The National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination, or NLN PAX, includes sections covering verbal skills, mathematics and science. Each of these sections is the focus of one hour of the test. The exam is a prerequisite for anyone seeking admission to a practical or vocational nursing program.
The verbal skills section of the exam covers vocabulary and reading comprehension. The content of the section is usually not specifically related to nursing. Similar to other standardized tests, the vocabulary questions require the test taker to identify synonyms and antonyms and provide the definitions of words in a certain context. The reading comprehension portion of the exam requires the test taker to find the main idea of a text, determine facts based on the context of a passage, and evaluate the strength or weakness of an author's argument.
The mathematics section of the exam tests basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, conversions, graphs, applied mathematics and word problem skills. As with the verbal skills section, the content of the section usually does not relate to nursing or health care.
For the science section of the exam, test takers must answer questions on biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, and health and first aid. The questions are typically in one of two formats: the test taker must either give information based on personal knowledge or solve problems based on information provided in the exam.
The PAX PN/VN examination is conducted as a hand-written test; a computer-based PAX PN/VN examination is not available as of 2015. The examination is made up entirely of multiple-choice questions, and candidates have three hours in which to complete the examination.