The HESI A2 test is used for nursing schools to screen applicants for admission into nursing programs. Also known as the Evolve Reach Admission Assessment, the HESI A2 is a multiple-choice test with five scored exam topics and one unscored personality assessment. Test-takers are allowed a maximum of five hours and fifteen minutes to complete the exam.

What Subjects are on the HESI A2 Exam?

So, with that time limit are you wondering what is on the HESI A2 test? Here’s a breakdown of the HESI A2 examination subjects and what to know for each.

English Language

The English Language section has 55 test items (50 scored and 5 pilot/unscored). It’s broken down into three sub-sections: Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary and General Knowledge, and Grammar.

Reading Comprehension

This sub-section provides reading scenarios in order to measure reading comprehension, identifying the main idea, finding the meaning of words in context, passage comprehension, making logical inferences, etc. There are a lot of thematic questions involved in the reading comprehension section of the HESI A2. You’ll read a passage and the exam will ask you (in a variety of ways) if you understand the point. There will usually be around eight questions per passage. Here are some examples of thematic questions:

  • What is the author trying to imply with the last sentence in the third paragraph?
  • What can be inferred from this passage?
  • What is the author’s motivation for writing this passage?
  • What does the underlined word in the second paragraph mean?
  • What is the author trying to say in sentence seven?

Need some reading comprehension help? Check out this blog to ace this section on the HESI.

Vocabulary and General Knowledge

This sub-section contains vocabulary terms that are commonly used in both general English-speaking settings and in health care fields. You’ll pretty much be able to get through this section with context clues; however, if you’re not a natural vocabulary whiz, check out the most commonly asked vocabulary terms below.

Definition Word
Sudden abrupt
To voluntarily refrain from something. abstain
A means to obtain entry or a means of approach access
Responsible accountable
To hold fast or stick together adhere
Undesired, possibly harmful adverse
Appearance of observable emotion affect
Occurring every year annual
To place, put on, or spread something apply
Able to be heard audible
Present on two sides bilateral
Hard protective device applied to protect a broken bone cast
Come to an end cease
Off setting or making up for something compensatory
An undesired problem that is the result of some other even complication
Do as directed comply
Rounded inward concave
Brief, to the point concise
Degree of viscosity; how thick or think a fluid is consistency
To draw together or become smaller constrict
Dependent (on) contingent
Shape or outline of a shape contour
To draw together; reduce in size contract
Reason why something is not advisable or why it should not be done contraindication
Expel feces defecate
A deficiency or lack of something deficit
Press downward depress
Downward measurement from a surface depth
Worsening deteriorating
Tool or piece of equipment device
The distance across the center of an object diameter
To enlarge or expand dilate
To make a liquid less concentrated dilute
Distinct; separate discrete
Enlarged or expanded from pressure distended
To lift up or place in a higher position elevate
Produced within the body endogenous
To make worse or more severe exacerbate
More than what is needed or usual excess
Produced outside the body exogenous
To increase in size or amount expand
Contact exposure
Located outside the body external
Resulting in death fatal
Extreme tiredness, exhaustion fatigue
Limp, lacking tone flaccid
Reddened or ruddy appearance flushed
Wide open gaping
Sex of an individual (male or female) gender
Maintenance of body fluid balance hydration
Measures contributing to cleanliness & good health hygiene
Diminished or lacking some usual quality or level impaired
Likely to occur soon impending
Occurrence incidence
Reddened, swollen, warm & tender inflamed
To swallow for digestion ingest
To begin or put into place initiate
So gradual as to not become apparent for a long time insidious
In place, unharmed intact
Located within the body internal
Inserting/entering into a body part invasive
Changing rapidly & often labile
Present, but not active or visible latent
Difficult to arouse lethargic
An indication or sign of a condition manifestation
Substance or ingredient that provides nourishment nutrient
Closed or obstructed occluded
Significantly important & dangerous ominous
Continuous ongoing
Given through or affecting the mouth oral
Obvious, easily observed overt
A characteristic or constant factor parameter
Beginning suddenly or abruptly paroxysmal
Open patent
Producing a strong effect potent
Capable of occurring or likely to occur potential
Preventative measure precaution
Rapid, uncontrolled precipitous
To make more susceptible or more likely to occur predispose
Already present preexisting
First or most significant primary
Of great importance priority
The anticipated or expected course or outcome prognosis
The underlying reason rationale
To occur again recur
To limit restrict
To hold or keep retain
Location site
Condition status
Stringent, exact, complete strict
To take in addition to or to complete supplement
To stop or subdue suppress
Being equal or the same size, shape and relative position symmetric
An indication of a problem symptom
Adverse or negative untoward
To excrete, expel urine urinate
Spoken, using words verbal
Essential vital
Excrete, expel urine void
Amount of space occupied by a fluid volume


