (Health Education Systems, Inc.) exam. Now, the big question: Is the HESI exam hard? Let’s explore it together and understand what’s in it. We’ll talk about study tips and tricks to make your way through it so you get a better picture. 

Alright, let’s talk about the HESI exam. It’s an important test for people who want to pursue a healthcare career. The main question is: Is it hard? Let’s figure it out by looking at what’s in the test, what it asks, and what people who took it have to share with you.

Let’s see what all this is about! Is the HESI really hard?

Live in United States (US)
Need assistance with your Online Nursing Class? Simply reach out to us.

150+ awaed icon

Qualified Tutors

Get Started

What is the HESI Exam?

The HESI Exam, or Health Education Systems, Inc. Exam, is a series of standardized tests for individuals pursuing careers in healthcare. These tests are designed to evaluate the knowledge and skills of students. 

The tests are developed by Health Education Systems, Inc. (HESI). These exams check your knowledge in various subjects like math, reading understanding, vocabulary, biology, anatomy, and physiology, and how well you can think critically.

Educational institutions, especially nursing schools, often use HESI exams as part of their admissions process. They also use it to evaluate students’ readiness for clinical practice. The results help educators identify areas where students need additional support and help. 

What Does HESI Stand For?

HESI, which stands for Health Education Systems Incorporated, is a company in the United States that supports nurses in getting ready for and successfully passing their licensure exams.

Types of HESI Exams

Health Education Systems, Inc. has several types of HESI exams. These include

HESI Admission Assessment (A2) Exam:

Nursing schools often use HESI Admission Assessment (A2) Exam as part of their admissions process. It evaluates basic academic skills in math, reading, vocabulary, grammar, anatomy, and physiology.

HESI Specialty Exams:

HESI offers exams focused on specific healthcare subjects like medical-surgical nursing, pediatrics, obstetrics, and other specialties. These tests evaluate students’ knowledge in those specific areas.

HESI Exit Exam:

The Exit Exam is taken by nursing students near the end of their program, assessing their overall knowledge and readiness for the nursing licensure exam (NCLEX-RN). It helps pinpoint areas that may need extra review before graduation.

What is on the HESI entrance exam? 

What is on the HESI entrance exam 

It depends on your program requirements. You might only need to take the Mathematics, Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Grammar subtests. While some schools may include Biology, Anatomy, and physiology, Chemistry and Physics are rarely required. To get the most accurate information, check with the school’s administrators you are applying to. 

Most HESI exam format comprises of multiple-choice questions, where you select the correct answer from a set of options.

The HESI A2 evaluates students in the following areas:

SubjectNumber of QuestionsKey Areas
Anatomy25Body systems, anatomical terms, and physiological concepts
Biology25Cellular biology, photosynthesis, and metabolic processes
Chemistry25Periodic table, atomic structure, and chemical equations
Grammar50Parts of speech, standard grammatical rules, and sentence structure
Mathematics50Metric system, fractions, decimals, ratios, and proportions
Reading47Reading comprehension, theme identification, and contextual understanding
Vocabulary50Identifying meanings of words, especially in medical and healthcare contexts
Physics25(Note: Not commonly used in most nursing schoolsguide)

The test lasts for 315 minutes (5 hours and 15 minutes) and has 310 questions. It comprises eight subtests covering Reading, Vocabulary and General Knowledge, Grammar, Basic Math Skills, Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy and physiology, and Physics. Program requirements may vary, determining the specific combination of subjects. (Wikipedia HESI Exam)

How long should I study for the HESI exam?

The study hours and plan depend on your situation. You can ask yourself some questions to better understand your situation, like:

  • How many hours can I dedicate to studying each day or week?
  • How long ago did I study similar stuff, and how much do I need to review?
  • How sure am I about each subject? (English, Vocabulary, Math, and Anatomy and Physiology)
  • How much do I need to study to feel comfortable with the exam?

As a general guide, aim for at least one week per section. Some need more, others less. It completely depends on you. Ideally, you should start studying about 6 weeks before your test. Try your best to spend a few hours each week. Also, make a dedicated schedule and work on it with consistency. 

What are some effective study strategies for the HESI exam?

  1. Make sure you know:
  • Format
  • Duration
  • Methods of the exam

2) Create a plan for studying. Decide on certain days and times to study, and before each study session, set goals for what you want to achieve.

3) Get more study materials to help you prepare for the test.

4) Team up with your classmates and create a study group.

5) Include practice exams in your study routine. 

How hard is it to pass the HESI?

How hard is it to pass the HESI?

Passing the HESI exam can be different for everyone. The word “hard” is subjective. Everyone has a unique perception of it. The question here is, “How hard is it to pass the HESI?” Well, It depends on how well-prepared you are and what you know about it. If you get ready by studying, practicing, and understanding what’s in the test, you have a better chance of doing well.

