What Are The Differences Between HESI vs NCLEX In 2024?

If you plan to become a nurse practitioner, the NCLEX and HESI exams are the keys to entering this industry. Let's discover HESI vs NCLEX through this article.

Updated at March 13, 2023

What is HESI vs NCLEX? The name HESI refers to Health Education Systems, Inc., a well-known testing business that specializes in developing exams for nursing schools. Before becoming a registered nurse in the US, candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Although they are well known for their nursing school examinations, which we shall discuss here, they also provide additional confirmations, traditions, and claim to fame exams in response to requests from many nursing schools or educational institutions.

Many institutions now demand a passing score on the HESI before allowing students to graduate. The HESI exam and the NCLEX are frequently compared. The results of both the HESI vs NCLEX exams help students and their schools identify strong and weak areas in their own personal information and inside the educational program. In order for schools to identify areas that need improvement for their upcoming lesson plans, students can audit powerless ranges prior to taking the state board exams.

In order to ace the exam on your first try, let’s get started with our free HESI A2 practice test.

What Are The Differences Between HESI vs NCLEX?


Definition and Purpose

HESI exam

The HESI exam is essentially an entrance exam institute utilized by numerous nursing schools or educational institutions within the United States to decide in case they need to let you. The score that you simply get on this exam will direct which schools you’re qualified to go to and will moreover offer assistance to plan for your studies. Within the HESI exam, you’re attending to get a percentage-based score on a few distinctive ranges to form an aggregate score.

This exam can moreover be utilized to get ready for the NCLEX exam. We’ll conversation about what the NCLEX is for within another area, but presently, it is suggested for you to know that the HESI exam will allow you a bit of an idea of ​​how you may do on this moment exam and can assist you to way better think about and get ready to require it afterward in your nursing school time.

There are 2 versions of the HESI exam: HESI A2 and HESI Exit. So, what is the difference between HESI and HESI A2? If HESI A2 is considered an entrance exam to assess a candidate’s ability before officially pursuing a study program at a nursing school, the HESI Exit exam takes responsibility for predicting a candidate’s success in passing their NCLEX exam.

Although both are from the same provider, Elsevier, in reality, HESI A2 and HESI Exit exams show very clear differences, including exam content, scoring, purposes, and many other factors. The HESI A2 seems to be more well-known in the US and most countries, while the HESI Exit exam is usually only known if someone is planning to take the NCLEX exam. Later in this article, we will provide you with specific information about both exams, to help you find the exam that is right for your abilities, needs, and goals.

NCLEX exam

The National Council of Nursing Licensing Exam, also known as the NCLEX, is a national exam that all nursing students must pass to become licensed registered nurse practitioners in the United States. Ky. This is the exam you need to pass before becoming a registered nursing nurse by the US government.

There are two types of NCLEX tests, the NCLEX-PN and the NCLEX-RN. The NCLEX-RN is used for graduates of registered nursing programs, while the NCLEX-PN is used for practical and vocational nursing graduates.

Is HESI vs NCLEX similar? While both tests are similar in some ways, there are some key differences that can be noticed: The RN exam emphasizes the ability of nurses to manage care and analyze advanced practice. Prospective nurses have a bachelor’s degree, while the PN exam includes more care coordination questions for prospective nurses with a college degree.

Content Outlines


The HESI A2 keeps going for 5.25 hours and comprises 7 main sub-exams and 2 optional sub-exams. These incorporate English Language Usage (includes Reading & Comprehension, Vocabulary & General Knowledge, Grammar), Basic Math Skills, and Science (including Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology). There’s moreover a brief segment that tests the student’s learning fashion and identity sort. The larger part of the test is focused on the primary 3 language-oriented exams, with exactly 50 questions each. The final three science exams have an auxiliary weight of exactly 25 questions each. The Basic Math Skills segment contains exactly 50 questions.

In terms of the HESI Exit Exams, this type of HESI is created to coordinate the most recent NCLEX test plans. They test the whole nursing educational program and they endeavor to anticipate whether or not the test taker will pass the NCLEX exam, which each nurse is required to pass for proficient certification. The center subject zones of the HESI exit exam are Nursing Handle, Client Needs, Specialty Region, and Nursing Handle.


The NCLEX exam is ordinarily taken via online platforms, and whether a test taker answers a question accurately decides the trouble level of the following question. The test decides how well the test-taker knows the standard of care, and all medical attendants must illustrate the same essential level of information for successfully passing this exam.

