Exam Shazam

The Best HESI A2 Study Guides - 2023

Article by Jane Newsom. Last Updated: Saturday, Sep 23, 2023.

Overview Of The HESI A2 Exam

The Health Education Systems, Inc. Admission Assessment Exam (a.k.a HESI A2) tests Nursing program applicants in English, Math, Science, and profiles learning and personality traits. It’s also commonly referred to as the Evolve Reach, Evolve Reach A2, Evolve Reach Heavy exam. There are 7 sections in the full exam, and different schools are able to pick and choose which sections their applicants are required to take.

We’ll cover the exam in detail, and give you our picks for the best HESI A2 study guides, practice tests, and quizlets for test year 2023 below, but if you just can’t wait, here’s the short list:

HESI A2 Exam Details

The HESI A2 Exam is composed of 7 tests falling into 3 broad categories: English, Math, and Science. Nursing schools are allowed to specify which of the 7 tests an applicant must take for their program, and also set the amount of time alloted for each test.

Before registering for the test, you should check with the schools you plan to apply at to figure out which sections they require. Many schools also require a companion test called the HESI Critical Thinking Exam as well.

The full list of tests, recommended time limits, and questions on the HESI A2 are:

Exam Sections


  • Reading Comprehension - 60 Minutes - 55 Questions
  • Vocabulary and General Knowledge - 50 Minutes - 55 Questions
  • Grammar - 50 Minutes - 55 Questions


  • Biology - 25 Minutes - 35 Questions
  • Chemistry - 25 Minutes - 35 Questions
  • Anatomy and Physiology - 25 Minutes - 35 Questions


  • Basic Math Skills - 50 Minutes - 55 Questions

Each test contains 5 questions which are being tested for inclusion on future tests, and don’t count towards your final score. They don’t tell you ahead of time which ones these are, so all questions should be answered to the best of your ability.

There are 2 additional tests which many schools require: Learning Style and Personality Profile. These sections don’t test your knowledge on a particular subject, but try to assess your character traits.

Exam Scoring

As is the case with the test sections, schools are free to set their own scoring guidelines for assessing HESI A2 Exam results. In general, most schools will consider scores roughly as follows:

  • 90% or higher: High likelihood of success in a nursing program.
  • 80-90%: Good likelihood of success in a nursing program.
  • 75-80%: Minimal likelihood of success in a nursing program.
  • 75% or lower: Unlikely to be successful in a nursing program.

The HESI A2 exam is an important factor for evaluating nursing program applicants, but certainly not the only one. Less than stellar scores can be compensated for by other applicant’s merits, but doing as well as possible should be a high priority.

Taking The Exam

The Exam is typically offered at a computer lab of your perspective school. It’s also available at Prometric Test centers nationwide. The website for the Nursing Program you’re applying to should have a section detailing where to take the exam, what the cost will be, and how to register. If not, contact the department and request the information.

Best HESI A2 Study Guides

HESI A2 Study Guide: Spire Study System

HESI A2 Study Guide: Spire Study System
Standard Edition
by Spire Study System

Pros: Extremely comprehensive and covers all relevant test sections.
Cons: Some typographical errors can be distracting.
Our Rating: 5.0 / 5

HESI A2 Study Guide: Spire Study System is our top pick to help you prepare for the HESI A2. There are a lot of high quality books on this list, but if you only plan to grab one, make sure it’s this. The full list of features include:

  • Comprehensive practice questions with detailed answer explanations.
  • A comprehensive guide to professional practice.
  • A thorough review of the HESI A2, guides on english, math, biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology.
  • 5 essential skills necessary to do well on the HESI A2, plus comprehensive reviews covering all of the essential test sections individually.

This is our top choice due to the breadth of information covering all topics included in the test. It has a good number of practice questions that are representative of the questions you’ll face on the actual exam. It also has a good amount of meta information on how to do well on different question types.

HESI A2 Study Guide 2019 & 2020

HESI A2 Study Guide
2022-2023 Edition
by Hesi Study Guides

Pros: Comprehensive review of all major test topics.
Cons: Fair number of errors and typos.
Our Rating: 4.5 / 5

HESI A2 Study Guide 2018 & 2019 is our second choice for students preparing for the HESI A2. It has the same comprehensive list of features as our top pick, but goes slightly less in-depth and contains a few more mistakes and typos. The full list of features include:

  • Practice questions with complete answers and explanations.
  • Overview of all major test sections covered in the exam.
  • Test taking tips and strategies.

