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The National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination (NLN PAX) is a standardized test that potential nursing students must take prior to being admitted into a nursing program. There are two different versions of the NLN PAX: One for RN programs and one for LPN/LVN programs. This multiple-choice exam is made up of 214 questions that test candidates on verbal skills, mathematics, science. The PAX-PN also has a section on health and first aid. The verbal portion includes both vocabulary and reading comprehension sections. The mathematics portion is made up of word problems, basic calculations, algebraic equations, geometry, conversions, graphs, and application questions. In the science section, the questions include biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science. Out of the 214 questions, only a percentage of them are scored. The remaining questions are included for test development purposes only.

Eligibility and Registration

Anyone who has applied for a registered nursing program is eligible to sit for the NLN PAX. Candidates are advised to apply for and take the exam early so that there is time to take it a second time if necessary. After taking the exam the initial time, one must wait six months to take it again. Many nursing schools will accept NLN PAX scores for two years after the exam is taken. Candidates who score high on the exam are often given preference for admission to nursing programs. One can register to take the exam and pay the required fee on the NLN website.

The NLN allows candidates to choose their preferred test site. Students should see the exam rules at the schools they are applying for before choosing a test site, because some nursing schools require that potential students take the exam at their location. For example, the Miami Dade County Medical Campus RN program does not accept NLN PAX scores from other testing locations for Florida residents. Those who reside out of state must request approval to take the exam at another testing center.

Preparing for the NLN PAX

Like many standardized tests, the NLN PAX tests candidates on topics from a variety of subjects. For this reason, it can be difficult to know how to study for the exam. The NLN recommends purchasing a study guide in order to prepare for this exam. These review guides are published by Jones and Bartlett, and are available on the NLN website. The site also features a review question bank. It may also be helpful to review notes and exams from high school in the subject areas featured on the NLN PAX.

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