The lion’s share of the questions within the NCLEX exam, generally 43% to 6%7, address issues of physiological astuteness, such as the impacts of distinctive infections, the impacts of maturing, methods for treating wounds, and signs of child mishandling. About 21% to 23% of NCLEX questions test information of the components of a secure care environment, such as security measures against damage and disease, research facility test outcomes, and regulating pharmaceuticals.

Wellbeing advancement and maintenance-related questions make up generally 12% of the NCLEX exam and address issues such as legitimate count calories and care of infant newborn children. Finally, 12% of NCLEX questions relate to psychosocial keenness and test the longer-term nurse’s information on the best practice for managing rationally sick patients.


Both the HESI and NCLEX exams are regularly taken at distinctive times in a nursing student’s instructive career. As a practice test, the HESI exam is taken during nursing school. A few nursing schools may require this exam as a portion of the nursing school educational modules, and a few may utilize it to test potential applicants’ capacity earlier to affirmations. This gives understudy medical attendants who do not pass the HESI exam the opportunity to total a remediation program, making a difference to a superior plan for inevitably taking the NCLEX exam.

Remediation doesn’t offer assistance to understudies to retake the HESI exam but instead gives them ranges to practice for the NCLEX exam. The NCLEX exam is continuously taken at the conclusion of nursing school, as the ultimate step before officially getting the professional licensure.

Content Areas

Both the HESI exam and NCLEX exam utilize a comparable critical thinking approach. This permits the HESI exam to foresee long-haul understudy nurses’ capacity to ace the sorts of test questions that are on the NCLEX exam. Whereas both tests utilize a basic considering approach — inquiring test-takers to issue fathom and think systematically when replying to questions – the substance does contrast. The College of Detroit Kindness McAuley School of Nursing notes that the HESI exam tests students in more general knowledge areas, while the NCLEX tests future RNs in more specific zones.

Read more >> Get ready For Your HESI Mid-Curricular

How To Prepare For The HESI vs NCLEX Exam?


When you’re looking to require either or both the HESI vs NCLEX, it’s essential to prepare appropriately. It is suggested for you to ensure that both of these mentioned tests are comparative in nature, and they will test you on comparable things, counting your basic considerations. The thought behind the HESI exam is to get ready for the NCLEX, which can happen in case you’re really testing the same common regions and areas. So, in the event that you’re looking to get ready for one, remember to keep considering the things that you’ve considered for the other.

It is required for you to include ranges that are related to more particular perspectives of nursing, such as the knowledge fields of client needs and nursing care information. These are basic areas that you’ll not know before the process of beginning your instruction but will get to know before beginning to practice within the field.

Review the topics of the exam

Let’s ensure that you simply know what areas are on the exam. This can be particularly critical if you’re taking the HESI exam for the primary time or in the event that you didn’t take the HESI to get into your school and presently got to take the NCLEX.

Make flashcards

Flashcards are an awesome study method to practice since they are simple to take beside you. You’ll particularly utilize them for questions related to understanding care and common practice and approaches to ensure that you keep them in mind, and you’ll consider them more often as possible.

Take a practice test

It is recommended for you to take numerous practice tests, not only the HESI exam. Remember, in the event that you take the HESI as an entrance exam, it’ll be very difficult, whereas before the process of taking the NCLEX. This means you’ll get to brush up on the studying material. You moreover need a way that you just can think about the extra studying material from the NCLEX exam.

Study harder and harder

In terms of the HESI exam, you’re getting thought of how you’re progressing to do with the NCLEX, or you’re getting into the school you need to attend. This is vital, but it’s not as critical as being able to urge your nursing permit. Meaning you unquestionably need to ponder more for the NCLEX exam instead of the HESI exam.

Make a detailed plan

It is recommended for you to ensure that you can arrange input to think about and to require the exam. So, make a study plan that’s aiming to assist you to get ready and go over all of the fabric you wish to know. At that point, make a time budget for after you sit down to prepare for the exam, so avoid running out of time before it’s over.

Be familiar with the exam format

You should keep in mind that the NCLEX exam is reaching to utilize the format of CAT (stands for the computer adaptive testing). This means you may in the long run get to questions you don’t know. It’s planned to do that. In reality, it’s planned so that you will eventually be able to reply to just half of the questions. Don’t be disheartened by this.

Answer by the book

In case you’ve ever worked within the therapeutic field, you will have a particular encounter with a few of the situations you’ll be inquired about on the exam. Don’t reply based on your experience. Answer particularly from what you’ve learned in your classes and within the course readings. Typically the reply the test is seeking out for.

