My HESI A2, Critical Thinking Result

Some of you may recall from my previous post about my HESI A2 testing experience, that I was asked to take the critical thinking portion by my school if testers had enough time remaining after taking all other sections.

In this post, we’re going to go over what exactly the Critical Thinking section is and how you can prepare for it. For the record, I did not get to prepare for this section as it was never mentioned through my friends or in any online board for BRCC’s HESI test.

According to Elsevier, the critical thinking section is explained as such:

This exam is intended to provide a brief “snapshot” of critical thinking ability in situations encountered in healthcare settings. A total score is reflective of abilities in four categories:
1.Problem Solving
Refers to the process of inquiry in which the nurse seeks multiple facts to remove obstacles or resolve patient care problems
2. Biases and Ethical Dilemmas
Addresses ethical, legal, and moral issues, as well as biases nurses may have about patients and others
3. Argument Analysis
Refers to situations in which the nurse seeks to resolve conflicts or disagreements by considering multiple points of view
4. Analysis of Data
Addresses the need to interpret patient data correctly, and decide if further nursing action is required

For this test, my results were broken down as such:

Critical Thinking Overall: 860

(1) Analysis of Data: 772
(2) Argument Analysis: 958
(3) Prioritization of Care: 775
(4) Problem Solving: 863
(5) Resolution Biases/Ethical Dilemma: 937

While they show the number of questions answered correctly out of overall tested, they do not show you what questions you missed or what you got correctly. If you press view materials, it gives you links to chapters to review to help you score better on those sections. 

An interesting part to note, while the test score is out of a possible 1000 points in the Elsevier results page, it notates a recommended score of 900. And, it also shows a class average of 531. That class score was not the same for someone else I spoke with, who took the test on another day. Their class average showed a 348.

This quizlet set as a wonderful collection of questions formatted as you would see them on the exam: here.

Some people have also found the book “Fundamentals Success A Q&A Review Applying Critical Thinking to Test Taking” to be helpful. Unfortunately while I don’t have any personal experience with this book, I’ve seen it recommened across several different websites. I think if you can go through several quizlet sets, you might not necessarily need it once you understand what they’re looking for you to prioritize.

I found the section to be slightly frustrating at times. There were several questions where I felt that there could be two answers of equal importance. If anything I found it interesting that the school requested students take this section without having taken nursing fundamentals first, because a lot of it is based on knowing your ABC (Airway, Breathing, Circulation) and ADPIE (Assessment, Diagnosing, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation) and that’s something only LPN bridge students would know. Or, possibly CNAs or anyone else with a slight medical background.

In fact, BRCC LPN-RN bridge students are required to score a 850 or higher on both the Nursing Fundamentals and Adult Nursing I tests to apply into the RN program.

I only know about it now because I looked up the critical thinking portion when I got home. Since the section was not mandatory for us, a lot of people I spoke to chose to skip this section. I’m told that the nursing program uses this critical thinking portion as a benchmark to see how someone may do on the NCLEX-RN later on.

Anyways, I hope this helps you prepare for the critical thinking of the HESI test. If I had known beforehand that this was a section I would need to take, I would have definitely studied for it. But, no one from the previous years or testing sections for this year mentioned it. Again, not mandatory to take it but they heavily requested that people take it. 

Feel free to message me if you have any questions.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hey what text book can i use for the critical thinking? I am doing it for an lpn course.
    Yes i have no medical background, this section seem difficult for me

    1. Hi Rehema,

      I’m not familiar with the LPN course at all. But my person opinion is that the Fundamentals Success by Davis will be more than enough. The book is pretty comprehensive, and teaches you how to go for the “first step” option.

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