nursing school entrance exams

How Do I Prepare For The Nursing School Entrance Exams?

Entering nursing school is a significant step towards a rewarding career in healthcare, but first, you must conquer the nurse entrance exams. These assessments vary, ranging from nursing-specific exams to general standardized tests. In this guide, we’ll explore the key nursing school entrance exams, offer valuable tips for preparation, and address common FAQs to ensure you’re well-equipped for success.

Nursing School Entrance Exams You Should Know

Nursing-specific exams 


The National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination (NLN PAX) is a standardized test used to evaluate potential nursing students. It assesses academic aptitude and essential skills for success in nursing education programs. The exam covers verbal ability, mathematics, and science.

It is taken during the admission process for various nursing programs, including practical, registered, and vocational nursing. The results provide educators with insights into an individual’s preparedness for nursing coursework, ensuring a solid foundation for success in nursing studies and future careers. 

2. NET (Nurse Entrance Test)

The nurse Entrance Test (NET) is a standardized examination that evaluates the academic preparedness and essential skills of nursing program applicants. It assesses proficiency in areas like mathematics, science, reading comprehension, and critical thinking.

The NET is a crucial part of nursing school admissions, identifying qualified applicants with the necessary knowledge and aptitude for success in nursing education. The NET assesses core concepts and critical thinking skills, ensuring candidates are well-equipped to handle the academic and clinical demands of the nursing profession.

3. Kaplan Admissions Test

The Kaplan Admissions Test is a standardized evaluation tool designed by Kaplan to assess a candidate’s academic aptitude and readiness for specific professional fields, particularly in healthcare and nursing. The test takers cover subjects like mathematics, science, reading, and writing, tailored to the specific programs.

Aspiring students often take the test as part of their application process, providing institutions with valuable insights into their potential success in their chosen academic and professional pathways. The test helps educational institutions make informed decisions regarding admissions, ensuring admitted candidates are well-equipped to excel in their chosen fields.

4. PSB Aptitude for Practical Nursing Exam

The PSB Registered Nursing School Aptitude Exam serves as a pivotal assessment for prospective nursing students, evaluating their preparedness and suitability for the demanding field of practical nursing. This comprehensive examination encompasses various domains, including mathematics, verbal skills, and science, aiming to gauge academic proficiency and critical thinking capabilities.

Success in this entrance exam for practical nursing is essential, as it signifies a solid foundation necessary for excelling in both nursing education and real-world clinical practice. This examination plays a vital role in the admissions process, aiding nursing schools in identifying candidates with the requisite skills to thrive in the rigorous academic and clinical environments integral to a nursing career.

5. PSB Registered Nursing School Aptitude Exam

The PSB Registered Nursing School Aptitude Exam is a crucial assessment for nursing students, assessing their readiness and aptitude for the demanding field. It covers mathematics, verbal skills, and science, assessing academic proficiency and critical thinking abilities. Successful candidates must demonstrate a solid foundation in these areas to excel in nursing education and practice.

The exam is crucial in the admissions process, helping nursing schools identify candidates with the necessary skills for rigorous academic and clinical environments. Successfully navigating the exam is a significant milestone in nursing career advancement.

Healthcare Exams

1. TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills)

The Nursing Program Entrance Test, known as the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS), is a vital assessment tool utilized in the United States to gauge preparedness for nursing programs. Developed by the Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI), this exam comprehensively evaluates essential skills in reading, mathematics, science, and English language usage.

Nursing schools rely on TEAS certification as a crucial admission criterion, ensuring that prospective students demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills for success in their academic journey.

2. HESI A2 (Health Education Systems, Inc. Admission Assessment)

The HESI A2 is a standardized test developed by Elsevier to evaluate the academic aptitude of individuals seeking admission to healthcare programs. It evaluates knowledge in math, reading comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, anatomy and physiology, and critical thinking.

It is commonly used by nursing schools and allied health programs to ensure candidates possess essential skills for healthcare studies and professional practice. Preparing for the HESI A2 is crucial for aspiring healthcare professionals, as a competitive score can significantly increase their chances of admission.

