hesi critical thinking

HESI Critical Thinking Exam: What You Need To Know In 2024

The HESI exam, like most standardized nursing assessments, requires strong critical thinking abilities. Let's find out about the HESI Critical Thinking exam.

Updated at March 13, 2023

The goal of the HESI A2 test is to evaluate how prepared potential students are intellectually and personally for higher education. It is especially well suited for prospective students who are interested in the health sciences, but it is also helpful for other potential students who need to brush up on their fundamental skills. The HESI exam, like the majority of standardized nursing exams, calls for a high level of critical thinking. It is no surprise that the HESI Critical Thinking Test is a requirement for entrance to several nursing schools.

Let’s get started with our free HESI A2 practice test so you can ace the real exam and obtain a good score.

What Is The HESI Admission Assessment (A2) Exam?

hesi critical thinking

The HESI A2 Exam consists of seven academic tests. In addition, the HESI-A2 assesses critical thinking, personality, and learning style. The exam has a total time limit of 5.5 hours to complete.

English Language

  • Reading Comprehension: Provides scenarios for measuring reading comprehension, such as recognizing the main concept, determining the meaning of words in context, and drawing logical conclusions. (50 items)
  • Vocabulary & General Knowledge: This section assesses knowledge of common terminology words as well as vocabulary used in healthcare disciplines. (50 items)
  • Grammar: Examines understanding of fundamental grammar, such as parts of speech, significant terminology and their applications in grammar, often occurring grammatical faults, and more. (50 items)


  • Basic Math Skills: This course focuses on the math skills required for nursing, such as basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, decimals, ratio and proportion, household measurements, and general math facts. (50 items)


  • Biology: Water, biological molecules, metabolism, cells, cellular respiration, photosynthesis, and other topics are covered. (25 items)
  • Chemistry: Matter, chemical equations and reactions, the periodic table, atomic structure, nuclear chemistry, chemical bonding, and other topics are covered in the exam. (25 items)
  • Anatomy & Physiology: This exam assesses broad terminology, anatomical structures, and systems knowledge. (25 items)
  • Personality Profile (not scored): To classify the student’s personality style, concepts linked to introversion and extroversion are used. (15 items)
  • Learning Style (not scored): Assesses the prospective applicant’s chosen learning style and provides test-taking and study advice according to that learning type. (14 items)
  • Critical Thinking: Analyzes the following critical thinking skills: data analysis, argument analysis, prioritizing of care, issue solving, bias resolution, and ethical problems.

Individual component scores and aggregate scores are supplied for the total number of academic examinations given. Nursing schools determine which A2 components will be needed of their own candidates. These standards, as well as the minimum cut scores, are set by professors, who are informed by research and data. These criteria might change from year to year and from school to school, so be sure to thoroughly examine the requirements for your program. 

Read more >> The Comprehensive HESI Biology Study Guide

What is HESI A2 Critical Thinking Exam?

hesi critical thinking

ability. Analyzes several circumstances that are typical in the healthcare sector to assess critical thinking abilities. The critical thinking test includes questions on problem-solving, ethical quandaries and moral difficulties, conflict resolution, and data analysis. The scale of scores is 0-1000. The higher your score, the greater your ability to think critically in the nursing subject. You will obtain points on five subcategories of critical thinking in addition to a total score on this exam:

  • Problem Solving: These questions pertain to the process of inquiry in which the nurse seeks numerous facts to eliminate impediments or fix patient care concerns.
  • Biases and Ethical Dilemmas: These questions cover ethical, legal, and moral difficulties, as well as nursing biases toward patients and others.
  • Argument Analysis: These questions pertain to scenarios in which the nurse is attempting to settle conflicts or disagreements by taking into account numerous points of view.
  • Data Analysis: These questions emphasize the requirement to appropriately evaluate patient data and determine whether additional nursing action is necessary.

Who Uses The HESI A2 Exam?

Colleges and institutions around the United States use the Health Education Systems, Inc. Admissions Assessment (HESI A2) examinations as part of their admissions process. While some institutions require candidates to nursing programs to take the HESI A2, others require applicants to health sciences programs such as diagnostic medical sonography, nursing, radiologic technology, and surgical technology to take versions of the HESI A2. The Evolve Reach A2 or HESI is another name for the HESI A2.

HESI A2 Critical Thinking Study Guide

You might wish to use the following strategy in this HESI A2 Critical Thinking study guide while you prepare for the HESI:

  • Take a practice test, noting each question as described above. Prepare your HESI A2 study materials. Don’t be concerned about how long it takes the first time.
  • Use Mometrix Academy’s free HESI A2 study resources to obtain a better grasp of the subjects you struggled with. There are links to videos above that explain all of the essential ideas you need to understand in order to do well on the HESI.
  • Take another practice exam, this time using as few resources as possible.
  • After completing the first two HESI A2 practice tests, go to the remaining practice tests as if they were the actual HESI test. Take them as soon as possible, and take the test without using any of your resources.
  • If you need more practice, look into the Mometrix or Quizlet flashcards, which contain more practice exams and sample questions. These priceless tools feature a risk-free, one-year money-back guarantee. Repetition and practice are essential for optimal preparedness.

Read more >> The Comprehensive HESI A2 Vocabulary Study Guide

FAQs – HESI Critical Thinking Exam

hesi critical thinking

What should I do to prepare for the HESI Admission Assessment?

Students can use the HESI Admission Assessment Exam Review Manual to prepare for HESI. Before utilizing the Review Manual, there is a 25-question pre-test at the beginning of the text that helps you analyze your areas of strength and weakness. Applicants can also practice on a 50-question comprehensive post-test contained at the end of the book, which covers all of the topic areas covered on the exam. The rationales for correct/incorrect responses will also be included in the questions.

In addition, there is an Evolve companion site with two complete practice examinations to help you review and prepare for the HESI Admission Assessment Exam. Applicants may acquire this handbook via the UTRGV bookstore or directly online by clicking on the following site.

Can I retake the HESI A2 if I do not achieve the required 75% on one or more components?

Yes, candidates may retake Version 2 of the HESI Admission Assessment Exam for any components that did not receive a 75 percent. However, if you are merely retaking particular parts/sections of the exam, the initial cumulative score will be considered against the admission criterion score.

Do I take the entire A2 exam over when retesting or can I take just the component where 75% is needed?

Applicants who choose to retest have the option of retaking the areas if a 75 percent was not attained. Please be aware that the Admission Assessment Exam cannot be divided into separate sections, thus the exam is provided with all components intact and the fee remains the same regardless of how many components you test on.

How soon can I retest if I am below 75% on any section?

After three weeks from your original exam date, applicants may schedule a second attempt. Utilize your downtime between tries to conduct significant remediation by focusing on your knowledge gaps. Utilize Evolve’s online material by studying missing content and completing the online item banks.

How long are HESI A2 scores good?

According to UTRGV admission regulations, HESI A2 exam results are valid for a year following the test date.

In this post, we covered everything you need to know about the HESI Critical Thinking exam. We hope you can learn enough from it to ace the test.