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HESI Conversion Score & Passing Range – A Complete Guide

HESI Conversion Score & Passing Range – A Complete Guide

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The HESI score range is presented as a percentage, with a potential overall score ranging from 0 to 1500. While there is no universal passing score, individual nursing programs set their own standards for acceptability.

A passable score generally falls within the range of 850 or higher. However, a desired score, particularly for competitive programs, often exceeds 900.

Pursuing a career in nursing involves various challenges, including successfully completing the Health Education Systems Inc (HESI) exams.

By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of

  • The HESI score range
  • What is assessed on both the A2 and Exit exam
  • How scores are calculated
  • What constitutes a competitive performance

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HESI In a Nutshell

The HESI test is a comprehensive exam designed to assess nursing students' academic preparedness and clinical competence.

It evaluates their knowledge across various subject areas essential for a career in nursing.

As such, understanding how the HESI is scored is important for success.

The primary areas that contribute to a good HESI score are:

Content Knowledge

The tests assess a student's understanding of fundamental nursing concepts, including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and other related subjects.

Critical Thinking Skills

HESI evaluates the ability of nursing students to apply critical thinking in clinical scenarios. This aspect is crucial for making sound decisions in real-life healthcare situations.

Clinical Judgment

The test assesses a student's capability to make safe and effective clinical judgments, considering factors such as patient safety and ethical considerations.

HESI test scores are typically used in nursing education programs as a form of benchmark assessment.

Students may encounter various HESI exams throughout their nursing education journey, including the A2 exam and the Exit Exam.

These assessments serve different purposes at different stages of the nursing program, helping educators track student progress and make data-driven decisions to enhance the overall quality of nursing education.

The HESI A2 exam assesses academic preparedness and clinical competence across various subject areas, including:


The A2 math test evaluates mathematical proficiency, including basic arithmetic, algebra, and mathematical problem-solving skills. It consists of 50 questions and is expected to be completed in less than 50 minutes.

Reading Comprehension

Evaluates the ability to comprehend and analyze written passages. There are 47 questions and a 60-minute time limit.

Vocabulary and General Knowledge

Assesses the student's understanding of general vocabulary and knowledge. You are expected to answer 50 questions in 50 minutes.


Assesses knowledge and application of grammatical rules and structures. There are 50 questions to answer in under 50 minutes.


This section tests the understanding of basic principles and concepts in chemistry. You can expect to answer 25 questions in 25 minutes or less.

Anatomy and Physiology

Assesses understanding of the structure and function of the human body. This section also consists of 25 questions with a 25-minute limit.


Evaluates knowledge of fundamental biological concepts. There is a recommended time limit of 25 minutes and 25 questions.


Tests basic knowledge of physics principles. This is a slightly more challenging exam, so you have 50 minutes to complete 25 questions.

The exam evaluates essential knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary for success in nursing education and practice.

The HESI score range is presented as percentages, with no universal passing score, as requirements vary among nursing programs.

The HESI Exit Exam is a standardized test administered to nursing students nearing the completion of their program.

Unlike the HESI A2, which assesses entry-level knowledge, the HESI Exit Exam evaluates a student's readiness to graduate and enter the workforce.

It measures comprehensive knowledge in areas such as:

Nursing Processes

Assessment, Analysis, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation

Patient Needs

Environment, Management of Care, Safety and Infection Control, Health Promotion, Psychosocial and Physiological Integrity, Basic Care and Comfort, Pharmaceutical, Reduce Risk Potential and Physio Adaption.

A Specialist Area

For example, Community Health, Critical Care, Geriatrics, Maternity, Medical Surgical, Pathophysiology, Pediatrics and Mental Health.

You can expect to answer 75 to 150 multiple-choice questions depending on your licensing body.

The exam aims to gauge clinical judgment and decision-making skills essential for safe and effective nursing practice.

Again, there is no universal passing score, as it varies among institutions.

However, achieving a strong performance is crucial for graduation and success on the NCLEX-RN and NLN-PAX licensing exams.

HESI Conversion Score & Passing Range - A Complete Guide
HESI Conversion Score & Passing Range - A Complete Guide

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How Is the HESI Scored?

The HESI passing score varies based on the specific type of HESI test being administered and the program you are applying for.

Here's a breakdown of the scoring system.

Points Awarded

Each correct HESI A2 and Exit answer contributes to the overall score. The number of points awarded may vary depending on the difficulty level of the question.

No Penalties for Wrong Answers

Typically, there is no penalty for incorrect answers. Making an educated guess rather than leaving a question unanswered is generally more beneficial.

Percentage Scale

The overall score is often presented as a percentage from 0% to 100%. This indicates the proportion of questions answered correctly out of the total number of questions.

Cumulative Score

The cumulative score may include sub-scores for specific content areas, such as mathematics, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar.

Conversion Scores

The conversion score involves modifying individual raw scores based on question difficulty on a scale between 0 and 1,500.

This weighted scoring system ensures that correctly answering a problematic question contributes more points to the conversion score compared to correctly answering an easier question.

Conversion scores may also be provided to standardize scores across different forms of the HESI exam, ensuring fairness and consistency.

Additionally, the timing of score availability can vary.

In many cases, preliminary results are often provided immediately after completing the exam.

However, official HESI scores may take some time to be processed and released by the testing organization.

It's advisable to check with the specific institution or testing center for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding score availability.

