Tips to Passing the Nursing Entrance Exam

Updated July 19, 2017

Nurses provide care to patients in hospitals, medical centres, clinics and doctors offices. To become nurses, students must complete education and clinical training at a school of nursing. Applicants to nursing schools are required to take an entrance examination as part of the admissions process. Nursing entrance examinations are aptitude tests used to demonstrate how well applicants are prepared for nursing school. The Nurse Entrance Test (NET) , Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) and Registered Nursing Entrance Examination (RNEE) are a few of the tests commonly taken. Scores from nursing exams predict future nursing school performance, according to the National Institutes of Health.


While there are slight differences among nursing entrance exams, all tests assess skills in English, reading, comprehension, and mathematics. Other nursing entrance exams also cover the sciences such as biology, anatomy, physiology and chemistry. Sometimes health may also be tested. It is important to check with nursing schools for the particular type of examination required and minimum scores for admission. Obtain a study guide for the type of exam being taken. These guides are written by experts and contain essential information about subjects on the test. Choose a study guide containing a lot of practice tests covering each area of the examination. Always start early enough to allow adequate time for study and preparation.


Nursing entrance exam study guides typically begin with a self-assessment. While lots of people will skip doing it, don't. It is very essential to complete the assessment at the beginning of preparation; it reveals strong and weak areas, and completing a self-assessment provides direction and focus for study. Knowing where to concentrate your studies helps manage time. Repeat the self-assessment a few times throughout the study period.


Nursing entrance examinations cover basic mathematics: addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, decimals, percentages, fractions, ratio and proportion, conversions, and algebra. Purchase or borrow a math and algebra textbook from the local library for extra review and practice. This is one of the most important assessment areas on the examination. Become proficient at performing all operations with pencil and paper, without a calculator. Nursing requires being precise because medication calculations must be exact, and a calculator or other device will not always be available in the work environment.

English and Reading

This area of the exam covers basic grammar, punctuation and sentence structure. Exam questions will also test reading and comprehension ability. Read the English section in the study guide thoroughly and obtain a grammar text such as the Princeton Review Grammar Smart guide.


Not all nursing entrance examinations test science, but several do such as the TEAS, RNEE, and PSB exams. Most of the exams cover biology and chemistry, but others will also test anatomy and physiology. It is important to get flash cards, which are very helpful with memorising essential scientific terms and basic concepts. Anatomy and physiology colouring books are also helpful in memorising both terms, important processes and structure.

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About the Author

Aunice Reed is a medical science writer living in Los Angeles, Calif. With over 10 years previous nursing experience, Reed has been writing for over six years and has attended University of Northern Iowa, University of California, Los Angeles and Los Angeles Harbor College.