The HESI exam is an essential step to becoming a nurse. It is a standardized exam developed by Health Education Systems, Inc (HESI) and is designed to assess student competency and evaluate achievement of curricular outcomes. The HESI exam also measures the capacity of each nursing student to pass the final board exam, the NCLEX. You are likely to be told that you must pass the HESI exam otherwise you will not get to take the final NCLEX and risk compromising your chances of graduating. The practice exams are the first step and getting a score of over 900 is great preparation for your final HESI exam, but how do you ensure that you do well?
There is no secret to passing but there are some simple tips and tricks you can follow to make sure you are as prepared as possible before the exam.
- Create a study group. People tend to be more productive and remember things better when they feel supported by others. Think about arranging to meet up with a few classmates on a regular basis and see if it helps.
- Buy an online review. Some organizations will provide review sessions that you can complete online and track your progress in this way. A lot of these resources will also provide you with helpful hints and tips to make sure you are fully prepared for the exam.
- Buy a book. You can purchase material directly from HESI and some include a disc with practice exams on it. By practicing on your computer you will be preparing yourself for how the actual exam will work. Study guides are a great resource too. Look for ones that say “NCLEX PREP” and make sure that they are authentic and up to date. You can complete the questions and then check how you did by looking up the answers. This is great practice for how the questions will actually look on the day.
- Focus on your weaknesses. You should have a good idea of what your good at and what you’re not good at in the run up to the HESI exam. You should study the entire curriculum in order to be well-prepared but it is a good idea to pay special attention to the areas you are not so confident on. Look back at your class notes for help or look out for resources that specifically focus on this area.
- Don’t let complicated wording put you off. A lot of the questions on the HESI exam require common sense questions but complicated wording can sometime confuse matters. Try to translate any jargon and think about what the question is actually asking. Practice will help in this area, but above all, always read the question thoroughly!
- Get your family and friends onside. The people around you need to understand that this is a very important time for you and that if you don’t see them for a few days it is because you need to focus your thoughts. Having the support of your loved ones behind you is a great confidence boost and once they understand just how important studying for the HESI exam is, they should hopefully give you some space to get on with it.
- Brain food. On the day of the HESI exam make sure you have had a good breakfast to help you concentrate. You might even want to take a snack with you to keep you going. Taking a quick mental break by nipping to the bathroom during the exam can help to refresh and renew your brain, allowing you to continue with the exam in an effective way.
- You’re not on your own. Finally, realize that many other nurses are taking or have taken the HESI exam and they have got through it, so there is no reason why you can’t do the same! Positive-thinking really can work wonders.
If you follow these simple tips, you will enter the HESI exam feeling well-prepared, relaxed and ready to perform to the best of your abilities.