Know the basics

There are several fundamental things that are important to continuously keep in mind, such as evaluating the patients before calling the specialist. The airway-breathing circulation approach and deductive thinking. This will assist you to make a standard for your exam answers.

Let your hair down

It’s basic to let your hair down and breathe before the process of starting your exam. Besides, let’s ensure that you are taking some time to unwind amid your ponder periods as well. In case you’re not well-rested and stress-free once you sit down for your test, you’re progressing to struggle with sections or knowledge that you know.

Which HESI Score Range Is Equivalent To Passing the NCLEX?

In the event that you take the HESI exit exam and have a score level of 900 or even higher than that, you have got a really solid chance of passing the NCLEX. Whereas there’s no ensure that you will, you ought to feel moderately certain in this.

In common, most of the understudies that perform well on the HESI exit exam will also perform well on the NCLEX exam. In reality, there’s an inquiry to propose that there’s a range from 96% to 99% expectation of victory between the HESI exit exam and the NCLEX exam. Let’s remember that this is based on your proceeding to ponder and plan for the NCLEX indeed after completing the HESI exit exam. You don’t need to expect that you’re planning to do just fine on the NCLEX exam since you perform well on the HESI exam and after that disregard everything that you’ve done already.

Ensure that in the event that you are performing well on your HESI exit exam, you’re still taking a little bit of time to audit the studying material which you’re particularly checking on the concepts and zones that aren’t included within the HESI exam. It is also required for you to ensure that you keep an eye on most topics of nursing specifics as well as patient care.

Is HESI Harder than NCLEX?


In fact, there is no exact way to reply to this question. Both of these exams (HESI exam vs NCLEX exam) are reaching to be troublesome but in totally diverse ways. This means you’re planning to have some people who perform truly well within the HESI exam but still find difficulty in the NCLEX exam. A few individuals find difficulty in the HES exam and perform truly well within the NCLEX exam.

Questions of the NCLEX and HESI exams are chosen in totally different ways. NCLEX employs CAT (stands for the Computerized Adaptive Testing) innovation so that each understudy gets questions chosen based on their information level. In the event that you reply to a question accurately, the NCLEX program will display you with a more troublesome address. In the event that you reply to a question erroneously, the NCLEX program will display you with a less demanding question.

The HESI exam is well-known as a static exam, which suggests that the questions are preset (in spite of the fact that they are randomized so you won’t get the precise same questions each time you take it). That means that in case you and your classmates are all taking the same adaptation of the HESI Exit Exam (there are a few distinctive forms accessible for your school to buy), at that point, you may all see the same correct questions, notwithstanding of how numerous you get right or wrong answers.

The questions are as of now decided at the time you sit down to require the exam, which can be less demanding for a few. Moreover, everybody who takes the exam at the same time will have the same questions. 

With the NCLEX, you’re getting a computer adaptive test. What this implies will reply to some preset questions that everybody will have, but at that point, you may get continuously more troublesome questions based on the way that you just reply to your questions. In case you get more questions at that point, you may indeed get more challenging questions, which can be diverse from anybody else taking the test at the same time.

The thought behind the NCLEX exam is to figure out how troublesome the questions can get in case you can just answer a maximum of 50% of the total questions correctly. So, the test will proceed to urge harder and harder and is planned for you to eventually fall flat on the questions. But you’ll pass the exam depending on how distant you really get.

What this all implies is that the HESI exam is getting to be harder than what it takes to pass the NCLEX. That’s the one way that you might utilize it to anticipate in the event that you were progressing to pass the NCLEX exam, after all. So, in case you scarcely pass the HESI exam, you’ll probably find that the NCLEX exam feels simpler to you. On the other hand, in case you pass the HESI exam with a high score, you’ll likely feel just like the NCLEX exam is harder.

In general, the foremost thing that you can do is to ponder both exams. Don’t accept that just since you performed well on the HESI exam, you’re attending to do extraordinary on the NCLEX exam. And don’t accept that you know everything you wish to know just since you took the HESI exam. Instead of that, it is recommended for you to look at the extra data for the NCLEX exam. Ensure that you’re investing some time on the client parcels of the NCLEX exam, as well as the nursing fundamentals and other areas. These are all things that merely won’t get considered for the HESI exam, but they’re things you should know in reality.

The information of HESI vs NCLEX examinations is provided above. We sincerely hope that reading this post will help you tremendously in your efforts to join the US nursing industry.