PAX Exam | Pre-Admission Exam – National League for Nursing

Nursing is a challenging and rewarding career. Nurse education programs are demanding, and admission standards are high. If your goal is to receive a nursing degree, the National League for Nursing (NLN) Pre-Admission Examination (PAX) may be required for admission into a desired program. One of the most-used standardized tests for nursing programs, many schools across the United States use the PAX scores as a tool to determine admission.

The PAX Exam covers a wide variety of topics, including: vocabulary and grammar, algebra and geometry, biology and anatomy. So, many prepare themselves for the test with a study guide or relevant coursework at the college level. Although there’s no pass or failing score–because universities all determine t Higher PAX exam scores help students get admitted to colleges of their choice.

Online PAX Prep Course

If you want to be fully prepared, Mometrix offers an online PAX Prep Course. The course is designed to provide you with any and every resource you might want while studying. The PAX Course includes:

  • Review Lessons Covering Every Topic
  • 1,100+ PAX Practice Questions
  • More than 300 Digital Flashcards
  • Over 280 Instructional Videos
  • Money-back Guarantee
  • Free Mobile Access
  • and More!

The PAX Prep Course is designed to help any learner get everything they need to prepare for their PAX exam. Click below to check it out!

What’s in the PAX Exam?

The NLN has created a test containing 160 questions, covering three main subject areas: verbal, mathematics, and science. Test takers will have 2 hours and 5 minutes to complete the entire test. The test, is computer-based or paper form at academic institutions nationwide, is designed to examine the skills and ability of nursing school candidates. Below we have broken down the various parts of the PAX exam so you know how to best prepare.

PAX Verbal Ability

This section of the PAX has 60 questions divided into two subsections: reading comprehension and word knowledge. The reading comprehension subsection contains passages of a scientific or general nature that have 300 to 450 words, and cover a scientific or general area of study.

PAX Math Ability

The math section of the PAX is comprised of 40 “computation and word problems.” This part of the test is designed to gauge your ability to solve arithmetic problems that contain integers, fractions, decimals, percentages, ratio conversions, algebra, and geometry. You will have 35 minutes to complete this section of the exam.

PAX Science ability

The final part of the PAX exam is the Science section. It contains 60 questions and you will have 45 minutes to complete it. Many topics of science are covered by this portion of the test, including: biology, human anatomy and physiology, physics, chemistry, and more. The NLN states that the skills used for the science section are adapted from Bloom’s Taxonomy.

How do I register for an exam?

  1. Create an account and login at the NLN website (
  2. Find “Exam Sessions” and click to find the available options for your university.
  3. Locate the desired date and time before clicking Register.
  4. Click “Save.”
  5. Note: Payment will be taken at the time of registration.

How do I prepare?

  1. Study! Don’t walk into the test unprepared. Get a study guide, flashcards, or test prep course. Whatever it takes to be successful!
  2. Take care of your body. Eat well, get sleep, and exercise if you can. The healthier you are, the better you will be able to process information quickly!

To make this easier on you, we found some helpful PAX study resources!

A person wearing headphones studies at a desk with a laptop, phone, notebook, and a pen. The image promotes a 20% discount on an online PAX course using code PAX20 from Mometrix.

Where Can I Register for the PAX Exam?

Registration for the PAX-PN Exam is handled by academic institutions, so there is no central website for it. Your college website may have a link for registration online, or you may need to contact an advisor in nurse education or a representative from testing services. Test scheduling also varies by institution. Find out about the schedule at your university well in advance to get registered and to have ample time to prepare.

What Do I Need to Know About Test Day?

Specific guidelines for PAX Exam test day will vary by test center. Generally, you’ll be required to show your registration information and a government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license, state ID, or military ID. Sometimes, a second ID is required. Do not plan to take any items into the test center as items such as calculators, purses, backpacks, coats, and electronic devices are usually not permitted. If you require a disability accommodation, please review your registration website for instructions on getting approval and available services. Consult the school website for all specific guidelines.

What Does My PAX Score Indicate?

Unlike some other exams, nursing programs use the PAX score relative to their own admissions standards. Your score may meet the standards of some schools but not of others. In addition, colleges consider more factors than PAX Exam score for admissions, just as in other program admissions. In any case, a higher score will boost the number of schools that are willing to consider you for admission than a lower score. If you’d like to know how your score compares to other PAX participants overall, you can find this information by searching the web. You should receive your test score at the testing site. For an official report to send to additional institutions, contact the NLN. If you aren’t happy with your score, you can take the test up to two more times for a total of three times within a 12-month period. The waiting period before retaking an exam is at least 60 days.

How Can I Prepare for the PAX Exam?

That’s a great question. We’ve broken down the answer into three parts. Do yourself a favor and study. Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try. Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety. Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping. All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance. If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades. Get a study guide or set of flashcards. Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them. We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!

PAX Exam Study Guide

Pax Exam Flashcards

PAX Online Course


Last Updated: March 8, 2024