3. PSB Health Occupations Aptitude Exam

The PSB Health Occupations Aptitude Exam is a standardized test administered by the Psychological Services Bureau (PSB) to evaluate the academic readiness of individuals interested in health occupations. It assesses knowledge in subjects like academic aptitude, spelling, reading comprehension, and natural sciences.

The exam is widely used in healthcare education programs to identify candidates with the necessary cognitive abilities and academic skills for success in health-related fields. Thorough preparation is crucial for healthcare professionals to perform well in the competitive admissions process.

General Exams

1. SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test)

The SAT, or Scholastic Assessment Test, is a standardized test used for college admissions in the US. Created by the College Board, it evaluates a student’s readiness for college and proficiency in critical reading, mathematics, and writing. The test has undergone revisions to ensure relevance and effectiveness in evaluating skills for success in higher education.

Colleges and universities consider SAT scores alongside other factors like high school GPA, extracurricular activities, and recommendation letters in admission decisions. The SAT serves as a valuable tool for both students and institutions, providing a standardized measure of academic aptitude.

2. ACT (American College Testing)

The American College Testing (ACT) is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. It evaluates high school students’ readiness for college-level academics in English, mathematics, reading, and science. The test, consisting of multiple-choice questions, is commonly used by colleges and universities as admissions criteria.

The ACT also includes an optional writing section called the ACT Writing Test. The ACT has become a key component of the college application process, providing institutions with a standardized measure to compare prospective students’ academic abilities.

3. GRE (Graduate Record Examination)

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test used for graduate admissions worldwide. Developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), it evaluates the verbal, quantitative, analytical, and critical thinking skills of applicants. The GRE is a crucial part of admissions for graduate programs in fields like business, education, engineering, and sciences.

It assesses a candidate’s academic preparedness and critical thinking abilities, helping universities evaluate their potential success in graduate-level studies. Aspiring graduate students prepare extensively for the GRE, recognizing its importance in shaping their academic and professional futures.

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Tips For Passing Nursing School Entrance Exams

Tips for Passing Nursing School Entrance Exams

1. Identify Which Exam You Need To Take

Before diving into preparation, understand which specific nursing school entrance exam is required by the institutions you’re applying to. Each exam assesses different aspects of academic readiness.

2. Use Necessary Materials

Gather all the study guide materials recommended for your chosen exam. This may include textbooks, practice exams, and online resources. Ensure your study materials are up-to-date to align with the latest exam content.

3. Take A Practice Test

Practice tests are invaluable for familiarizing yourself with the exam format and identifying areas that need improvement. Many nursing entrance exams have official practice materials available, giving you a firsthand look at the types of questions you’ll encounter.

4. Develop Test-Taking Strategies

Each exam may have unique challenges. Develop effective strategies for managing time, answering multiple-choice questions, and handling the stress of the entrance testing environment. Consider enrolling in test preparation courses if available.

5. Study As Much As Possible Before The Exam

Consistent and thorough study is key to success. Create a study schedule that covers all relevant topics and allows for review closer to the exam date. Focus on strengthening your weaker areas while reinforcing your strengths.


1) How Hard Is The Entrance Exam For Nursing?

The difficulty of nursing school entrance exams varies by school, but they are designed to assess your readiness for the academic rigors of nursing school. Adequate preparation and a focused study plan can significantly improve your chances of success.

2) What Is The Passing Score For The Nursing Entrance Exam?

Passing scores vary between exams and institutions. It’s crucial to check with the specific nursing schools you’re applying to for their score requirements. Aim to not just meet but exceed these standards to strengthen your application.

3) How Many Nursing Exams Can You Fail?

The number of times you can retake a nursing exam depends on the school policies of the exam provider. Some exams have limits on retakes, so it’s essential to approach each attempt with thorough preparation.

4) What Happens If You Fail The Nursing Exam?

Failing a nursing entrance exam is not the end of your nursing aspirations. Assess your performance, identify areas for improvement, and consider seeking additional support through tutoring or review courses. Many nursing schools allow candidates to retake the exam after a waiting period.


Preparing for nursing school entrance exams demands dedication, strategic planning, and a commitment to excellence. By understanding the specific exams you’ll be taking, employing effective study strategies, and addressing common concerns, you can navigate this critical step with confidence. Remember, success is not just about passing the exams but also about acquiring the knowledge and skills needed for a successful nursing career.

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