Understanding the scoring system and what a good HESI score is is crucial for students preparing for this exam. It allows them to focus their efforts on areas where improvement is needed.

The HESI Score Range

The test provides HESI exam scores for various sections, each assessing a specific skill set relevant to nursing education.

The score range can vary for different sections, and it's important for students to understand how their performance is evaluated in each area.

Percentage Score Standard
90 100% 900 or more Excellent chance of passing
80 90% 850 899 High chance of passing
75 80% 800 849 Average chance of passing
74% or less 799 or less Little to no chance

What Is a HESI Passing Score?

As the HESI passing scores are not standardized, it is essential for students to ask their program leaders for the HESI score range for each section as different nursing programs place varying levels of importance on different sections.

Different institutions set their own standards for what they consider acceptable performance on the HESI exam.

Some programs may even prioritize certain sections over others.

For example, a program might place greater importance on the science sections (Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry) than other sections.

In this example, the average HESI A2 scores might be 80% overall, but may require above 90% in Anatomy and Chemistry.

Additionally, if a student does not meet the desired or required score, they may need to check with the specific program to understand its policies regarding retaking the HESI exam.

How to Improve Your HESI Scores?

Improving your average HESI score requires a combination of effective preparation and strategic test-taking.

Here are a few key tips to help you achieve the best possible outcome on your HESI exam.

Step 1. Familiarize Yourself with the Test Format

Understand the structure and format of the HESI exam.

Familiarity with the types of questions, time constraints, and overall layout can help reduce test-day anxiety.

Step 2. Take Online Practice Tests

Utilize online resources that offer practice tests designed explicitly for the HESI exam.

This allows you to simulate the testing environment and identify areas where you may need additional review.

Step 3. Create a Study Schedule

Develop a structured study schedule that covers all relevant content areas.

Allocate specific times for each section, focusing on your weaker areas while ensuring a balanced review of all subjects.

Step 4. Focus on Weak Areas

Identify your areas of weakness through practice tests or previous academic performance.

Devote extra study time to these areas to strengthen your knowledge and skills.

Step 5. Utilize Study Guides and Resources

Use reputable study guides, textbooks, and online resources that align with the content covered in the HESI exam.

These materials can provide in-depth explanations and examples.

Step 6. Seek Peer Support or Tutoring

Collaborate with peers, join study groups, or consider seeking tutoring if you find certain topics challenging. Explaining concepts to others can enhance your own understanding.

Step 7. Create a Comfortable Study Environment

Establish a conducive study environment free from distractions. This can enhance focus and retention during your study sessions.

Step 8. Practice Time Management

Practice answering questions within the allotted time for each section.

Effective time management is crucial for completing the entire exam and avoiding unnecessary stress.

Step 9. Get Adequate Rest Before the Test

Ensure you get a good night's sleep before the exam day.

Well-rested individuals tend to perform better cognitively and are better equipped to handle the challenges of a standardized test.

Step 10. Stay Positive and Manage Stress

Maintain a positive mindset and manage test-related stress.

Deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, or other relaxation techniques can be beneficial in keeping stress levels in check.

Remember, consistent and focused preparation is key to improving your HESI passing score.

By incorporating these tips into your study routine, you can increase your confidence and enhance your performance on the exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Scoring a 75 on the HESI indicates a solid performance, demonstrating competency in various subject areas. While not a universal passing score, it often reflects adequate preparation and positions the test-taker well within a competitive range, depending on individual nursing program requirements.

A passing HESI score varies by nursing program. Typically, a percentile of 75% or higher demonstrates competency. However, specific program requirements determine what is considered passing, emphasizing the importance of checking individual nursing program expectations for accurate guidance.

A HESI score of 70 is below average, suggesting room for improvement. While it may meet some program requirements, aiming for higher scores, ideally above 75, is advisable for a more competitive standing in the admissions process and comprehensive readiness for nursing education.

The average HESI A2 score varies by institution and program. However, scoring above 80% is considered better than average.

The average HESI nursing score varies, but competitive programs often expect scores above 75% and even 80%. Programs may have specific criteria, making it essential for candidates to check individual requirements. Aim for a score that aligns with the expectations of your chosen nursing program for a competitive application.

The highest possible HESI score is 100%, representing perfect performance on the exam. Achieving this score demonstrates exceptional mastery of nursing content and critical thinking skills. However, very few individuals attain a perfect score due to the comprehensive nature of the test.

The HESI exam is generally considered a predictor of success on the NCLEX, which is the licensing exam for nurses. While HESI assesses academic readiness, NCLEX evaluates entry-level clinical competency. Both are challenging but serve different purposes in a nursing student's education and licensure journey.

There isn't a direct equivalence between HESI and NCLEX scores. HESI assesses academic readiness, while NCLEX evaluates clinical competence for licensure. However, it has been suggested that a percentile of 90% or higher and a score of 900 or more indicates that you will pass your NCLEX.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to HESI scoring, there is no standardized score. However, you should aim for at least 80% or higher.

To reach this goal, it is essential that you take a strategic approach to preparation, including familiarizing yourself with the test format, regular practice, and focused study on weaker areas to enhance your performance significantly.

The HESI exam is an opportunity to showcase your readiness for the challenges of nursing.

Approach it with confidence, knowing that your dedication and preparation pave the way for a successful and fulfilling journey into the world of healthcare.

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