Pax Exam

The National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination (NLN-PAX) is a standardized entrance exam for prospective nursing students seeking admission to nursing schools across the country. It is also the cause for a lot of procrastination and anxiety for nursing school hopefuls! But don’t let this test get the best of you, or let it stand in your way of success. Knowing what to expect will help you prepare, and we’re committed to arming you with information that will make studying for the PAX a little easier.

The PAX is a computerized, multiple choice test and administered in group sessions that are supervised by a proctor.

The test is structurally broken down into three sections:

Verbal (40 min. and 60 questions): Word knowledge and reading comprehension

Math (40 min. and 40 questions): Basic calculations, word problems, Algebra, Geometry, conversions, and graphs

Science (40 min. and 60 questions): General Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Health, Human Anatomy and Human Physiology

Remember students may NOT use their own calculator.  A calculator will be provided by the Galen Admissions office.  You’ll want to brush up on your basic calculating skills. For video math tutorials, check out

Take advantage of the multiple choice format.  As silly as it sounds, try to remember that there IS a correct answer right in front of you, and all you have to do is select it from among three distracters. Use the process of elimination to rule out incorrect answers.

Go with your gut!  Don’t second guess yourself. More often than not; if you know something about the subject, your first answer is likely to be correct.

Answer every question! There is no penalty for choosing the wrong answer so answer every question.

Answer the hard questions first. Remember, this test has time limits, so don’t take time to determine answers that don’t easily come to you. Skip them and come back to them later. If you’re still unsure, take your best educated guess and move on.

Speaking of educated guesses… Before you guess, try to eliminate one or more of the choices.  Then make the educated guess out of two or three. (That’s a lot better than one out of four!)

Practice! This is a timed exam, so pace yourself. Practice answering timed questions ahead of time so that you get into a rhythm before the actual exam.

Tips for Exam Day…

  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before.
  • Eat a good breakfast and stay hydrated.
  • Relax and stay calm. Go for a brisk walk or run to clear your head before the exam.
  • Watch the time during the test, but do not panic if it runs out.
  • Use any extra time to review your work.
  • Create a PAX Pinterest Board full of study tips and confidence building quotes (or check out ours, here) to get you amped up on test day.

The Study Guides

The National League for Nursing’s official self-published study guide, PAX PREP, is only available through the online NLN Student Store.

PAX Prep Resources

Keep the faith! With the right amount of preparation and confidence, you’ll pass the PAX in no time and be well on your way to becoming an awesome nurse.



The National League for Nursing Pre –Admission Examination (NLN PAX) is a standardized entrance exam for potential nursing students who seek admittance into nursing schools nationwide.

The NLN PAX comprises three main areas: verbal skills, which consists of both word knowledge and reading comprehension; mathematics, which includes basic calculations, word problems, and incorporates algebra, geometry, conversions, and graphs; and science, which examines general biology, chemistry, physics, health, human anatomy, and human physiology.

Each section consists of all multiple-choice questions. In order to earn the best possible score, test takers will need to answer all test questions presented in each section of the PAX.

Please contact your admissions representative to register and schedule your PAX exam.

Current photo ID (driver’s license, state ID or military ID)
Students may NOT use their own calculator. A calculator will be provided by the Galen Admissions office.

Please plan approximately 2 hours for the entire exam. Each section is 40 minutes, Verbal, Math, and Science, and there are specific instructions for each section. You must complete all sections to receive a composite score. Please arrive 30-minutes before your scheduled examination period to allow adequate time for check-in. The exams will start on time; late entry into the testing area is not permitted.

Galen offers the PAX exam several times each month at many convenient times, including morning, afternoon and weekends. Please contact your admission representative for more information. Exams are administered in group sessions, computer based, and always supervised by a proctor.

Examinees taking online exams will NOT receive a paper copy of their results; they can access their results online when the exam is complete.

The National League for Nursing allows Galen to access exam results; you will not need to supply your results to Galen.

Special accommodations are available for qualified individuals. Please contact your admission representative for further information.

Any individual wishing to re-take the PAX exam is required to wait a minimum of 60-days before being eligible to repeat the exam. The PAX may not be taken more than three times within a 12-month period.

PAX scores are valid for five years.