Student Blogs

How I Studied for HESI Exams

Written by: Monique Nguyen

As a nursing student, taking HESI exams was nerve-wracking and stressful because I never knew what to expect. In my final year of nursing school, I was expected to take two HESI exams, the HESI 1 and the HESI 2 Exit Exam. These exams test students in all areas including adult health, pediatrics, maternity, prioritization/delegation, and med-surg. Utilizing HESI is one of the methods to prepare students for writing the NCLEX exam following graduation. 

Before taking HESI 1, I was unsure of how to study. Although I did not score as high as I wanted on the first exam, I used it as a learning experience and motivation to develop a study plan for the HESI 2 Exit Exam. On my HESI 2 Exit Exam, I scored in my school’s recommended range! I was happy and proud that I finished my last undergraduate exam with a great score.

These are the tips and tricks that I used to study for the HESI exam:

  • Detailed Scoring Report

After taking a HESI exam, HESI generates a detailed scoring report that identifies how well you did in each subject area. Additionally, this report tells you how many numbers of questions you answered correctly and how much your score deviated from the recommended score. This scoring report will help you determine how much time you need for each subject area and will help you identify your areas of weakness. On my first exam, my strongest subject area was mental health, and my weakest subject area was Integumentary and Oncology, therefore, I knew which areas to spend extra studying time on!

  • Study Plans

After utilizing the detailed scoring report, plan how long you will spend on each topic. Planning out your time can be tricky with placement and other schoolwork but do your best to plan and stick to it! Also, do not forget to indicate how many practice questions you aim to go through during each day.

The Saunders Comprehensive Review Textbook is a LIFESAVER! Not only does it provide you with practice questions, but it also provides you with thorough information related to each topic. When studying, I went through each area of the textbook, and at the end of each subject, I would test myself using the practice questions. I found that when I tested myself after studying each subject, I was able to retain my knowledge better versus only doing practice questions after studying all the subjects. 

  • Comprehensive Tests

When I finished studying from the Saunders Comprehensive Review Textbook, I used various methods to test my knowledge with practice questions. At the end of the Comprehensive Textbook, there is a comprehensive test that summarizes all subject areas in the textbook. This was a great refresher. Reading through the rationales for each question was extremely helpful when I did not understand why the answer was the way it was.

Additionally, the Saunders’ Q&A Textbook is a textbook filled with practice questions. My goal was to go through 50-100 questions daily and to write down the rationales to the questions that I did not know. In addition to that, I would make note of the questions that I did not know so that I could go back and refresh my memory on that specific topic!

Lastly, inside the textbook, there is a code that I put in on the Evolve/Elsevier website that gave me access to more practice questions which I found extremely useful as it mimicked the HESI test format.

Overall, I believe that developing a study plan and holding yourself accountable is the way to achieve success on these HESI exams. These exams are designed to test your knowledge of all the information that you learned in nursing school and more. The harder you study for these HESI exams, the easier the material will come to you when you are studying for the NCLEX! Once you put your mind to something, you can always achieve it! 

I hope my tips and tricks helped you with studying for your HESI. I wish you the best of luck and I know you will all kill the exam!