HESI A2 English Practice Test

The Health Education Systems, Inc. Admission Assessment (HESI A2) English Test consists of subsections for Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary and General Knowledge, and Grammar. Below you will find additional information and sample questions for each English subsection.

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Reading Comprehension

This subsection of the test includes 47 questions that require you to demonstrate your comprehension of short passages of reading and sentences, including your ability to identify main ideas, word meanings, context, and logical inferences. Below are a few sample questions.

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Main Ideas, Supporting Details, Context, and Word Meaning

    1. Identify the main idea and supporting details in the following passage
      • Most dogs were originally bred for specific purposes to help humans. For example, terriers’ original jobs included digging into animals’ holes to retrieve them for hunters and catching vermin.

In the previous passage, the main idea is that dogs were originally bred to help humans. Supporting details, or facts used to support the main idea, include the description of terriers’ original duties.

  1. Read the short passage and answer the following questions
    • Sally and Jim just took an algebra exam. After the exam, an exasperated Jim told Sally, “That test was brutal!” Sally replied, “Actually, I thought it was a piece of cake.”
      1. Is Jim’s use of brutal denotative or connotative?
      2. How is Sally using the term “piece of cake”?

Jim is using the connotative, or emotional, meaning of brutal to describe the math exam. The denotation of brutal is something that is extremely cruel or violent. Rather than suggesting the test was extremely cruel or violent, Jim is using brutal to express his opinion about the difficulty of the test. Sally, on the other hand, is using a metaphor, which would be the opposite of brutal in the context of this passage.

  1. Choose the correct word to fill in the blank:
      • Apple is to ____ as chair is to furniture
  2. True or False: fair is an antonym for unjust

The first question is an analogy in which you must find the most appropriate word given the context of the question and the relationships between the words provided. The correct answer would be fruit, because an apple is a kind of fruit, just as a chair is a kind of furniture. The second question asks that you understand synonyms and antonyms. In this case, the answer is True because unjust is the opposite, or antonym, of fair.

Purpose and Tone

You will also be asked to demonstrate your understanding of purpose, tone, position, bias, and motivation. Here, you will read short passages and identify the authors’ tone, purpose, and position. For example:

  1. Reading Dostoyevsky can be an illuminating experience. There is virtually no author like him in the modern world; no author who can captivate readers in the way he did in such seminal works as Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. The man was truly a literary genius.
    • What does the author’s purpose appear to be?
    • What does the author’s tone tell us about his position?

The author’s purpose appears to be extolling the virtues of Dostoyevsky as a writer. The author’s tone is reverent. In terms of the author’s position, you can see that the author is taking a firm stance that Dostoyevsky was a “literary genius,” which also demonstrates the author’s biased opinion.

Facts, Opinions, and Logical Inferences

Questions related to facts, opinions, and logical inferences will require that you engage in critical thinking. This means you must be able to identify facts and opinions, as well as make logical inferences. Answer the questions below regarding the following passage of reading:

  1. Reading Dostoyevsky can be an illuminating experience. There is virtually no author like him in the modern world; no author who can captivate readers in the way he did in such seminal works as Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. The man was truly a literary genius.
    • Where are the facts in the passage regarding Dostoyevsky?
    • What logical inference can you make regarding the author’s motivation for writing the passage?

The names of Dostoyevsky’s books, Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, are the only facts. You can infer that the author wrote the passage to convince readers that Dostoyevsky was a literary genius whose works stand above the works of other authors. You can make this inference given the author’s stated opinions and tone.

Vocabulary and General Knowledge

This subsection consists of 50 questions that will require you to demonstrate your verbal ability, including etymology, verbal ability, and important nursing and health care-specific words and terms. Below are a couple sample questions.

  1. Define adverse
  2. Define endogenous

The first answer is: “may cause harm; or something in opposition to one’s interests.” Remember, context is important, so look for the answer that best fits within a health care context. The second answer is: “referring to conditions that occur owing to internal factors in an organism; the opposite of exogenous.”


This subsection consists of 50 questions and covers basic grammar. You will face questions related to noun types, pronouns, verbs, passive/active voice, verb tenses, as well as adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and other grammatical concepts.

Word Pairs and Common Mistakes

Some questions in the grammar subsection of the test will be related to clauses, word pairing, and common grammatical mistakes. For example:

  1. Read the following sentences and determine which sentence includes only an independent clause and which includes a dependent clause
    1. Jim went walking in the park
    2. Jim went walking because he needs to lose weight

The first sentence contains only an independent clause. Jim is the subject and went walking is the verb. This statement can stand on its own. The second sentence contains a dependent clause: because he needs to lose weight. This clause cannot stand on its own and needs the independent clause, Jim went walking.

    1. Read the following sentences and identify the correct missing words
      1. Dostoyevsky is the man___ wrote Crime and Punishment
      2. I asked to ___ the package had been delivered

Word pairs are words that have similar meanings and uses and can be easily confused. In the first question, the answer is who. Sometimes, people will use that instead of who, but who should be used when discussing a person. The second answer is whom, which is only used in the objective case (when the pronoun is the object and not the subject), rather than the nominative case (referring to the subject).

    1. Read the following sentences and determine which sentence is a run-on
      1. John and I took a trip to Paris it was a really good experience.
      2. Betsy and Phil went to Italy, and they had a lot of fun.

The first sentence is a run-on sentence. It should read: John and I took a trip to Paris. It was a really good experience. Or, alternatively: John and I took a trip to Paris, and it was a really good experience. The sample sentence contains two clauses that run together. It is missing punctuation, or punctuation and a transition word.

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Test Preparation

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The HESI A2 Secrets study guide was developed by Mometrix’s standardized test researchers, who have discovered the secrets of the HESI A2; including real exam content in the HESI A2 Practice Test. Mometrix also offers the HESI A2 Flashcards, which includes even more HESI A2 Practice Test questions. Read the HESI A2 Secrets study guide, then assess your knowledge with the HESI A2 Flashcards and Practice Test, and pass the HESI A2 on your first try.

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: June 22, 2022