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Don't Stress the (PAX) Test!

The National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination (NLN-PAX) is a standardized entrance exam for potential nursing students who seek admittance into nursing schools nationwide. It is also the cause for a lot of procrastination and anxiety for nursing school hopefuls! But don’t let this test get the best of you, or let it stand in your way of success. Knowing what to expect will help you prepare, and we’re committed to arming you with information that will make studying for the PAX a little easier.

The test is structurally broken down into three sections: 

Verbal: Working knowledge, reading comprehension (80 questions, 1 hour)

Math: Arithmetic, basic algebra, geometry, graphs and data interpretation (54 questions, 1 hour)

Science: high school level biology, chemistry, physics and earth science. (80 questions, 1 hour)

Remember that no calculators are allowed, so you’ll want to want to brush up on your basic calculating. For video math tutorials, check out www.khanacademy.org

Take advantage of the multiple choice format.  As silly as it sounds, try to remember that there IS a correct answer right in front of you, and all you have to do is select it from among three distracters. Use the process of elimination to rule out incorrect answers.

Go with your gut!  Don’t second guess yourself. More often than not; if you know something about the subject, your first answer is likely to be correct.

Answer every question! There is no penalty for choosing the wrong answer so make you answer every question.

Answer the hard questions first. Remember, this test has time limits, so don’t take time to determine answers that don’t easily come to you. Skip them and come back to them later. If you’re still unsure, take your best educated guess and move on.

Speaking of educated guesses… Before you guess, try to eliminate one or more of the choices.  Then make the educated guess out of two or three. (That’s a lot better than one out of four!)

Practice! This is a timed exam, so pace yourself. Practice answering timed questions ahead of time so that you get into a rhythm before the actual exam.

Tips for Exam Day...

  • Get a good night's sleep the night before.
  • Eat a good breakfast and stay hydrated.
  • Relax and stay calm. Go for a brisk walk or run to clear your head before the exam.
  • Watch the time during the test, but do not panic if it runs out. 
  • Use any extra time to review your work.
  • Create a PAX Pinterest Board full of study tips and confidence building quotes (or check out ours, here) to get you amped up on test day.


The Study Guides

  • Review Guide for RN Pre-Entrance Exam, 3rd Edition (ISBN: 9780763762711 - Author: National League for Nursing)
  • Review Guide for LPN/LVN Pre-Entrance Exam, 3rd Edition (ISBN: 9780763762704 - Author: National League for Nursing)

You can pick up these study guides at www.directtextbook.com, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, or through your local college bookstores.

PAX Prep Resources

Keep the faith! With the right amount of preparation and confidence, you’ll pass the PAX in no time and be well on your way to becoming an awesome nurse.

If you still have questions about the PAX, visit our FAQ page at www.galencollege.edu/pax

Jenn Meredith

Jenn Meredith

Marketing Coordinator

Jenn Meredith is a frequent blog contributor and coordinates Digital and Content Marketing for Galen College of Nursing.