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NLN Pre-Admission Exam (PAX)

The National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination for RN (NLN PAX) is a standardized entrance exam for prospective nursing students used as part of the admissions process by nursing schools nationwide. The NLN PAX is comprised of three major sections:

  • Verbal ability, which assesses reading comprehension, critical thinking, and word knowledge;
  • Mathematics, which assesses mathematical reasoning and problem solving ability involving basic operations, word problems, unit conversions, fractions, decimals, algebra, and geometry; and
  • Science, which assesses knowledge of general biology and microbiology, chemistry, physics, anatomy and physiology, ecology, and health science.

The NLN PAX contains 160 questions total: 60 verbal, 40 math, and 60 science, with 40 minutes allotted to each section.

You can study for the NLN PAX using the NLN Review Guide for RN Pre-Entrance Exam (3rd edition, ISBN: 9781449668495), widely available online and in most bookstores. In 2017, the NLN released online study guides (by subject area) designed to reflect the revised content and format of the NLN PAX. These materials are available by subscription through the NLN Student Store. Additional online learning resources include Khan Academy, Crash Course, CliffsNotes, and Quizlet.


Exam Registration and Schedule

The Hunter College Testing Center at the 68th Street Campus (695 Park Avenue, Rm 150 North, New York, NY 10065) administers this exam to students who plan to apply to the Generic BS or the Accelerated Second-Degree BS program.

April - December 2019 Exam Dates (PDF)

Winter 2020 Exam Dates (PDF)

Register and pay for the exam in advance at the NLN Examination Portal. Be sure to select Hunter College as your test site. On the day of your exam, you will need your NLN Examination Portal login credentials and valid photo ID bearing both your photo and signature. When checking in, a separate administration fee must be paid by money order made payable to the Hunter College Testing Center (695 Park Avenue, Rm 150 North, New York, NY 10065). This fee is separate from the NLN's exam registration fee; please refer to the Testing Center's web page for the current amount.

Hunter College permits test takers to use the Windows desktop calculator during the exam. Students are allowed to take the NLN PAX once every six months. The Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing will accept scores for up to two years. If the exam is taken multiple times, we will consider the highest score in the admissions process.


For information about testing procedures and the latest exam schedule, please visit the Hunter College Testing Center or call 212-772-4868.