How to Prepare for the HESI Exam for LPNs

by Erica Loop

    Jobs in licensed practical nursing are growing at a faster than average rate of 22 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you're considering a career as an LPN, you'll need to attend a certificate or associate-level nursing program before getting your professional practice license. The Health Education Systems, Inc. or HESI exam is a standardized nursing test that many schools use as pre-admission entrance assessments or to prepare students to take the NCLEX-PN for licensure. Understanding what type of content is on the HESI exam can help you to focus your studies and better prepare for this LPN entrance exam test.

    Before you start studying for your HESI LPN exam, you must know what the exact content on your specific test is. Different schools use different versions, or sub-tests, of the HESI. For example, Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland requires LPN school admission candidates to take the HESI Evolve Clinical Nursing Admissions Assessment and the HESI LPN-RN Mobility exam for LPN students who are transitioning into a registered nurse program. Some schools also refer to the general HESI entrance exam as the HESI A2. This exam tests knowledge of English, math and science, while the HESI LPN-RN Mobility exam includes specific nursing topics such as medical, surgical, maternity, pediatric and psychiatric information.

    The academic content on the HESI includes questions in reading comprehension, vocabulary and grammar. The reading comprehension section includes brief passages that you must read, comprehend and make logical inferences from, according to the Department of Nursing at the Southern Arkansas University Magnolia. The vocabulary content includes both general English words and healthcare specific terms. The grammar section also includes general English language use questions. Preparing for the English sections may include brushing up on your reading skills by reviewing different passages or short stories and looking for meaning. Additionally, you can use HESI test preparation books or study guides to familiarize yourself with the specific types of questions and vocabulary on the exam.

    You'll need to demonstrate basic math knowledge and some scientific skills to pass the HESI A2 test. The math skills section focuses on basics that you'll need during nursing practice, such as addition, subtraction, ratio and proportion, measurements, decimals, multiplication, division and fractions, according to the North Seattle Community College.The science section includes anatomy and physiology content such as human body systems, structures and related vocabulary. You can use high school or college textbooks or HESI study guides to brush up on this information. Solving basic math equations will also help you to prepare for the exam.

    If you're an LPN taking the HESI Mobility exam to transition into an associate-level or higher RN degree program, you'll need to include specific nursing knowledge in your test preparation. You can use your textbooks, past exams and notes from the LPN training program that you completed to study for the HESI, focusing on the the specific topics that the test will cover. Review the information that you have already learned on basic nursing fundamentals for practice, surgical nursing, medical nursing, psychiatric care, pediatrics and maternity practice. Try a practice version of the exam to prep yourself for the real thing; practice exams offer the full-length experience of taking the HESI, but without a reported score.

    About the Author

    Erica Loop is an arts educator, parenting blogger and writer. She has been freelancing since 2010 and writes mostly child development and kids' activity content. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

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