Are you wondering what has harder questions, the HESI exam or the NCLEX?
The differences might not seem like a big deal, but it is…kind of. Keep reading below to learn why.
Many students will find the questions on the HESI exam to be as hard or harder than the NCLEX. The reason has to do with how the tests are constructed and the purpose of each exam.
You need to keep in mind that the HESI exam and the NCLEX both serve different purposes.
Let’s start with how the exam questions are curated, and I'm going to begin with how the NCLEX is scored.
The NCLEX is a computer adaptive test or CAT. The CAT technology works by adjusting the questions you get based on how you’re doing.
If you answer a question correctly, your next questions will be harder. If you get it wrong, your next question will be easier.
You’ll keep doing this until the computer can determine if you’re above the passing line.
The HESI exam (and most exams you’ve probably have taken) are static exams. Static exams have set questions, and you’ll answer those number of questions.
On top of that, the exams are testing for different things.
The NCLEX tests your competency as a nurse, and the HESI exit exam tests your ability to pass the NCLEX.
Why do they make the HESI exam difficult?
There’s a lot more that goes into this, but I think the main thing you need to keep in mind is that if you think about it, if the HESI question writers write a hard exam and you study for that and do well, then it increases the likelihood that you’ll do well on the NCLEX.
There’s a little more than that, but it’s really that simple.
It wouldn’t make sense for them to write an easier exam than the NCLEX. That would be a little silly and wouldn't adequately test your ability for the NCLEX.
Here's a quick list of some things to keep in mind if you want to pass the NCLEX.
This is an abbreviated list. For more information, check out the article I wrote on how to pass the NCLEX the first time.
A good NCLEX prep course such as this one I recommend can help keep you organized and give you the tools you’ll need to succeed on the NCLEX.
There’s so much material covered on the NCLEX that a good study plan will help ensure your success.
Some NCLEX prep courses like the one I mentioned above will give you a study plan based on when you'll take the NCLEX.
3. Excercise Well, Sleep Well, Eat Well
Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep and staying healthy.
Not only does eating, sleeping, and exercising help with studying, you’ll overall feel better.
If you’ve already paid for the HESI study materials, then by all means, go ahead and use them. Students have found success using them.
If you don’t like them or want a little more, I would like to encourage you to check out the NCLEX prep I recommend.
It’s a great program that will grow with you as you move from studying the NCLEX to being a new grad nurse.
Most importantly, this NCLEX prep has a 99% pass rate…which is actually really high if you didn’t know. Check it out here.
- I Failed the HESI But Passed the NCLEX
- I Took the NCLEX on a Saturday: Now What?
- 10 Signs of Failing the NCLEX
- Is the NCLEX Timed?
- Do You Apply to Jobs Before Taking the NCLEX?
- I Knew Nothing on the NCLEX
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions related to whether or not the HESI exam is harder than the NCLEX.