5 Best HESI A2 Test Prep Books (2021-2022)

The Best Books to Prepare for the HESI Exam

If you’re going through nursing school (or looking to enroll), the HESI tests are probably already on your radar. The HESI is a wall that you may need to surmount multiple times during your schooling, depending on how far you would like to go with your degree.

Fortunately, there are many different types of HESI books out there, so there are plenty of good options to help you study, no matter which kind of HESI test you’ll be taking. We’ll show you a few of these exam study books in the sections below.

Do keep in mind that the study guides we include below all have to do with the A2 Exam, or the HESI entrance exam.

Top 5 HESI Prep Books

1. Admission Assessment Exam Review, 5th Edition

Publisher: Elsevier

Year: 2020 (5th Edition)

Number of Pages: 170

ExamCave Grade: A-

The makers of the HESI – Elsevier Evolve – create this exam review textbook, so you know the study guide will be an accurate representation of what’s on the test.

Overall, this is an excellent exam review book. The most significant benefit of this book is that, since the makers of the HESI created it, it’s the best possible book to prepare you for the actual exam from a knowledge standpoint.

The subject areas covered by the book are accurate overall except for the A&P (Anatomy and Physiology) section. While it’s a good idea to supplement your knowledge with several resources anyway, we recommend doing a little extra outside research for this subject.

In particular, the math section of this book is solid. It comes with full, detailed explanations and answers to the sample questions.

In addition to sample questions and illustrations, this study guide also has the following notable features:

  • A companion site with two online practice exams
  • 25-question pre-test for before you get started
  • 50-question post-test to review once you finish


  • Comes with a wealth of practice questions and exams
  • Made by the makers of the HESI test
  • Has a solid math section


  • Weak A&P section
  • Expensive

2. HESI A2 Secrets Study Guide: HESI A2 Test Review for the Health Education Systems, Inc. Admission Assessment Exam

Publisher: Mometrix Media LLC

Year: 2016

Number of Pages: 323

ExamCave Grade: A-

This guide is unique in that it helps you “get inside” your test questions, helping you figure them out from multiple angles.

The creators of this guide promise that their techniques can teach you how to apply the knowledge you learn while studying and have a better chance of picking the right answer when you don’t know what it is.

While this is a great skill to have, the most crucial advantage that comes with this book is their accessible email helpline. If you need a detailed answer to a question, all you need to do is type it up in an email, and someone on the other end will help walk you through what you did wrong.

This test also provides access to online videos to help you deepen your knowledge even further. You can also request to receive a physical DVD. However, this book doesn’t come with any online practice tests, unlike the previous book.

Overall, this is an excellent guide covering all topics well, though it seems to have more than necessary on some items. This is an excellent primary resource for your studies.


  • Strong in all topics
  • Online video resources (and DVD by request)
  • Teaches you how to “get inside” your test questions


  • Online resources must be purchased separately

3. HESI A2 Study Guide 2020 & 2021: HESI Study Guide Admission Assessment Exam Review 4th Edition & Practice Test Questions

Publisher: APEX Test Prep

Year: 2019

Number of Pages: 233

ExamCave Grade: B+

This book emphasizes detailed answers and explanations to help you understand the material and get you fully prepared for the HESI test.

While the last textbook we looked at focused more on test accuracy and thoroughness, this book instead emphasizes readability and accessibility. This makes it an excellent option for those searching for a book that’s a bit easier to understand.

However, while this book advertises thorough, detailed answers to help you prepare yourself for the exam, it does better in some sections than others. The grammar section, for example, is complete and easy to understand, but the math section falls a bit short.

There are even some incorrect equations in the math section (and accompanying false explanations), so those who purchase this book may want to look for any known mistakes online and mark them in the book before they get started.

This book also includes a bonus DVD of extra content for those looking for a little extra help. It’s unclear why they would mail a physical copy of a DVD to customers instead of providing an online resource, but the additional content is helpful to have nonetheless.

This book could use a few more practice questions to help students prepare for the A2 test, but overall, it seems to do its job well.


