Psychological Services Bureau (PSB) Test: A Comprehensive Study Guide

If you are looking to work in the healthcare sector, you may have to take the PSB, or Psychological Services Bureau, exam. The exam may look different depending on the career path you are following, but regardless of the sector, it can be equally nerve-wracking.

Discover all you need to know about the PSB Test, where to find the best practice tests, and how to pass it with ease.

What Is the PSB Test?

The PSB test is used for any individuals looking to pursue a career in the healthcare sector. The test will evaluate candidates’ strengths and weaknesses in regard to following their proposed career path and will be used as an assessment tool for application to their chosen college or relevant educational establishment.

The tests themselves will likely be sat on the premises of your chosen college or healthcare organization and will be undertaken on a computer or on paper depending upon the institutional preferences.

For some colleges, you may also be asked to take part in an in-person interview along with the PSB test, but this will vary from place to place. It is probably best to check prior to the application what the full admission process is for your chosen college.

The score that you gain on your PSB tests will form an integral part of your overall application. Whilst it will not be sufficient to guarantee you acceptance by itself, a good PSB score will certainly improve your chance of success.


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What Does the PSB Test Entail?


The actual type of PSB test that you take will depend upon the study program that you have chosen to pursue. There are four different tests, and these are:

  • PSB-PN – The Aptitude for Practical Nursing Examination
  • PSB – HO – Health Occupations Aptitude Examination
  • PSB – RSN – Registered Nursing School Aptitude Examination
  • Reading Comprehension Examination

PSB-PN – The Aptitude for Practical Nursing Examination

This test is for aspiring practical and vocational nurses.

The purpose of the PSB-PN is to find competent individuals who have the dedication to commit to a career in nursing along with the qualification and suitability to such a career.

There are five parts to the test that will enable the examiner to ascertain the readiness of each individual candidate for the demanding nature of a nursing career.

Part one – Academic Aptitude

In this section, you will be assessed on your overall ability across different academic subjects. You will also be asked to demonstrate your skill when it comes to reasoning, drawing conclusions, and staying calm under pressure.

There are three subsections:

  • Verbal – these questions will assess the breadth of your vocabulary by asking you to identify the odd one out in a list of given words.
  • Arithmetic – This section will present a range of mathematical questions pitched around an eighth-grade level. You will need to be able to answer accurately but also with speed. The questions will cover the topic areas of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, percentages, and ratios.
  • Non-verbal – In this section, you will be asked to find patterns from a series of images and objects as well as show that you can manipulate shapes mentally.


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Part Two – Spelling

The purpose of this section of the test is to enable you to demonstrate the level of your written communication skills via a range of spelling-based questions. In some cases, you’ll be given several versions of the same word and asked to identify which is the correct spelling.

Part Three – Information In The Natural Sciences

A broad range of subjects, including biology, chemistry, and health and safety will be covered in this part of the test.

Part Four – Judgment And Comprehension In Practical Nursing Situations

A career in nursing will require you to make decisions using your intuition and sound judgment on a daily basis. Test administrators will want to know how well equipped you are likely to be to deal with this kind of pressure.

Part Five – Vocational Adjustment Index

There are certain behaviors and personality traits that are required to become a skilled and exemplary nurse. This section of the test will evaluate your personal opinions, feelings, characteristics, and judgments and ascertain whether they are in line with the ideal characteristics for a nurse.


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PSB – HO – Health Occupations Aptitude Examination

This test is designed for individuals who are interested in a range of different healthcare careers and is therefore more varied in nature.

This test is very similar to the Aptitude for Practical Nursing Examination and uses the same structure, except that the section on situational judgment is replaced by one on reading comprehension.

The five sections for this test are as for the PSB-PN and include:

  • Academic Aptitude
  • Spelling
  • Information in the Natural Sciences
  • Vocational Adjustment Index
  • Reading Comprehension

In the fifth section, Reading Comprehension, you’ll be asked to read passages of text and answer related questions. You’ll need to demonstrate that you are able to separate fact from fiction, analyze the author’s intent, organize ideas and understand what you have read in order to interpret the information.

