Hello everyone and welcome to this guide that contains vital information about the Nursing Entrance Exam.

By the time you are done reading through, you should have gotten a better understanding of this important admission prerequisite. 

As a preview, here are some questions that will be answered in this guide:

  • What can I expect in the Nursing Entrance Exam?
  • How hard is the Nursing Entrance Exam?
  • How can I prepare for the Nursing Entrance Exam?

Ready? Let’s go!

A Brief Overview of the Nursing Entrance Exam

A Brief Overview of the Nursing Entrance Exam

If you want to apply to study nursing in any nursing school, you must write an Entrance Exam.

And if you are reading this, chances are that you are preparing for one.

While we wish you the very best in your Nursing Entrance Exams, it is good to know what steps to take and to also know if you meet the requirements for writing such an exam.

The Entrance Exam isn’t too difficult but at the same time, you’ll need to study hard to pass the exam.

Be sure to review all the recommended study materials and study guides, preferably the ones provided by the nursing school you’re intending to enroll in.

As a general rule, all pre-licensure nursing programs in any nursing school have some prerequisites.

Some of these requirements include:

  • HESI A2
  • TEAS (Test of essential academic skills)
  • PAX
  • SAT

They are all preparatory exams that are beneficial for both the examiner and most importantly, you the person writing the exam.

It will help you gauge your academic skills and your readiness for the nursing program and your understanding of various aspects of topic areas.

Although the exam is usually based on the basics of healthcare, some Entrance Exams will test your comprehension of high school topics and subjects.

Other areas that you will be tested on are your communication skills, how well you can think critically when under pressure, reading and writing, as well as comprehension.

It is vital never to and let us repeat that never expect only nursing-related topics in your Nursing Entrance Exam.

We will discuss topic areas that you should expect later in this guide.

So it is important to follow the suggested practice questions in the study guides.

With good grades in your exams, you are almost guaranteed a place in the next session.

Some nursing schools require allows applicants to take computerized in-person exams in a classroom, while others allow applicants to take the same computerized exam online from any location of their choice.

The entrance exams may not be the same; the nursing program you want to study and the institution are some factors responsible for any variation in the type of questions you’ll be asked.

However, there is one thing that is very much constant for all nursing school entrance exams – the format.

All entrance exams follow the multiple-choice question format.

You can find more information about various types of Nursing Entrance Exams here.

It may be necessary to take both a nursing exclusive exam and a general exam, or just one of them.

But get this straight, you cannot be admitted into any nursing program without sitting for and passing the school’s Nursing Entrance Exam.

Based on the performance of the candidates in an entrance exam, nursing schools can select the students they feel will put the training received to the best use.

So now that you have a general outlook of what the exam is all about and the importance of getting prepared, let’s take a closer look at some of the topic areas where you’ll be tested.

Knowing this will help you channel your reading and studying toward what you need.

What Topic Areas Should You Expect in a Nursing Entrance Test?

What Topic Areas Should You Expect in a Nursing Entrance Test

There are specific topics you should concentrate on while preparing for the nursing exam:


This section assesses your understanding of science topics like anatomy and physiology, although not in a too much broader sense.

It also tests you in other science-related concepts like hormones, cellular transport within the body, respiratory system, immune system, cardiovascular system, renal system, hematological system, gastrointestinal system, sensory system, homeostasis, neurology, and electrolytes.

The questions may not go into detail about these natural science topics, but it will be nice to have some basic knowledge of each.

Reading comprehension

Now, did I hear you say that’s easy? Well, it is not just about reading what’s in print. Your reading speed must be on point.

You will be provided with college-level materials that must be read within 60 seconds.

The nursing entrance exam reading test is timed the same way across the United States.

So, it is all about reading with speed, not just articulating words on a piece of paper.

There is also the reading comprehension part that assesses your science reading ability.

Here, speed is also of the essence because you will have just one minute approximately to answer one multiple-choice question.

Your ability to read and understand short passages that are mostly related to human health will also be tested.

