I dreaded the HESI Exit Exam. DREADED. It was one of the last hurdles I had to jump through to earn my BSN, and my nursing school mandates a minimum score of 900 to pass. I’d heard horror stories of the HESI- students taking three, four attempts to pass, missing the target score by 3 points etc., making me wonder how a 900 was even possible.
Months in advance, I decided to take on the HESI head on. It was a valiant effort- I bought the HESI NCLEX-RN* review book from Amazon, set a goal to do 25 practice questions a night and read a chapter a week. A few weeks later . . . chapter one was still on my ‘to do’ list. At the time of the test, I wasn’t even a quarter of the way through the book, and it had been days since I had done a single review question. I felt unprepared and was in full panic mode- so my 964 score was a massive surprise. How exactly did I pull it off?
Apparently I was more prepared than I thought. I paid attention throughout the year, and actually remembered some of the things the profs said, so instead of relearning concepts I just reviewed them those rare moments I did study.
Who was I kidding when I said I was going to read (and highlight!) that whole review book. From what I got through it seems great, but I don’t have the patience for something like that. So when I wanted to study, I did practice questions- a bunch of great online ones came with the HESI book, and I used my NCLEX RN Mastery Review* app and occasionally the Lipponcott Q&A* book. I found it much easier and productive to run through 50 questions than try to read 5 pages on CHF.
Some HESI hints- what was on the test kind of surprised me, so here are a few tips about what I saw:
If you can, do a quick OB and psych review (especially therapeutic communication)
Know your delegation! That’s a big focus
Always remember to assess before you intervene
If the question specifically asks for an intervention, try the least invasive intervention first (repositioning, for example)
Pay attention to whether the question is positive (the client understands) or negative (an order the nurse would question, for example)
And if you don’t pass, who cares! That first try can be a kick in the butt to get studying, or show you exactly where you need to spend time- no worries!