PSB – RSN – Registered Nursing School Aptitude Examination

This test was originally developed to assess the readiness of a candidate for a career in nursing but is now more commonly used to evaluate planning and placement for the curriculum.

Reading Comprehension Examination

As its name suggests, this test will ask you to read passages of text before answering questions on the given information.

This test will give the examiner a clear idea of you well you are able to read but also can give an indication of how you learn and the ways in which you may be likely to respond to the many challenges you will encounter throughout your career.

It has been proven that those individuals who gain a high score on the reading comprehension test are generally bright and well motivated.

These are exactly the qualities that healthcare organizations will be looking to enroll. Similarly, any weaker areas can be used to form a personal development plan tailored to your needs when you begin your course.


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How Are the PSB Tests Administered?

Once you have registered online to take your PSB test, you will be able to select a suitable time, date, and location for your test. As mentioned earlier, it is very likely that you will sit the test in the place where you intend to study.

The format will vary between organizations, and you should check to make sure that you are comfortable with the available options, be it computer or paper format.

You will not be permitted to bring anything to the test other than a pencil and a blank sheet of paper if appropriate. You will need your photo ID, and you should check that the name on your test paper matches that on your identification documents.

How Is the PSB Scored?

If you have taken your PSB test on a computer, you will receive your results immediately. For those who have taken the paper version of the test, results should be delivered within 24 hours.

You will receive two formats of your score:

  • Raw score – This is simply the number of questions that you answered correctly and may be shown as a percentage.
  • Percentile Rank – In this case, your score will be ranked against all the other students who have taken the test. For example, a percentile ranking of 90% means that only 10% of students have achieved a score better than yours.


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How Can I Prepare for My PSB Test?

A girl using laptop

As with all exams, preparation is very often the key to success. The resources at Test Prep can really help you to ensure that you understand the format and style of questions that you face and will mean that you can enter the exam with confidence and a reassuring level of familiarity.

The tests cover an awful lot of subject matter, and so it is important to do plenty of practice papers and not leave your study until the last minute!

Perhaps more than many other careers, personality and characteristics are a vital part of successful nursing and healthcare. It is not advisable to be untruthful on these types of questions.

However, it is important that you understand which traits and qualities are most highly rated in order to demonstrate that you are a good match for a career of such importance.

When carrying out your practice at home, be sure to do so under exam conditions. Make sure you time yourself and get well used to working to a time limit. You won’t be allowed to take breaks or refer to your notes in the exam so you shouldn’t do this when you take your practice tests.

Try to mix things up a bit; crosswords and word searches can be great practice for spelling or comprehension questions, for example.

Make sure that you are well rested and take plenty of breaks during your study periods. Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals and stay hydrated. A good night’s sleep and regular breaks for some fresh air and a little exercise will ensure that you remain physically and mentally prepared.


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Can I Retake the PSB Test?

If you are unsuccessful in your first attempt, it is possible to retake your PSB test up to two times in a one-year period. However, this is not an ideal situation and can cause you additional stress and pressure.

Making sure that you are adequately prepared and well practiced beforehand will give you a better chance of acing the test first time.

Is the PSB Test Difficult?

A career in any healthcare sector can be very challenging, and therefore only the very best candidates are taken to ensure that they are ready and able to cope with what lies ahead. It is for this reason that the test is designed to be at a level that adequately challenges potential candidates to ensure that only the very best achieve success.

Having said that, the key to your success will lie in the effectiveness of your preparation. Provided that you have given yourself enough time to prepare, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be able to achieve a positive result.

In summary

A career in health care requires dedication, commitment, professionalism, and a high level of skill. Healthcare professionals must demonstrate the ability to work under pressure, remain calm in stressful situations, and be able to work on their own initiative, having the courage of their convictions.

The PSB test is challenging in order to make sure that new candidates possess all of the relevant skills and abilities that make for outstanding healthcare workers – whatever their chosen field.

With the same level of commitment and dedication to your exam preparations, along with the comprehensive resources from Test Prep, there is no reason why you cannot ace your test and stand out amongst your competitors.

Identifying your strengths and weaknesses and becoming familiar with the test format and question styles through practice will mean that you can take your test with confidence and calm assurance.

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.

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