After reading each passage, you will be expected to do four things:

1.    Itemize the details of the passage

2.    Determine the  main logic of the portion read

3.    Draw appropriate inferences

4.    Cleary state the purpose of the passage you read


The writing section is one important section of the Nursing Entrance Exam because you will be expected to do a lot of writing if you eventually get into the nursing education/program.

You will be given a passage to read and then proceed to answer some preset questions on the passage.

As you answer this question, your writing skills will be assessed in the following areas:

  • Your passage development
  • How you develop the passage logic
  • How do you adhere to the mechanics of writing


This is one section of the admission test that many candidates are anxious about. But, with specific topic areas, you shouldn’t have any problems.

The mathematics section measures your ability to use simple mathematical principles in solving problems.

Here are some simple mathematical principles that are of interest here:

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Division
  • Multiplication
  • Word problems
  • Proportion
  • Decimals
  • Ratios
  • Fractions

You will also be tested in number conversions number percentages, algebra, and percentages.

Are you getting scared? You shouldn’t because all the questions on these topics in maths will be the high school level at most.

Here’s some important information about the mathematics section: you should be very familiar with converting numbers from English to metric measurements.

The same applies to converting from Fahrenheit to Celsius

With the provided study guide, you will get a glimpse of what type of maths questions you should be expecting.

Critical thinking

Although there is no section specially named “critical thinking,” you will need this in all the questions you will attempt in the entrance exam.

It is embedded into all the four major areas, but fortunately, students are scored on how they put their critical

As you read through the questions, you will come across various scenarios where you will be expected to think critically like a Nurse.

You will be expected to respond as a Nurse to each of these situations within a very limited time.

You might e presented with a situation and use it to identify what the problem is and select the best way to approach any problem that you have identified.


This section is similar to the critical section where you are presented with real-life situations.

You will be expected to select an option that describes the best type of response to them.

You will also be tested on medical terminologies and terms used daily in the healthcare industry.

To get an idea of what terms you should learn before taking the exam,  get your hands on the practice questions.

Other parts include decision-makers and stressful situations.

Most entrance exams allot separate time for each section. Please, make sure you use the time for each section for the designated section.

Generally, you will have about two hours or a little more to complete the questions (all the sections discussed).

Apart from the study guide that each nursing school may provide for their prospective students, some companies offer practice questions and study guides for anyone who wants to write this exam.

One such company is Mometrix, which has helped many people scale through this career path hurdle.

Past Scores (To Guide You)

The past results of nursing entrance exam

This is one question that everyone writing a nursing school entrance exam wants to know: what is the required passing score?

The simple answer is that each nursing school reserves the right to determine what passing score they want.

That means the passing score for an entrance exam (for example ATI TEAS) will vary from one nursing school to another.

Some schools accept any candidate that has above a required minimum score. And some schools do not have any minimum score at all.

So, if you are about to write the entrance exam, confirm what the minimum required score of the school is.

Generally, most schools agree that a score that is between 65 percent and 70 percent is enough to get students into the school.

What if you did not get up to the minimum required score? Is all hope lost?

If this happened to you, while you may not be admitted to the program at that time, you can retake the exam but will pay another exam fee.

When it comes to retaking the exams, each school reserves the right to decide the modalities.

Some nursing schools allow students to retake the exam just once in a calendar year.

Some schools allow candidates to retake the exam as many times within the same calendar year.

For the second case, students must wait for 30 days after failing the exam before they can apply for the same exam again.

But, this is not recommended because you need time to study for the next exam. 

You may also need some breaks to refresh yourself mentally before going through the rigorous process of studying for this challenging exam.

How hard is the Nursing Admission Assessment 

How hard is the Nursing Admission Assessment 

There is nothing new about the challenges an exam taker faces when preparing for the entrance exam.

For example, all the sections, and the exam as a whole, are timed. This timing can put lots of pressure on each test-taker.

Another thing that makes the entrance exam challenging is the anxiety that each test-taker feels about getting into the program.

