HESI A2 Math Study Guide
HESI A2 Basic Math Skills Review
Not all nursing programs require applicants to take the Basic Math Skills portion of the HESI exam, but most do. That’s because possessing good math skills is extremely important for anyone who hopes to work in any area of health care, including nursing. Nurses use math every day they’re on the job, and throughout the entire work day. Of course, it’s obvious that a nurse needs to know how to perform the rudimentary math functions of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. What isn’t so obvious are the many other ways math skills are critical in nursing.
For example, if you’re a nurse, being able to understand the metric system is vital, as is being able to quickly convert metric measurements to the English system of measurements. Being able to quickly and accurately calculate important numbers such as ovulation dates, body mass index, or glycemic index will also be important. When administering an IV drip manually, it’s critical that the nurse be able to know exactly how many drops to administer and at what rate. Drug titration is another area where math skills are crucial, as the dosage must be constantly monitored and adjusted based on various factors. Of course, since math plays such an important role in nursing, it follows that it’s also going to play a large role in a nursing education. Nursing schools use the HESI A2 Basic Math exam to measure your knowledge and aptitudes in this area, so your score on this part of the HESI can be a decisive factor in whether your nursing school application is accepted. To ensure that you do well on the math portion, we offer HESI A2 Math practice questions to give you a preview of the types of questions you may encounter.
What’s on the HESI A2 Basic Math Skills Test?
The exam consists of 55 questions. Five of these questions will only be on the test as part of research and development for possible permanent inclusion on newer versions of the HESI, and your answers on these questions won’t count toward your score. There will be no way of knowing which questions are which, however, so do your best on each one. Elsevier, the test developer, recommends a time limit of 50 minutes for the HESI Math. Most nursing schools stick with that recommendation, but some don’t, so make sure you verify the time limit before test day. You are not allowed to bring a calculator into the testing room, but you will be provided with one you can use if you need to.
As the name of the section makes clear, the questions cover a wide range of basic math topics. Don’t worry about advanced math material such as calculus, algebra, trigonometry, etc. Those topics won’t come up. Once you’re in nursing school, you may have some advanced math classes, but for the HESI A2 you won’t need to know the higher level subjects.
Here are many of the topics you can expect to see on the HESI Math exam:
Working with whole numbers – the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, etc.
Fractions – how to form them, how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide them (even when their denominators aren’t the same), how to express them as percentages, how to convert them into decimals, mixed fractions, etc.
Percentages – how to derive percentages, what they mean, how to convert them into fractions, how to express them as decimals, how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide with them, etc.
Decimals – what numbers in decimal form represent, how to read them, how to determine the proper placement of the decimal point, how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals, how to convert them into fractions, how to express them as percentages, etc.
Ratios and proportions – you’ll need to understand what these are, how they relate to each other, and how to solve problems that ask you to derive one or the other, etc.
General math skills – you’ll see questions about everyday skills like balancing a checkbook, reading a label on a medicine bottle for the correct dose, common measurements such as quarts, pounds, ounces, gallons, pints, and how they relate to each other, etc.
Many people develop anxiety over the HESI A2 Basic Math Skills exam. This is understandable, because the stakes are high, and a poor score can be devastating. However, you shouldn’t panic, because with proper preparation and regular review you should be able to achieve a high score on the Math part of the HESI. Use the free HESI Basic Math videos here on Mometrix Academy to review and prepare so you’re completely ready for the test. You’ll find the links at the top of this page.