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The HESI (Health Education Systems Inc.) test is something completely separate from the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination). The NCLEX is an exam you write after you have graduated from your training program. If you pass the exam, you may apply for a nursing license (RN or LPN) from the state where you would like to practice.
The HESI exam is another type of exam altogether. Unlike the NCLEX, it isn't mandatory to take an HESI exam to be licensed, however, you may have to take it as a school and graduation requirement. Like the NCLEX, it is a computerized exam. HESI is becoming a more common exam for people studying to be health care professionals.
There are three types of HESI exams:
Your school may require all three, only one or two, or none of them.
This test is used to judge your abilities in math, reading comprehension, grammar and vocabulary. To pass, you need to answer 80 percent of the questions correctly. Getting less than 80 percent does not mean you cannot go to nursing school, but you would need to upgrade your knowledge and take the assessment test again if your program requires it for admission.
As the name says, this exam is given half-way through the program, when you are a junior. It is a review exam of what you studied up to the exam point. This exam is used to determine if you may continue on in your program or if you need to do make up work.
This exam is given by schools to ensure you are ready to graduate and go on to writing the NCLEX. If you don't pass the first time around, you may repeat it.
Just as with most standardized exams, there are ways to prepare for the HESI tests. For example, although the admission HESI exam tests for basic knowledge, there are books and Websites that focus on the types of questions that you may be asked, such as the Evolve Reach Testing and Remediation Admission Assessment Exam Review, published by Elsevier.
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