This sub-section contains basic grammar, including parts of speech, important terms and their uses, commonly occurring grammatical errors, etc. The test focuses a lot on questions like “Fill in the blank of the following sentence to make it most grammatically correct.” There are also questions that list multiple sentences and ask “Which of the following is incorrect?” This means that you need to know basic vocabulary and grammar rules; however, you should be able to use context clues to answer most questions accurately.

Check out our related blogs for 10 keys to passing the HESI A2 grammar section or some more tips on how to pass.

Is Math on the HESI A2 Exam?

The Math section has 55 test items (50 scored and 5 pilot/unscored) and has only one section: Basic Math Skills.

Basic Math Skills

This sub-section focuses on math skills needed for health care fields, including basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, decimals, ratio and proportion, household measures, general math facts, etc. Fortunately, you will be able to use a computer calculator on the HESI A2 test. You should know conversions, fractions, decimals, and word problems.

  • Fractions: You will need to understand fractions. This includes how to add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators and mixed numbers. If you can reduce fractions and find the common denominator, you will be fine with the HESI A2 fraction questions.
  • Word Questions: There are several word questions that are pretty basic with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  • Proportions: You must be able to find the value of X from a proportion and be able to make a proportion to find a percent. (Example: 47% of the class is female and the total number of students is 54. How many students are male?)
  • Conversions: There are basic conversions like liters to milliliters, ounces to cups, gallons to cups, kilograms to pounds, milliliters to ounces, etc.
  • Roman Numerals: Brush up on roman numerals (basic). There will be a few questions asking you to identify a roman numeral as a number. Below is a handy roman numerals table to learn from.

For more HESI A2 math help, check out our blog for 6 key topics to Pass the HESI A2 math section.

Person wearing hairnet looking through a microscope.


The Science section has 30 test items (25 scored and 5 pilot/unscored). It’s broken down into three sub-sections: Biology, Chemistry, and Anatomy and Physiology.


The biology sub-section covers biology basics, water, biological molecules, metabolism, cells, cellular respiration, photosynthesis, etc. Here’s some more information on the HESI A2 biology section.


The chemistry sub-section contains test items that cover matter, chemical equations and reactions, the periodic table, atomic structure, nuclear chemistry, chemical bonding, etc. Here’s some more information on the HESI A2 chemistry section.

Anatomy and Physiology

The most difficult section of the HESI A2 is A&P. This sub-section provides coverage of general terminology and anatomical structures and systems.

  • Basic heart anatomy: Atriums and layers of the heart.
  • Circulatory system: Major arteries and veins.
  • Endocrine system: What glands secrete what hormones. What specific hormones do. How specific glands are regulated.
  • Joints: Know the basic joints of the body.
  • Muscles: There are a few basic muscle anatomy questions that may ask where a specific muscle is located.
  • Skeletal system: Know what bone is where and the four basic types of bones. Know what specific types of bone marrow do.
  • Nervous system: Know the sections of the brain and the cranial nerves. Understand the ear and eye anatomy. Know each organ in the nervous system and what they do.
  • Cell organelles: Know the organelles of the cell and what they do.

Here’s a complete breakdown of the HESI A2 Anatomy and Physiology subjects. Looking for some A&P practice questions? Check out 10 sample questions here.

Related Questions

How long is the hesi exam?

The HESI exam, a common requirement for nursing school admissions, typically takes approximately 4-5 hours to complete. This duration can vary based on the specific test and school’s requirements, but the HESI A2 exam, which includes sections like Math, Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, Grammar, Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, generally fits within this timeframe.