Sitting for the nursing entrance exam may not be on your list of “fun things to do this week” list, but a bit of preparation will help calm your pre-test panic. The more you are prepared and know what to expect, the calmer you will be and the better will be your chances of clearing the test. Karen Owens, an Associate Lecturer for Clinical, advises, “Know your math, especially fractions and conversions. When answering open questions, use life experiences and be honest. Be concise with your answers”.

Research what exam you have to write to be admitted to the School of Nursing where you want to study. To be accepted into the University of Texas at El Paso nursing program, for example, you have to write the Test of Essential Academic Skills which includes reading, math, science and English and Language Usage. If you want to go to Shadyside, you will have to score 80 percent or higher on the Psychological Services Bureau Nursing School Aptitude Examination.

Ask the nursing school if there is an information package available. This will help you determine the exact requirements of the test you are going to write and the package will contain other valuable information.

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Study the format of the exam. Just as different nursing schools and programs have different nursing entrance exams, the formats also differ considerably. Some exams are computer generated and require a multiple-choice answer while others may require essay style answers. A good understanding of the format will help you anticipate how to use your exam time in the best possible manner.

Work with another student. Angst loves company, so working with someone who is also writing the test allows you to share ideas, quiz each other and generally commiserate.

Take notes. As you study, note important information, identify concepts you do not understand and list areas that require further work. Where you record your jottings – in a notebook or on the computer – does not matter so long as you can easily refer to them when needed.

Review the material. Make sure you understand all the important concepts. Seek further clarification from other students, teachers or the Internet about confusing points.


  • Check all the details about the exam. Make sure you know where it is being held, what time it starts and what fees is involved. It would be a shame to do all the preparation work only to show up on the wrong day.
  • Get a good night’s sleep the before the exam and then eat breakfast. The more relaxed and confident you are, the better your score will be.

About the Author

Jody Hanson began writing professionally in 1992 to help finance her second around-the-world trip. In addition to her academic books, she has written for "International Living," the "Sydney Courier" and the "Australian Woman's Forum." Hanson holds a Ph.D. in adult education from Greenwich University.