If you’ve got your heart set on a nursing career, you’ll need to enter nursing school and graduate from it. And of course, to make that happen, you’ll need to take a few admission tests, too.
In the nursing field, there’s a good reason for this process.
Beyond testing your academic skills, nursing entrance exams help determine if you have the right skills and temperament for the profession. Think of it as an art portfolio that showcases your knowledge and talent, increasing your chances of getting into a program.
Several entrance exams exist, and each of them helps you in a slightly different way. Here, we’ve broken down the basics of nursing school exams to give you a simple study guide.
Specific exams for nursing
Nursing school entrance exams fall under one of three categories: specific exams for nursing, healthcare exams and typical college tests. You can also take practice tests to help ensure you achieve a passing score.
The first category consists of three exams:
The Kaplan Nursing Test is designed to evaluate your academic performance, especially as it relates to nursing. Specifically, it will test your reading, physiology and math skills.
This test doesn’t require prior nursing education to complete and is divided into four sections of questions. You’ll have two hours and 45 minutes to complete the test, and while the fee to take the test can vary depending on the school or testing center, it generally costs less than $100.
The National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Exam—or NLN PAX—consists of 200 multiple choice questions covering math, science and reading comprehension skills. The NLN PAX lasts two hours, and the fee can vary depending on the school administering the test but should not exceed $100.
The NET, short for the “Nursing Entrance Test,” is a comprehensive entrance exam that evaluates your academic skills, soft skills and how your personality matches up with the rigors of this healthcare profession. More specifically, it takes a look at your decision-making, and is built to be an honest assessment of how you navigate stressful situations.
This exam is split into multiple sections and takes roughly two and a half hours to complete. The cost of the test varies depending on the school administering it.
Last in this section is the Psychological Services Bureau Aptitude for Practical Nursing Exam (say that 10 times). This comprehensive test consists of five sections covering multiple academic categories and soft skill assessments like analytical judgment, critical thinking and decision-making.
The test takes approximately two hours to complete. Additionally, while modest, the fee to take this test varies slightly depending on the administrator and facility.
On the flip side of nursing exams, there are also more generalized healthcare ones. Again, a high test score and a certification will increase your chances of admission to nursing school.
The Test of Essential Academic Skills—or TEAS—is a common exam to evaluate the academic performance of anyone who wants to become a nurse. Topics covered by this test include English, mathematics, sciences and reading comprehension skills.
The TEAS for nurses consists of four sections of multiple choice questions and takes approximately three and a half hours to complete. The cost fluctuates depending on the proctoring fee, your scheduling fee and the fee for the test itself.
Like the TEAS, this exam seeks to assess a student’s academic aptitude, especially for aspiring nurses who want to get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
This exam has five sections covering mathematics, natural sciences, reading comprehension, spelling and academic aptitude. It also tests your vocational adjustment to see if you’d be a proficient fit for a nursing program.
The Health Occupations Aptitude Exam takes several hours to complete, and the cost varies depending on the institution where you complete the exam.
The HESI A2—or the Health Education Systems, Inc. Admissions Assessment— is for nursing students who want to pursue further education in their specific field of study. Test scores on this exam can usually indicate if the recipient will pass the National Council Licensure Examination.
In the HESI A2, expect test questions on mathematics, science and reading comprehension. The cost of this exam can vary from school to school and ranges between $35-$100.
Typical college tests
Finally, there are general exams you’ll also need to take to increase your chances of getting into nursing school, like the SAT and other widespread preparatory college tests, which will assist you with your undergraduate studies.
Pretty much everyone knows a thing or two about this exam. The SAT—or Scholastic Assessment Test—is a mathematical, written and reading comprehension test broken down into multiple sections.
Designed to boost your academic performance before undergraduate studies, the SAT is suited for anyone eying a career in nursing. It takes roughly three hours to complete and costs $55.
The ACT—or American College Test—is similar to the SAT. However, with this exam, you also have test questions about scientific subjects, in addition to the typical mathematical, reading and writing comprehension skills.
Split into four sections, with an optional fifth section for essays, the ACT takes approximately three hours to complete, with a cost of $55-$70.
Lastly, there is the GRE or the Graduate Records Examination. Recommended for nurses who want to enter a graduate program, this test has multiple sections and focuses on how well you convey your verbal, analytical and quantitative skills. The test takes three hours and 45 minutes and costs approximately $205.
Prepare for your exam with all the supplies you need
Overall, taking entrance exams can be stressful, but know that they are valuable. The proper certifications can give you access to higher-level programs, which in turn grant you access to higher-level nursing positions that will increase your overall pay.
If you’re preparing for exams or are in nursing school already, we at Jaanuu want to help you with some of those costs. Here is a handy link to student discounts for scrubs—valid for both our women’s scrubs selection and men’s scrubs selection—that’ll have you looking and feeling your best before, during and after your exams. They’ll save you a bit of money that you can put toward study materials like flashcards and practice exams.
Now, go hit the books!