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The Definitive Practice Test Guide for the NLN PAX

About the NLN PAX

The NLN PAX, or the National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination, serves as a critical standardized entrance exam for potential nursing students aiming to gain admission into nursing schools across the United States. It plays a pivotal role in the admissions process of many nursing schools by assessing basic academic skills at the high school level in key areas such as reading comprehension, math, and science. Designed to evaluate a candidate’s academic abilities, the NLN PAX is utilized as one component among others in the admissions process to ascertain the preparedness of applicants for the rigors and challenges of nursing school education.

By testing essential academic skills, the NLN PAX provides nursing schools with a standardized measure to help identify candidates who possess the foundational knowledge necessary to succeed in a demanding nursing curriculum. This ensures that admitted students are well-equipped to handle the academic requirements of their nursing education, ultimately contributing to their success in the nursing profession.

Sections of the NLN PAX


The Math section of the NLN PAX covers high school-level math content, including fractions, decimals, percentages, ratios, and measurements. You should be familiar with essential concepts from algebra and geometry and be able to apply those mathematical concepts in problem-solving.


This section of the NLN PAX assesses knowledge in biology (including human anatomy and physiology), physics, chemistry, and health.


The NLN PAX Verbal section assesses skills in several areas of reading. It is important that you can read, comprehend, and answer questions about written material. Some of the questions will ask you to identify the meaning of a word as it is used in a sentence.

What to Expect on Test Day

Your testing experience may vary depending on the guidelines set by your chosen school, but you can expect the actual exam to last about two hours. Each section will be timed for 40 minutes. There are standard best practices when it comes to taking any test, including making sure you have eaten a good breakfast and getting a good night’s sleep before taking the test.

What to Bring

Generally, any standardized test entry requires presenting a government ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. A student ID may be accepted, depending on the requirements of your testing site. Be sure to check with your facility for their specific requirements.

What Not to Bring

It’s never a good idea to bring electronics or other unnecessary items to a testing situation, including a cell phone. Again, verify what is allowed at your testing location and if there is storage provided for disallowed items during the test.

Best Ways to Study for the NLN PAX

Take NLN PAX Practice Tests

Practice tests are one of the best ways to prepare for the NLN PAX. There is no substitute for actually practicing with questions about the material covered by the test. That way, you can figure out what you do and don’t know and adjust your study practices to meet your specific needs.

Use Alternative Study Methods

Many times, just practicing the questions is not enough to make you feel really confident. Try using flashcards or forming a study group to discuss the test content. Sometimes, hearing others talk about the material can clear things up and help you commit ideas to memory.

Simulate the Testing Experience

We provide you with enough practice questions to accurately simulate test day. Set an alarm for the allotted time and see how well you can concentrate and still stay within the time limits. Then, you’ll have a feel for the pace that is needed when you take the test.

NLN PAX Tips and Tricks

Don’t wait until the last minute to study.

There is a lot of ground to cover when it comes to the reading comprehension, math, and science topics covered on the NLN PAX. It may take some time to review it all. Trying to cram all of this prep into a last-minute study session will only cause you to feel overwhelmed and anxious. Even if you feel like you know the topics, it’s best to give yourself as much time as possible to review so that you’ll feel more confident during the test.

Use all the resources available.

Whether it’s our test prep material (including practice questions, flashcards, and study guides) or tools you find elsewhere, use every authentic prep tool you can find. Don’t forget that other people can be a great resource too. Forming a study group and trading information with others can be valuable as you prepare.

Don’t stress your test performance too much.

Yes, you want to get into nursing school, and yes, a good score on this test may be an important step in doing so. But it’s not the only factor that schools will be evaluating you on. So, do your best on the test, but don’t let it overwhelm you.


Being a good nurse involves a lot of math- and science-related skills, as well as strong reading comprehension, so the NLN PAX focuses on your basic abilities in all of these areas. Since it is a test to enter nursing school, however, you may see more questions related to situations and concepts that could come up in nursing than you would on another test.

2. How hard is the NLN PAX?

This test assesses high school-level skills in the areas of reading comprehension, math, and science. If you take time to review concepts in all of these areas, including doing extra practice in any areas that you are weaker in, you should be ready for the test.

3. Where do I take the NLN PAX?

Most nursing schools that use this test for admission either provide a testing space or have contracted with a testing agency to administer the test. Check with your institution for their particular testing arrangements.

4. What if I don’t get the required score the first time?

You are allowed to retake the NLN PAX, but you must wait six months before doing so. If you fail to get the score you need, you are highly encouraged to analyze your test report and focus specifically on any areas of weakness.

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