Moreso, there seems to be so much to cover in terms of topics.

But the question of how hard the admission assessment is depends on your choices.

If you devote time to preparing for the exam, you won’t find the process as challenging as someone who did not study at all.

Another reason why many believe the assessment isn’t difficult is that many schools do not set any passing scores.

How to Prepare for the Nursing Entrance Exam

How to Prepare for the Nursing Entrance Exam

The first thing to do is to find out what you’re going to meet in the exam.

On the website of the nursing school or the general exam you’re taking, the exam will be broken down into sections.

The time limit on each question is also stated there.

Get your hand on any material you feel can help you. These materials can be past questions, textbooks, or even youtube videos.

Here is a summary of what you should do in preparation for the exam:

  1. Get the exam curriculum. This can be downloaded online or gotten at the school where you enrolled for the exam. Evert exam has a breakdown of sections and where each section will be.
  2. Download any available resources online. This includes study guides, flashcards, and practice tests. They will help you get ready for what you might later face on the exam day.
  3. Do your research about how many questions you are expecting to answer, how long is allotted for the exam, and each question.
  4. Devote time to study. Prepare a reading schedule and stick to it. Be balanced and do make out time for adequate rest in-between.

Now let’s talk about the importance of the study guide.

The study guide is specially created to help you streamline your research and study to only what you need to read for the exam.

The study guide is created by students who have taken the exam in recent times and have compiled the guide to help people who are just thinking of writing the exam like you.

According to many who have used the study guides, they contain just what you need to pass the exam.

To also help you come out successful, here are other things that you need to keep in mind:

All nursing entrance exams  (especially the Kaplan nursing school exam and the HESI A2) are rigorous and you should devote enough time to studying for them.

Keep in mind that the exams are computerized and you should expect them to be multiple-choice questions.

When preparing to write the nursing school entrance exam, you must have a basic knowledge of how to use the computer.

No matter which of the exams you finally enroll for, study every practice question you can lay your hands on.

Attempt all the questions even if you are not sure of the answer to a particular question (what have you got to lose).

People who have passed this exam recommend that the more practice questions you attempt, the better your chances of reaching your school’s required passing score



The journey to becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) starts with the entrance exam.

This exam qualifies you for the RN program, which in turn, opens up a door to this career path

Do your best to pass this exam, if possible on your first try. This will boost your confidence going forward.

Apart from that, your journey to getting that degree, that license, and other nursing credentials, will become a little faster.

With this amount of information, we believe you now understand not just what to do, but how to do it.

Devote as much time as you can to prepare for this life-changing exam.

Don’t believe anyone who tells you that you cannot do it.

We believe in you, and so should you.


FAQs on Nursing Entrance Exam

Can I become a Registered Nurse without taking the Nursing School Entrance Exam?

The simple answer is No! You need to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) to start the journey. This is an undergraduate nursing program that will usually take two to three years to complete. However, to get into the nursing program, you must write a Nursing School Entrance Exam.

What does the Nursing Entrance Exam consist of?

The Entrance Exam covers topics including science, reading, maths, decision-making, critical situation, handling stressful situations, etc. Schools administer these entrance exams either in person or online. Some schools will allow applicants to choose the mode of the exam. Only those who want to become RN can write the exam.

Is the Nursing Entrance exam hard?

The nursing entrance exam is rigorous and challenging for first-timers. But the process can be a little easier if a candidate makes good use of study materials and study guides in preparing for the exam. There are also flashcards, practice questions, and other instructional videos online.

What is the best study material for passing the Nurse Entrance Exam?

The best study material to use if you want to pass this exam is the study guide. Remember, the study guide is created by those who have written this exam in the past and who have passed it. The directions in the study guide will help you concentrate on your study where it is truly needed.

When is the best time to take the Nursing Licensure Exam?

The best time to take the Nursing Licensure Exam is after completing your nursing program in an accredited school. This is the best time because most of what you have been taught is still very fresh on your mind. You are also still in the mood to read and study.


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