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Entrance Exam Guide

Part 1

A Beginner’s Guide to Nursing Entrance Exams

Nurse education can be a long and challenging process but it is also immensely satisfying on a personal and professional level. Before anything else, however, you usually have to pass an entrance exam before you can get admitted into the school of your dreams. These exams gauge whether or not your academic and healthcare knowledge meets the school’s standards. There are a number of different types of entrance exams, and each of them tests your communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills in a variety of unique ways. 


For starters, you want to inquire about your school of choice regarding their application and exam process. When you know the exam type, you can study and prepare yourself for it specifically. To help you get a head start on your exam preparations, this article will go over everything you need to know about common nursing entrance exam formats.

Part 2

National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Exam (PAX)

PAX is the most common nursing exam variant. This test is meant to assess your abilities in math, science, and verbal communication. It is tailored for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses who want to get their certificates, BSNs, or ADNs. 


The tests usually cost around $60 to $100. You will have two hours and five minutes to answer 160 multiple choice questions. The PAX items tackle main subjects: Math (40 questions), Reading Comprehension and Word Knowledge (60 questions), and Science (60 questions).


Several companies offer free practice question sets and study guides tailored to PAX, including (but not limited to) Mometrix. 

Part 3

Kaplan Nursing School Admissions Test

This LPN / RN entrance exam does not require prior nursing education. Depending on where you enroll, it will either cost you $50 or $70.  Its 91 questions are divided into reading, math, science and critical thinking and the content must be completed in 180 minutes. The regular passing score is either 60% or 70%, but the school can set its own minimum grade. 

Much of the content is high school level. For preparation, you can refer to the Kaplan study guide, TEAS prep book or some SAT prep courses. Some students even refer to Youtube instructionals.

Part 4

Health Education Systems, Inc. Admissions Assessment

Aspiring RNs and LPNs are fairly likely to run into the HESI A2 exam. The content is mostly high school level with a focus on science topics in particular. Exam fees will range from $40 and $65, depending on where you apply. The test is divided into nine topics, which includes (but is not limited to) biology, chemistry, reading comprehension, math, and grammar. 


Prominent online resources include test-guide, BoostPrep and the HESI A2 Secrets Guide developed by Mometrix. 

Part 5

Test of Essential Academic Skills Exam (TEAS)

Aspiring LPNs or RNs can expect to take the TEAS, at some point. Entrance fees will cost you $35, $70, or somewhere in between. It is a multiple choice test with 170 high-school level questions that are split into four categories: 

  • Mathematics (algebra, statistics, geometry, problem-solving)

  • English/Language Use(Standard language conventions and vocabulary)

  • Science (Physiology, scientific reasoning, physiology, life/physical sciences)

  • Reading (Maps, graphs, passages) Applicants will have 209 minutes to answer the material. You can take TEAS online, on campus, or in designated testing centers. 

Part 6

PSB Registered Nursing School Aptitude Exam

PSB RN is a 105 minute and 360 question test that is tailor made for students who wish to be RNs. Entry fees will range from The contents can be broken up into 5 categories: spelling, reading comprehension, natural sciences, and a vocational adjustment index. 


In particular, the academic aptitude segment has 30 questions split into verbal, arithmetic and nonverbal. On the nonverbal portion, you are expected to answer an IQ test that forces you two draw connections between different items. These verbal and arithmetic sections take up the majority of students’ time, in most cases. 

The Mometrix Secrets Study guide and flashcards are particularly good for this exam, as they will prepare you for all three sections of the academic aptitude portion.

Part 7

Nursing Entrance Test (NET) 

NET tests are usually handed out to applicants for RN or LPN programs. Unlike the other tests, pre application fees depend entirely on the school. The test covers social decision-making, decision-making in pressure situations, learning type, mathematics, and reading speed. The content is spread across 6 sections which must be answered within155 minutes. All this is meant to test your critical thinking, reading comprehension and knowledge. 


Students who take this test typically hone their focus on the math segments, since the content covers high school math concepts and material. Meanwhile, the other five segments cover more general non-nursing ideas. You want to aim for at least a 55 on your reading skills and a 65 on your math skills, if you want your application to stand out. The other 4 parts are evaluated internally, based on the school’s own criteria. Complete Test Preparation offers study guides that can help you prepare. 

Part 8

PSB Health Occupations Aptitude Exam

Also known as (PBS HOAE) this test assesses healthcare trainees like nurses. This test is commonly taken by RNs who want to get their associate's or bachelor's degrees. Generally, this test covers math, reading comprehension, spelling, math, natural sciences, and communication (both verbal and nonverbal/). This test uses a unique vocational adjustment index that examines your behavioral and personality traits in order to estimate your chances for success in this line of work. 

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