The Psychological Services Bureau (PSB) RN Exam is also referred to as the Nursing School Aptitude Exam, as it is used by numerous nursing programs and schools as part of their admission process. Your scores on this exam alone will not ensure your entrance into any school or program. However, this exam and your scores on it go a long way in helping such schools and programs decide if you are a good fit for them and have what it takes to be successful in this field.

Who is Eligible?

All those who are applying for admittance into a nursing school or program with the intent to receive a diploma or degree will most likely have to take this exam. However, each school sets its own criteria for eligibility. Some may require that you be a certain age, have completed other tests, or had a certain amount of education beforehand.

There is also a fee for this exam set by the school or program, most charge about $25. Be sure to check with your prospective school or program to know what your requirements and the testing fee will be.

When and Where Can I Take it?

Each school or program also gets to decide when, where, and how their prospective students take the PSB RN exam. Some may take them on their campus a couple of times a month, while others may use a local professional testing center.

Most are taken using computers, that automatically calculate the amount of time left after each question and your score at the end. However, some exams are known to be taken using paper and pencil. Check with your school admissions office or department to make sure you are taking the appropriate measures to make your exam appointment and if there are any specifics you need to know prior.

What Should I Bring?

As with any exam, it is important that arrive on time. Depending on the circumstances of the exam you may be required to arrive early and to check into the testing area. This may demand that you present at least one government-issued photo ID.

Your admissions office or the department that handles the appointments for this exam will be able to advise you if you need to bring such items as pencils or any test-taking materials. Calculators are not allowed for any section of subtest of the exam.

You may be prohibited from bringing any other personal items as well. This may include cell phones, food and drinks, watches, jewelry, and any outerwear. Knowing the testing area rules and procedures is essential to this exam so make yourself familiar with them.

What is Covered?

This exam is made up of five tests, with one of those containing three subtests.

Below is a brief description of each test and subtest, as well as, the number of questions given in each.

Part 1 – Academic Aptitude

Verbal (V) – 30 multiple choice questions

In this subtest, you will focus on your vocabulary skills and the ability to use proper word usage in each situation.

Arithmetic (A) – 30 multiple choice questions

Here your abilities regarding mathematical concepts and computational speed will be measured in comparison to that of an eighth-grade student.

Nonverbal (NV) – 30 multiple choice questions

In the nonverbal subtest, you will be given visual images, shapes, and concepts and asked to manipulate, comprehend, and decide their relationships, similarities, and differences.

Part 2 – Spelling (50 multiple choice questions)

This section helps to determine your skills in written expression and communication in regards to spelling, as it is important to communicate effectively in this profession.

Part 3 – Reading Comprehension (40 multiple choice questions)

In this test, you will be given passages to read and then questions about those passages that measure your ability to understand, interpret, observe, and comprehend the information provided.

Part 4 – Information in the Natural Sciences (90 multiple choice questions)

This test evaluates your knowledge of natural sciences such as biology, health and safety, and chemistry at an elementary level.

Part 5 – Vocational Adjustment Index (90 questions)

This section has to do with your personality characteristics, attitudes, feelings, and behavioral traits, as these are often reflected in the work that you do. It is meant to help decide if your lifestyle choices and these characteristics are a good fit for the nursing and healthcare profession.

You will have one hour and 45 minutes to complete all 360 questions.

How is it Scored?

Your score report will include your raw scores (the number of correctly answered questions) for each of the five tests in the exam as well as your percentile rank. This percentile rank describes your raw score in comparison to other test takers.

Your report will also include a graphic chart of these percentile ranks and a verbal score, such as “very low” or “superior”. There is no minimum passing score, as this is an aptitude exam but you are encouraged to do your best as the higher your score, the more likely you will be recognized by your nursing school

It is important to remember that acceptance into any nursing preparation program is not based solely on your test results. Each nursing program will have their own set of criteria you must meet to be admitted; this may include a certain percentile rank or raw score on each test/subtest. Be sure to know what these requirements are. 

How Can I Prepare for the PSB-RN Test?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

Study Guide



Last Updated: December 13, 2019