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The PBS Aptitude for Practical Nursing Exam is very similar to the RN version. It has five tests and three subtests. Tests include Academic Aptitude (with the same 3 subsets as the RN version), Spelling, Math, Natural Sciences. There is no Reading Comprehension section, but instead includes a test on Judgment & Comprehension in Practical Nursing Situations. These results will show how you might handle different situations in the nursing environment. Like most other entrance exams, this test will show your strengths and weaknesses as compared with other applicants.

These are the most commonly used entrance exams. You may run across some others, but whichever test your school requires, there are some basic preparation steps you should take.

Learn all you can about the exam. See what information the college can give you. Check on-line. Many exams have free sample tests you can take. Pay particular attention to the type of questions. If you know others who have taken the same exam, see what they have to say.

Study. Make sure you are prepared. These tests are not easy. If you are weak in any subject, such as fractions—practice, practice, practice. Many times, you will not be able to retake the exam for several months. And, they are expensive. Make your first attempt your best. Study guides are available for many of the exams discussed here. Some of the tests have “pre-tests” or “diagnostic” tests that will give you an idea of the areas you need to study most.

Bring a picture ID and another form of identification just in case the testing center requires two.

If you are taking a paper test, make sure you bring at least two #2 pencils. It’s wise to bring a pencil even if you are taking the exam on computer. You should be given scrap paper to compute math problems but often writing instruments are not provided.

Take your time. Don’t hurry through. This is the first important step in realizing your dream to be a nurse. Nursing programs are in big demand. There are many, many applicants to choose from and colleges are going to choose the students that have the best chance at success.

About the Author

Kelli

Kelli Wilson

RN, BSN

Kelli has over 16 years experience as an RN. During that time she has had hands on clinical as well as management experience.

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