What Is National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination (NLN PAX) Test?
Last Updated on February 8, 2023
Do you have to take the NLN PAX test to begin your career as a nurse? This is a standard test that your peers will also face, but that doesn’t make it any less daunting. If you are worried about what to expect and how to prepare for the exam, you are in the right place. We will cover all you need to know about the test and the best place to find an NLN practice test.
What Is the NLN Test?
The National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination — also known as the NLN PAX — is an entrance exam designed to assess the suitability of students looking to enter nursing programs in the United States.
Previously, there were two versions of the PAX, and these comprised the RN and the PN. Nowadays, the exam has been streamlined and now exists as one sole PAX exam.
What Qualifications Do I Need to Take the PAX Exam?
In order to be eligible to take your PAX exam, you must have obtained a high school diploma or GED. Each individual nursing study program will be able to set its own minimum pass score for potential candidates.
What Is the Format of the PAX Exam?
The PAX exam is delivered in a multiple choice format containing 160 questions and is taken on a computer. Prospective candidates will be required to register for the exam online through the NLN testing website. The test will generally be administered at designated locations throughout the country. These will mainly be at the nursing schools themselves.
Some nursing colleges will give information directly from their websites about how to register and the available dates for testing. It will be up to you to do your research about your chosen program and find the registration details specific to it.
The PAX test comprises three separate sections in the areas:
This section assesses word knowledge, reading comprehension, and critical thinking.
60 questions in 45 minutes divided into two sub-sections, namely –
- Reading Comprehension
- Word Knowledge
Here you will encounter questions covering basic computations and quantitative reasoning skills, graphs, conversions, geometry, algebra, and some math word problems.
40 questions in 35 minutes subject areas include:
- Ration and Measurement Conversion
- Mathematical Concepts
In this section, the question topics will include biology, chemistry, physics, human health, anatomy, and physiology.
60 questions in 45 minutes.
Question topics include:
- Human Anatomy
- Human Physiology
How Is the PAX Exam Scored?
You should be able to access your exam score four hours after completion. You will be able to log into the NLN account that you will have created on registration and your results will be easily accessed via the Reports Tab.
Each nursing college or program will set its own pass rate, and therefore there is no standardized pass mark. It would be a good idea to check the pass rate designated by your chosen college prior to taking the exam so that you have a good idea of what you should be aiming to achieve during your practice.
You should be able to find information about the set percentiles on the program or college website.
There is an individual pass score from 1-200 and a percentile for each of the three sections described above. There will also be an overall percentile rank for the entire test.
Preparation for your NLN test is key because if you do not meet the required grade for one section of the exam, then you must retake the entire test. The resources at TestPrep-Online can help to ensure that you pass all sections first time.
What Style Of Questions Might I Encounter?
Below, you will find a couple of examples of the style of questions that you could encounter under each of the three topic sections.
Select the word that will complete the sentence most correctly.
When the soccer game was over, Sam rushed to the edge of the pitch and grabbed a water bottle to soothe his arid throat. Arid means:
a. Humid b. Scorched c. Parched d. Dusty
Upon completion of her first single, Jody pledged to make sure the album would be just as amazing. Pledged means
a. Denied b. Promised c. invigorated d. Germinated
Which of the following numbers has the greatest value?
a. 4379 b. 1.06548 c. 1.43582 d. 0.89309
Which of the following has the same value as 6 x 12
a. 2 x 4 x 4 x 2 b. 7 x 4 x 3 c. 6 x 6 x 3 d. 3 x 3 x 4 x 2
Which of these statements about white blood cells is correct?
a. B cells are responsible for antibody production
b. White blood cells are made in the white/yellow cartilage before they enter the bloodstream.
c. Platelets, a special class of white blood cells, function to clot blood and stop bleeding.
d. The majority of white blood cells only activate during the age of puberty, which explains why children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to disease.
Which locations in the digestive system are sites of chemical digestion?
a. Stomach b. Small intestine c. Stomach and small intestine d. a, b and c
How Can I Prepare for My PAX Exam?
The PAX exam is one of the most widely used nursing tests. If you have chosen to pursue a career in nursing, it is crucial that you prepare adequately for your test. Making adequate preparations will be fundamental to your success. The resources and TestPrep-Online can most certainly help you to achieve your goals.