  • Strong grammar, reading, and vocabulary sections
  • Detailed answers to each question
  • Affordably priced


  • Weak math section with some incorrect equations
  • Could use more practice questions

4. HESI A2 Study Guide 2021-2022: HESI Admission Assessment Exam Review 2020 and 2021 with Practice Test Questions

Publisher: Test Prep Books

Year: 2021

Number of Pages: 266

ExamCave Grade: B+

This guide comes complete with test-taking strategies, plenty of practice questions, and explanations of correct answers.

This book has all of the features of the books we’ve looked at so far, but their particular takeaway is the emphasis of effective test-taking strategies. However, the question is whether this guide does these things well enough to warrant buying it over the others.

Overall, this book does the job. It stands out from the other books in this lineup because, rather than merely preparing you for the questions that will be on the exam, this resource is designed to be much harder than the exam itself.

This way, not only will you be prepared for the questions you cover in this guide, but you’re also more likely to be ready for any questions you don’t see in this guide. After all, it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

However, this also means that this textbook might be more difficult for some people to follow. If the book we looked at above is designed to be easy to understand, this one is designed to challenge and test you.

As such, this is a great resource to use if you’re already feeling confident in your ability to take the test (or absorb and understand basic concepts), but it may be too much if you’re just getting started and feeling a little rusty.


  • More difficult than the test itself
  • Strong across all categories
  • Covers many helpful test-taking strategies


  • May cover too much
  • Difficult to understand at times

5. Admission Assessment Exam Review, 5th Edition

Publisher: Elsevier

Year: 2020

Number of Pages: 170

ExamCave Grade: C

This is the brand-new 2020 version of Elsevier’s HESI study guide, but it doesn’t seem like it’s ready for students to use just yet, so it loses a few letter grades in our book. Since this is the newer version of the book, it’s much more likely to contain relevant content to your exam.

However, at the time of this review, half of the helpful functionality of this book is lost without the online practice tests that are supposed to come with it. It seems strange that Elsevier would release the book before the online content was available, and it’s frankly a bit disappointing.

Other than the issue with the online content, this is an excellent book, though.


  • One of the newest HESI study guides available
  • Made by the creators of the HESI exam
  • Lots of practice questions, both in the book and online


  • Online content won’t be available until October
  • Expensive


Do you still have a few questions about the HESI, how to study for it, and how it can help you? If so, we may be able to answer these questions in this section.

What Is the HESI Exam?

The HESI, in general, is a type of test that helps gauge your readiness for different medical and health exams. HESI stands for Health Education Systems, Inc. There are many types of HESI exams, but the most common are entrance exams, exit exams, and specialty context exams.

What Is a Good HESI Score?

What’s considered a passing HESI score all depends on the requirements of the school you’re in (or trying to get into).

For example, if your prospective school requires an 85 on the HESI to enter their nursing program, an 85 would be average, below that would be slightly below average (requiring some remedial courses), and above that would be excellent.

How to Study for the HESI Exam

Studying for the HESI can be very different depending on which exam you take.

For example, the HESI entrance exam generally tests common core knowledge, such as math, science, and reading comprehension, just like the SAT and ACT. All this can be covered with general exam study books.

However, if you’re taking a mid-semester HESI exam or an exit exam, your questions will be much more specific and challenging.

Hopefully, you’ve been paying attention in class and absorbing the material. Still, if not, you should consider investing in a specialized HESI study textbook like the ones we’ve listed in this guide.


In all situations, the book that you use to study for your HESI exam should change based on what you need it for most. Does doing a lot of practice questions help you most? If so, consider buying one with plentiful practice resources.

If not, consider purchasing a book with more informational content instead.

The best options on this list are the Admission Assessment Exam Review, 4th Edition, and the HESI A2 Secrets Study Guide: HESI A2 Test Review for the Health Education Systems, Inc. Admission Assessment Exam.

The first resource provides more practice content, while the second focuses more on information and test-taking strategies, though both are useful. You may want to consider buying them both.

Also, keep in mind that while we have rated the Admission Assessment Exam Review, 5th Edition with a C grade right now, once its online companion content is available, it may be a better study option. Until October, though, it’s best to stick with the 4th Edition.

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Brett Gordon

Founder of ExamCave.com