Before you can apply to nursing programs, you need to meet the specific requirements of the school and your state. Some programs may not require specific testing, but many programs will need you to include certain test scores with your application packet. Knowing the types of tests you may need to take will help you plan ahead, and this may improve your chances of acceptance into a program.
A common pre-admission test for nursing programs is called the Test of Essential Academic Skills. In this computerized test, you will have four timed tests. In the reading test, you will have 50 minutes to answer 40 questions designed to evaluate your level of reading and comprehension. In the next section, you will have 45 math questions that you must answer within 56 minutes. In the science section, you have 30 questions and 38 minutes. In the final section, the English and language usage test, you will have 65 minutes for 55 questions on proper grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, spelling and vocabulary.
Some schools may use another computerized test called the Health Educational Systems Inc. exam. In this test, you will have four test sections: grammar, reading comprehension, math and vocabulary. You have four hours to complete all sections.
A program may also require a proctored essay as part of the admission process required by the state. This step may occur after you apply but before the program makes final decisions on students they will accept. Invited applicants will arrive to a designated location, and the test proctor will give them one or more essay questions to answer. This may include questions designed to see how you would react in certain situations, and this will help the application review committee gauge factors about your values and personality, such as how well you would respond in stressful situations and how well you communicate.
In addition to testing, nursing programs may require other application materials. This may include letters of reference and a resume showing any health-care experience you have in your work background. You will also need to submit transcripts showing that you completed any prerequisite coursework required for the program, such as science and math classes. Before submitting your test scores and other application materials, create a checklist for the materials necessary for a complete application. Mark off each requirement to ensure the committee will review your materials.