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The Ultimate Guide to Nursing Entrance Exams

August 20, 2020 | Staff Writers

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The Ultimate Guide to Nursing Entrance Exams

Prospective nursing students are often required to take a nursing school entrance exam as part of the application process. Depending on the program they apply to and degree they wish to obtain, candidates may need to take a test designed exclusively for nurses and healthcare professionals, a general standardized test, such as the SAT, or both. Applicants should contact their desired nursing programs in advance to find out specific details regarding that school’s testing and application process.

Nursing entrance exams determine a student’s likelihood for success in a nursing program. The tests assess students’ knowledge in academic- and healthcare-related categories, evaluating their comprehension, critical thinking, and communication skills. This guide looks at the most common nursing school entrance exams and how to prepare for each.

National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Exam (PAX)

The PAX exam is one of the most commonly used nursing school entrance exams. The test is intended for RNs and LPNs who wish to pursue a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree in nursing. Various companies, such as Mometrix, offer free practice questions and study guides for students preparing to take this nursing school test.

The PAX measures the test-taker’s verbal abilities, mathematical skills, and understanding of scientific topics. Learners generally complete 160 multiple choice questions drawn from the three subject areas: 60 questions in reading comprehension and word knowledge, 40 math questions, and 60 science questions. Students have two hours and five minutes to complete the entire test.

Candidates register for and take the PAX through the schools they apply to. Exam fees typically cost $60-$100.

Nursing Entrance Test (NET)

The NET is another common nursing school test for LPN and RN programs. Comprising six parts, this 155-minute exam evaluates candidates’ understanding of mathematics, reading speed, social decision-making, learning styles, test-taking skills, and ability to deal with stressful situations.

Many students spend extra time studying for the mathematics portion of the test, which includes concepts typically addressed in high school math courses. The other five sections cover a broader range of non-nursing topics. Your performance in these sections depends upon your general academic skills, attention to detail, critical thinking, and reading comprehension. Many prospective nursing students prepare for the exam by following a study guide with practice test questions.

Students must earn a score of 65 and 55 on the math and reading sections, respectively, to be competitive nursing school applicants. Schools evaluate students’ scores on the remaining four parts based on their internal standards for a passing score. The cost of the NET nursing entrance exam varies by school.

Kaplan Nursing School Admission Test

The Kaplan nursing school exam assesses students’ likelihood for success in LPN or RN programs. The exam does not require any previous nursing education.

Four sections of 91 multiple choice questions evaluate candidates’ writing, reading, math, science, and critical thinking skills. The Kaplan nursing school admission test takes up to 180 minutes to complete and costs $50-$70. Learners usually need at least a 60%-70% on the exam for a passing score. Each school, however, maintains its own scoring standards.

Test-takers often choose to brush up on high school-level topics in reading, writing, math, and science. According to Lansing Community College’s nursing program, many students prepare for the Kaplan nursing school exam by using the Kaplan study guide, TEAS prep books, YouTube instructional videos, and SAT prep materials.

Test of Essential Academic Skills Exam (TEAS)

The TEAS assessment is another common nursing school test for RNs and LPNs. The multiple choice exam contains four sections: reading, mathematics, English and language use, and science. The test requires 209 minutes to complete. Learners take advantage of online materials to prepare for the exam, including TEASpracticetest.com’s practice tests and study guides and ATI’s TEAS prep products.

Test-takers complete a total of 170 questions drawn from high school-level knowledge in each area. The reading section contains 53 questions pertaining to passages, maps, and graphs. The 36-question math section explores general problem-solving, algebra, statistics, and geometric calculations. The 53 science questions cover physiology, anatomy, life and physical sciences, and general scientific reasoning. Lastly, the English portion tests the pupil’s understanding of standard language conventions and vocabulary.

Students can take the TEAS nursing school entrance exam online, at designated testing centers, or through the school where they wish to apply. The TEAS exam requires a $35-$70 fee.

Health Education Systems, Inc. Admissions Assessment (HESI A2)

The HESI A2 nursing school entrance exam is primarily used for prospective RNs and LPNs. The computerized test features nine sections, including grammar, biology, chemistry, reading comprehension, and math. Questions draw on high school-level knowledge, placing extra emphasis on science topics. The HESI A2 test also includes sections on learning styles and personality.

Learners prepare for the exam with a variety of resources, including Mometrix’s HESI A2 Secrets Guide. Learners can also find practice exams for the HESI A2 test through test-guide.com and BoostPrep.com. While the exam fee varies among locations, most schools charge $40-$65.

PSB Aptitude for Practical Nursing Exam

PSB nursing entrance exams are intended for candidates pursuing a healthcare program, including LPNs who wish to enroll in practical and vocational nursing programs. The test evaluates a student’s skills, knowledge, and abilities that they have developed over time. This assessment focuses less on psychological or abstract personality traits, although it includes a vocational adjustment index that examines test-takers’ behavioral traits.

The four remaining sections in the 360-question, 105-minute PSB nursing school exam assess academic aptitude in vocabulary, math, nonverbal comprehension, spelling, natural sciences, and judgement and comprehension in practical nursing situations. There is no reading comprehension section.

Many test-takers prepare for the PSB nursing school entrance exam with the Mometrix Secrets Study Guide and the Ascencia PSB Practice Nursing Exam Study Guide. Applicants can expect to pay a $25 exam fee.

PSB Registered Nursing School Aptitude Exam

The PSB RN nursing school exam is designed for aspiring RNs. The 105-minute, 360-question test comprises five multiple-choice sections: academic aptitude, spelling, reading comprehension, natural sciences, and a vocational adjustment index.

The academic aptitude section features 30 questions in three parts: verbal, arithmetic, and nonverbal. Mometrix describes the nonverbal section as a type of IQ test requiring test-takers to find the relationships and differences between objects.

Many learners spend extra time studying for the exam’s verbal and arithmetic portions. Students can prepare for the PSB RN nursing school entrance exam with the Mometrix Secrets Study Guide and flashcards. The study guide also includes methods for improving one’s nonverbal skills, too. PSB RN test-takers usually pay $25-$45 to sit for the exam.

PSB Health Occupations Aptitude Exam

Schools use the PSB Health Occupations Aptitude Exam (PBS HOAE) to test a variety of students pursuing training in healthcare, including nurses. This exam is commonly used for RNs who plan to enroll in an ADN or BSN program.

The exam predicts a student’s capability for success in a healthcare education program by evaluating prerequisite knowledge in reading comprehension, spelling, and the natural sciences. This nursing entrance exam also evaluates test-takers’ academic aptitude in math, verbal, and nonverbal areas.

The PSB HOAE nursing entrance exam also includes a vocational adjustment index, which evaluates test-takers’ behavioral traits and personality characteristics to determine their likelihood for success in the profession. Candidates pay $25-60 to sit for the PSB HOAE nursing school exam. Learners can take advantage of iPrep’s free practice materials and affordable online course to put their best foot forward on the PSB HOAE.

Resources and Tips for Nursing Students

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