While it’s not our first place pick, this book is still a viable resource to prepare you for the exam. Be sure to read and work through practice test questions with an eye for the possibility that the answer key does contain some errors. While we don’t believe minor answer key errors are a big deal (on the contrary they can force you to think more critically and be sure of your answer), if you find this to be a big deal you might want to skip this in favor of another one on this list.

HESI A2 Test Study Guide

HESI A2 Test Study Guide
2018 - Standard Edition
by Trivium Test Prep

Pros: Strong material presented in an organized fashion.
Cons: Some typographical and answer key errors.
Our Rating: 4.5 / 5

The Trivium HESI A2 Test Study Guide is another strong entry for best HESI A2 study guide. As with other guides on the list, the contents are strong and cover all relevant exam topics. Features include:

  • A detailed overview of what you need to know for the HESI exam.
  • Coverage of all the subjects over which you will be tested.
  • Practice questions for you to practice and improve.
  • Test tips and strategies to help you score higher.

Also like other entries on this list, this guide does contain some errors both typographical and in answer keys. Other than that drawback, this book does a good job of introducing students to the test. It’s particularly useful for prospective students who have been out of school for some time.

HESI A2 Practice Tests

HESI A2 Practice Tests
2016 - 2017 Edition
by Trivium Test Prep

Pros: Tons of great practice questions to help you prepare.
Cons: Not an in-depth guide for students who need more thorough review.
Our Rating: 4.5 / 5

Unlike the other entries on this list, HESI A2 Practice Tests is not a comprehensive study guide, but a collection of practice questions. The questions cover all of the major topics in the exam, and do a good job of representing what you’re likely to encounter on the actual test. Features include:

  • Over 350 practice questions covering all major exam topics.
  • Quick but comprehensive review of important concepts.
  • Valuable resource from a proven test preparation company.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth and broad review of the material you need to know, you may be better off with another guide on this list. This book is absolutely fantastic as a compliment to the more in-depth guides, or for students who just want a quick review leading up to the exam date.

Best HESI A2 Flashcards

In addition to the excellent books mentioned above, prospective nursing students will see significant benefits in prepping for the exam using flashcards. Our top picks for Best HESI A2 Flashcards are outlined below.

HESI A2 Flashcard Study System

HESI A2 Flashcard Study System
1st Edition
by Mometrix Test Prep

Pros: Comprehensive list of terms covering major exam topics.
Cons: Cards are relatively dense and contain a lot of info.
Our Rating: 4.5 / 5

HESI A2 Flashcard Study System is our top pick for flashcards to help you prepare for the exam. It has over 350 cards containing significant amounts of information across all test topics. Key features include:

  • Over 350 flashcards.
  • Covers all major topics and themes covered by the exam.

Flashcards have a tremendous benefit for students who elect to use them in their test preparation. Repetitive drilling on major topics is a good way to help in the days leading up to the exam. If you plan to pick up flashcards to help in your studies, these are your best bet!

HESI A2 Flash Cards

HESI A2 Flash Cards
1st Edition
by Trivium Test Prep

Pros: Comprehensive list of terms covering major exam topics.
Cons: Book format, not actually cards..
Our Rating: 4.0 / 5

HESI A2 Flashcards are somewhat misleadingly named, since this is actually a book and not traditional flashcards. This fact may be unappealing to some, but if you can get past the format, they’re a good resource for preparing yourself for the test. Key features include:

  • Over 500 flashcards.
  • Covers all major topics and themes covered by the exam.

Flashcards aren’t a strict requirement for students planning to take the exam, but they can definitely be helpful if you enjoy using them. While this title isn’t a traditional set of cards, it has the same great information presented in a way that helps you memorize and drill on important topics.

Wrapping Up

For prospective nursing students, the HESI A2 is one of the most important exams you need to prepare for. Study guides, flashcards, and practice tests are a huge help to many people, and if you’ve read this far you’re probably one of them.

We’ve rounded up the top HESI A2 guidebooks and flashcards and presented them above. To recap our recommendations:

Top Study Guide RecommendationHESI A2 Secrets Study Guide (Mometrix)
Top Flashcard RecommendationHESI A2 Flashcard Study System (Mometrix)

The offerings from Mometrix take top place in both the Study Guide and Flashcard categories for HESI A2 exam prep. Both of these resources are comprehensive, and cover all of the major topics you’ll encounter on the test. They are both laid out in intuitive ways, and do a fantastic job conveying the information you need to succeed.

Whatever your circumstance, supplemental study and review materials are a key part of ensuring success on the exam. We’ve listed some of the best HESI A2 resources available. Good luck, and study hard!

Sources and Further Reading

Related Posts

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.