The HESI A2 stands for the Health Education Systems, Inc. Admission Assessment.
This test is a standard predictor for educational success in the healthcare industry.
But if you are just starting your nursing school journey, you may not realize that HESI is actually an entire family of exams - one of which is an exit exam.
This test relates to how well you are expected to do on your NCLEX, and it comes with some confusing scoring known as the conversion score. Let's look at the conversion score and take out the mystery.
Summary of the Key Findings
- The HESI exit exam is a test commonly used by nursing programs to judge graduating students on their likelihood of passing the NCLEX.
- A test taker’s raw score is changed into a conversion score based on question difficulty using weighting criteria.
- Schools may use raw or conversion scores in any way they choose as part of their processes, but the conversion score relates to your likelihood of passing the NCLEX.
How is the HESI Exam Scored?
The Health Education Systems, Inc. exit exam is scored on a percentage system. The highest HESI score students can get is 100%.
The HESI exam results contain a percentage score for each subtest taken and a cumulative score - the average score of all the subtests.
There is no set passing or required score that applies to all test-takers. Each school determines its own HESI score requirements.
Individuals preparing to take the HESI need to check the admission guidelines for the postsecondary institution they are applying to.
The HESI exit exam is scored in two ways. First, they convert the results of the ten subject tests into a percentage representing the number of questions answered correctly. Each subject test is scored on a scale of 0-100%.
For example, if you answered 40 out of 50 questions correctly in one section, your raw score would be 80%. The “conversion score” is calculated based on the raw score.
What is the HESI Conversion Score?
The conversion score is an adjustment to each raw score, and they grade it on a scale of 0-1000.
The writers of the HESI recognize that some questions on the test are more difficult than others.
As such, they adjust each raw score based on the difficulty of the question.
This weighted scoring means that answering a hard question correctly will add more points to the conversion score than answering an easy question correctly.
“Every nurse was drawn to nursing because of a desire to care, to serve, or to help.” — Christina Feist-Heilmeier, RN
However, since only the writers of the HESI know which questions are difficult and which are easy, it is not possible for a test-taker to directly change a raw score to a conversion score.
Since no one but the HESI staff knows how the questions are weighted, there can be discrepancies between raw and conversion scores.
For example, one person could get a 78% raw score with a conversion score of 905. Another could get a raw score of 83% but a conversion score of 803.
It would mean that the student who had the higher raw score had simpler questions on their test than the student with the lower raw score.
What's a Good HESI Score?
While many institutions have their own range of acceptable scores, certain guidelines are typically followed.
When you get to the conversion scores, many schools look at them this way:
- >950 – Outstanding probability of passing
- 900-940 – Excellent probability of passing
- 850-899 – Average probability of passing
- 800-849 – Below average probability of passing
- 750-799 – Additional preparation required
- 700-749 – Serious preparation required
- 650-699 – Grave danger of poor performance
- <649 – Poor performance anticipated
Each school will have a different score requirement to recommend you for the NCLEX, but most seem to require at least an 850 and some as high as 900.
Make sure you understand what your school requires with regard to the HESI exit exam.
Related: The HESI Registration Process
What HESI Subtests Factor into the Score?
The HESI exit exam covers many of the same topics as the NCLEX. You will be tested on nursing processes, patient needs, and specialty areas.
Under each of those categories, there are specific areas that are looked at:
- Safe/Effective Environment
- Management of Care
- Safety and Infection Control
- Health Promotion and Maintenance
- Psychosocial Integrity
- Physiological Integrity
- Basic Care and Comfort
- Pharmaceutical and Parenteral Treatment
- Reduce Risk Potential
- Physiological Adaptation
- Community Health
- Critical Care
- Professional Issues
- Psychiatric/Mental Health
You should strive to learn all about these topics since they will also be part of your licensing exam.
HESI Score Conversion: Final Thoughts
The HESI exit exam is a vital part of the nursing process.
It is a measure of academic and practical readiness for individuals pursuing careers in the medical field.
Once you get your raw score, you should understand that it will be changed to a conversion score.
Each school has a different approach to using raw and conversion scores, so it is up to you to find out what your school will do.
Work hard and strive to do your best on the HESI exit exam.