The difficulty of passing the test also depends on multiple factors. It depends on factors such as your preparation, academic background, and familiarity with the content. The exam tests your knowledge and skills in various healthcare-related areas, including mathematics, reading comprehension, vocabulary, biology, anatomy and physiology, and critical thinking.

Now, it completely depends on you how you approach the exam. You can take HESI A2 practice tests free or paid to have a better idea of the final test.  Make sure you appear in the exam with a positive mindset and consider it an opportunity to prove your passion and dedication for a healthcare career.

Difference Between HESI & HESI A2 (Which One is Hard)

ExamHESI A2HESI Exit Exam
When is the test taken?During Application to Postsecondary Nursing ProgramsPre- or Post-Completion of a Postsecondary Nursing Program
Why is the exam taken?To Assess Applicant Eligibility for AdmissionTo Predict Success in NCLEX Licensing Exams. May Influence Graduation Eligibility.
Who takes the exam?Colleges and universitiesThose getting ready for NCLEX and by colleges/universities.

Check HESI – Elsevier Student Life for more details.

Is the HESI harder than the TEAS test?

Yes, HESI is considered harder than the TEAS test. Why? Here’s the answer.

HESI A2 and TEAS tests for specialized knowledge in chemistry, biology, and, in some cases, physics. We know that TEAS is more focused on general knowledge. HESI A2 has additional content, which makes it more challenging based on time and the variety of subjects.

TEAS and HESI tests both get you ready for nursing school. It shows what you’ll learn in your healthcare education. As they get the idea of subjects and content, some individuals think TEAS is easier because it has fewer parts with more general info.

In conclusion, HESI is considered tougher than TEAS. The major reason is its extended length and additional testing content, making it more comprehensive but tough. 

Live in United States (US)
Need assistance with your Online Nursing Exam? Simply reach out to us.

150+ awaed icon

Qualified Tutors

Get Started

Is the HESI harder than NCLEX?

It’s not easy to figure out if HESI is tougher than NCLEX. It isn’t that simple. Both the exams are tricky but in different ways. HESI has preset questions for everyone, which provides a consistent experience for test-takers. On the other hand, NCLEX adapts based on individual performance, presenting progressively difficult questions.

So, doing well on HESI doesn’t guarantee success on NCLEX as they assess different aspects of knowledge differently. Eventually, It all comes down to how you do and how ready you are.

toward a rewarding career in healthcare. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1 How long is the HESI exam?

You have 6 hours to finish all test modules. Most finish in under four hours. You must complete it on the same day unless you have special arrangements.

Q2 What is the HESI A2 exam?

The HESI A2 exam is a standardized test for nursing and healthcare programs, assessing knowledge in math, reading, biology, and anatomy.

Q3 How do I ace my HESI A2?

To ace your HESI A2, utilize resources like the HESI A2 Quizlet for practice, focus on key subjects, and develop a strategic study plan. Practice regularly, understand question formats, and review core concepts for success. You can also get help from online HESI study guides or different resources according to your learning style.

Q4 Is the HESI exam proctored?

HESI (Health Education Systems, Inc.) exams require scheduled proctoring. To take the test, you need to pre-order and set up an appointment by calling at least one and a half weeks before the desired testing date.

Q5 How many questions are in the HESI A2 Exam 2023?

The HESI A2 exam consists of 295 overall scored questions along with an additional 40 unscored questions (excluding the personality sections). Each sub-test within the exam comprises a range of 25 to 50 questions.

Q6 How many times can you take the HESI A2?

Nursing programs set their own limits on how often applicants can take the HESI A2 in an academic year for passing the HESI A2, but many permit multiple attempts.


So, it all comes down to the question again “Is the HESI exam hard?” Well, it depends on the individual taking it. As we discussed earlier, the definition of “hard” is subjection. Some find it tricky because it covers a lot of content from different subjects and topics, but others figure it out.

Again, the concern is, why do some people don’t find HESI exam hard? It all depends on their knowledge and skills. Both come with practice, consistency, and focus. Again, with dedication, effective study strategies, and a positive mindset, tackling the HESI exam can be a manageable task.

So best of luck with your HESI exam, as you are on the path

Alex James

Natural Sciences and Math Expert

  • Facebook-Image
  • insta-Image
  • Twitter-Image

I am a Natural sciences enthusiast with a profound passion for Biology, Chemistry, Statistics, and Physics. Completed more than 1055+ online classes and exams for the students. So they score high and stress less!



On Your First Order

Are you looking to hire someone to take my class for me? We're your knights in shining armor!

Your search for 'pay someone to take my online course' has come to an end. So, kick back, relax, and let us shoulder whatever burdens burden you; we've got this covered!

Get Started
Girl Image

Copyright © 2024 - All Right Reserved