HESI A2 English Study Guide
HESI A2 English Review
There are three different tests that make up the English and language arts portion of the HESI A2 exam. They are: Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary and General Knowledge, and Grammar. We’ll discuss each section in depth to give you a better idea of how to prepare for the exam.
HESI A2 Reading Comprehension Review
Reading Comprehension is part of the HESI A2 because reading skills are essential to success as a nurse. If you’re planning to attend nursing school, you should be aware that you’re going to be doing quite a lot of reading. You may have heard that getting a college degree involves a lot more reading than earning a high school diploma does, and that’s true, but that’s not the entire story. While all college degrees require a lot of reading, some majors require a lot more reading than do others, and nursing is a very reading-intensive major. Once you’re in nursing school, there will be days when it seems you do nothing but read and go to class. We offer HESI A2 Reading Comprehension practice questions to aid you in achieving the best possible results on your exam.
Of course, once you’ve graduated from nursing school and you’re working in a hospital, doctor’s office, or other medical environment, you will still have quite a bit of reading to do on a regular basis. You’ll need to stay abreast of changes in nursing and other healthcare fields, and you’ll also have ongoing continuing education requirements to fulfill in order to maintain your license and certifications. It should go without saying that much of the reading you’ll be doing in relation to nursing will be of a scientific and academic nature, and will require excellent comprehension skills if you’re going to digest and retain it. This section of the HESI A2 will make sure you have the reading comprehension abilities that are foundational to acquiring a nursing education.
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What’s on the HESI A2 Reading Comprehension Section?
On this section of the exam, you’ll have 55 multiple-choice questions, and a recommended time limit of 60 minutes, although each school is free to set its own time limit. Most schools, though, will probably stick with 60 minutes. Five of the questions won’t count, because they’re being used for test development purposes, but you will have no idea which questions these are, so treat each one as if it counts.
Overall, the questions in this section of the HESI will test your abilities to read and understand written text. Of course, there are a lot of different elements that go into reading and understanding written passages. One element is vocabulary – how many words you know the meanings of, and how to figure out the meaning of an unknown word when you come across it, by using context clues, or the structure of the word itself (e.g., roots, prefixes, suffixes, similarity to other words you know, etc.) It’s true that there is a separate HESI Vocabulary section, but being able to discern word meanings is an important part of reading comprehension, so you will certainly see some vocabulary questions in this section, too.
Being able to identify themes in written text is also important, and themes are usually expressed indirectly, so your abilities to make inferences and draw logical conclusions will come into play here, as they will in other parts of the HESI Reading Comprehension section. You’ll also need to be able to quickly identify those sentences in which the author states the topic and draws her conclusion. Every written passage you’ll deal with will have a main idea the author is attempting to express, and you should expect to be tested on your ability to identify this main idea, or main point, of a passage.
You should also understand several other elements of written passages, such as what kind of passage it is. Some will be technical or expository, and the purpose will be to explain something. Other passages will simply be telling a story, which are narrative passages. Other passages will be persuasive, and the author will be trying to convince the reader of something. Naturally, there can be elements of each of these in a single text, but you should be able to state with a certainty what kind of passage it is overall.
How the passage is structured is another common question area. Is the author stating a problem and then suggesting a solution? Problem/solution is one common writing structure. Another one is compare and contrast, where an author talks about two or more things and then expands on the ways in which they’re similar, and the ways in which they differ. Another common structure is cause and effect, where the author explains why something happened, or details what the effects will be of a proposed action or event. There is also the descriptive structure, where the emphasis is on describing one or more things. Again, there will often be some overlap, but to do well on the Reading Comprehension portion of the HESI, you’ll need to be able to quickly and accurately determine the overarching structure of a written passage.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the kinds of questions you’ll encounter on the HESI A2 Reading Comprehension test, but it’s a good foundational guide to many of the different areas you’ll want to focus on in your HESI test prep.
HESI A2 Vocabulary and General Knowledge Review
Another language arts section of the HESI A2 that many nursing applicants will be required to take is the Vocabulary and General Knowledge exam. This section contains 55 multiple choice items, and Elsevier recommends that schools set a 50 minute time limit for this portion of the HESI, but schools are free to use a different time limit. You should make it a point to verify the time limit with your school before you take the test. Like the other two sections, Vocabulary also contains five questions which won’t count toward your score because they’re being used for research and development purposes.
What’s On the HESI A2 Vocabulary and General Knowledge Test?
The HESI A2 Vocabulary test is pretty straightforward – it’s mainly used to determine how large of a vocabulary you have, and also to measure your ability to determine the meaning of words you haven’t encountered previously. This involves interpreting an unfamiliar word by using context clues, or the elements of the word itself. Much of the reading you’ll be doing in nursing school will be on topics you’ve never read much about before, and strong vocabulary skills will be needed to be successful. The test will cover words the average person uses every day, along with more advanced words most people don’t use on a regular basis. It’s very important to note that the Vocabulary portion of the HESI will also cover some medical terminology. Medical terms comprise one area where you can gain a real advantage by memorizing several word roots, along with prefixes and suffixes, which will often be enough to make the meaning of a medical word clear, even if you’ve never seen it before.
HESI A2 Grammar Review
Grammar is the final test in the English and language arts portion of the HESI. Being skilled in reading and understanding written passages is very important to success in nursing school, and so is having a large and wide-ranging vocabulary. However, these aren’t enough by themselves. It’s also very important to have a strong grasp of grammar, which is basically the set of rules that govern how to use a language. Of course, there are a lot of different rules that govern how to use English, and many of them are very complicated.
Like the other two exams, it also has 55 questions (five of which don’t count). The recommended time limit for Grammar is 50 minutes, but you’ll want to check with your school to find out the actual time limit you’ll be up against. Many people who have taken all of the sections report that they found the Grammar test to be the most difficult of the three exams in the English portion of the HESI.
What’s On the HESI A2 Grammar Test?
One of the foundations of good grammar skills is knowing the parts of speech. You’ll need to understand how to use nouns, adjectives, prepositions, pronouns, articles, and adverbs (and their derivatives, such as gerund phrases), and which of these functions a word or phrase is representing in a sentence. You’ll also need to be able to quickly identify the main parts of a sentence (subject, verb, object). Making sure that pronouns match their antecedent noun is important, as is subject/verb agreement. Knowing how to correctly use possessives is also something you will be expected to know on this portion of the HESI. You will also be tested on punctuation, so know when to you use dashes, colons, semi-colons, quotation marks, etc., in addition to periods and question marks.
The English portion of the HESI A2 may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With regular and systematic review, you should be able to make a good score on this important test. Take advantage of the free HESI review course above to assist you. This can help you do your very best.