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Each semester we take the HESI exam.  The first semester (J1) the HESI covered fundamental concepts of nursing.  This semester (J2) the HESI covered med-surg topics from our Adult I course.  We are forced to take this exam because our school believes it will help prepare us for the ultimate scary exam monster, NCLEX.  We’ll see about that!

Most people hate the HESI.  They bomb it (which is ok because you have the choice to take the final and it can replace your HESI grade).  However, I do strangely well on it.  By “well” I mean, I am above the national average on my overall score.

A friend came up to me this semester and told me she decided to try my technique this time around and she got an insanely high grade.  So I’ll tell you my strategy.  It does take bravery (because it involves not second guessing yourself and whizzing through the test using your intuition overall):


  • Evolve HESI practice test (you do need an account for this)
  • NCLEX Med-Surg review test (our school has a free version on every desktop)
  • Med-Surg Success book (helpful the most if you’ve been doing this all semester for each test to begin with)
    med surg success
  • HESI review book (do the practice questions, reading the book isn’t helpful)
    HESI practice

    • REMEMBER: when taking practice tests don’t worry about what grade you get. Focus on getting familiar with wording and formatting. The more practice questions you do, the more familiar you become with the testing style and the “shock factor” when you take the real HESI is lessened considerably.

Calculate w/ Confidence

This is on Evolve as well and you need a log in.  Brush up on IV calculations.  These questions are the only ones I triple check to ensure my math is correct.

DO NOT second guess your answers.

You should read the question carefully once, read all the answers carefully once then pick the one that stands out. People’s main problem w/ HESI is that they do not trust their intuition, second guess themselves, and change answers that were originally correct. Don’t read into things. Don’t add facts that aren’t there.


Be comfortable knowing that you will have random questions that you don’t know the answer to. Just. Breathe, answer it to the best of your ability and move on. Don’t let it stress you out!  At some point in time you’ve read it, heard it or seen it. So. CHILL OUT and stay calm.