The PAX exam is certainly challenging and it has earned it the reputation of being one of the top pre-admission nursing tests. One of the reasons it is so tricky is due to the variety of topics contained in the exam.
Add to that the quite tight time limits and the fact that not all questions on the paper are graded, and you will begin to see why preparation and practice are so important.
Here are some top tips to make sure that you give yourself the best possible chance at success:
- Flashcards – They can be a great way to make the best use of spare moments when going about your day. All too often, we can get distracted scrolling through videos on social media or other white noise in our daily lives! Having your revision notes in bullet points on flashcards that you carry with you will mean that you can make productive use of any spare moments to commit your knowledge and learning to memory. Little and often is sometimes much more productive than long periods of study where concentration can wane.
- Procrastination – It can be a dangerous enemy when we have jobs to do. Setting yourself a realistic yet comprehensive timetable will make it easier for you to keep your studying on track and mean that you are less likely to leave things until the last minute.
- Breaks – They are an important part of any study regime. Working too hard or for too long periods will only mean that you become tired. This could actually hinder your progress. Both short and long breaks can help you to stay focused and also give your brain a little break meaning that it will be better able to retain information when you return to your studies. It will also give you something to look forward to, especially if your breaks are properly scheduled and intentional. Make sure your breaks contain some form of physical movement where possible to keep both your body and mind active – cycling, walking, or running can be great ways to unwind.
- Preparation – Fail to prepare, prepare to fail! No doubt one of the best ways in which you can prepare for your PAX exam is to take practice tests under timed exam conditions. This will enable you to become accustomed to working under pressure and will also mean that you will be able to clearly identify your areas of strength and of weakness. The practice tests at TestPrep-Online will mean that you become familiar with the format and question style of your upcoming test, and consequently, your confidence and skill will improve as a result.
- Health – It is no surprise that our physical and mental health are intrinsically linked, and therefore it is vital that you take great care of both in the run-up to your exam. Making sure that you eat a healthy, balanced diet, keep well hydrated and get regular good sleep will help you to perform at your best. The PAX exam can be quite stressful and put you under considerable pressure; being in tip-top health will play a vital role in boosting your ability to learn and retain the information that you need in order to pass.
- What kind of learner are you? Do you prefer a little background music, or is silence the best way for you to learn? Understanding the prime conditions for you will really help you to choose the best surroundings and time of day for your study sessions. All of these little details can have a significant impact.
- Once you have identified your areas of weakness, start with these topics first to give them the time and attention they need. Don’t be tempted to focus on the topic areas that are easiest for you, as these will ultimately need less time to perfect.
- Be organized with your schedule and try to be strict with yourself. Don’t get too caught up in one topic during revision; otherwise you could run out of time for other areas that need your attention.
- If you know others who are taking the exam along with you, then studying in a group can be hugely helpful. Discussing your studies with others can be a fantastic way to retain information. It will also help you to mix your study routines up a bit – reading, writing, presentations, question and answer sessions; sticking to just one style of revision can allow your brain to almost run on autopilot and thus you will not retain as much information as you might otherwise.
There is no doubt that the NLN – PAX exam is one of the most challenging and, therefore, daunting examinations used in admission to the many nursing programs available. However, your best chance of success will undoubtedly be the amount of time and effort you put into your exam preparation.
The comprehensive resources available from TestPrep-Online will mean that you can practice under timed exam conditions, becoming fully familiar with what is in store for you on the day.
The fewer unpleasant surprises you encounter, the better your chances of acing your test and being able to pursue your dream career!
Knowing that you have the right practice material will give you the confidence to overcome the challenges presented by the tight time frame, multiple topics covered, and also the question content.
A well-planned study routine will mean that you can maintain both your motivation and focus in the run-up to the real exam. Don’t forget, you need to pass all sections in order to be successful. Practice really is the only way to get the results you need.
Written by Karen Stanley
Karen is a former teacher of 20 years and ten times published author. She writes content for educational organizations and businesses, nationally and internationally. She coaches new and budding writers through to publication and is passionate about creativity; she runs creative writing workshops in schools and fostering agencies.