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Nursing entrance exams make or break a student’s chances for nursing school enrollment. By offering a challenging entrance exam, higher educational institutions screen initial applicants before admission. These tests assess the academic competencies and potential nursing capabilities of students. The chosen nursing entrance test varies by institution.
What is the best admission exam?
In 2015, a study statistically analyzed the pre-admission nursing exam results over five years to determine which tests predict success in an associate degree nursing program (source). The tests surveyed were the Pre-Admission Examination for Registered Nurses (National League of Nursing), the A2 admission assessment from Health Education Systems Inc. (HESI), and the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) from Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI). The analysis demonstrated that the HESI A2 examination scores correlated with success in the nursing program.
How many retakes is too many?
In 2018, studies addressed how nursing admissions should confront the issue where one student takes the entrance exam multiple times. The examinee scores higher with each attempt. The limitation of the study was that it only evaluated those students who scored high enough on the TEAS to be admitted to nursing school and completed the first semester. The results showed that the assurance of nursing success relates to the average of all test attempts. Admission for both ADN and BSN programs should depend on the mean of all score data. However, there must be a limit. Individuals who take the TEAS six or more times have significantly lower nursing performance than their peers (source).
Questions remain regarding the ideal entrance exam and the number of test retakes. It is time to establish a rigorous competency for nursing admissions that is expressly related to program data about student success.
Caitlin Goodwin MSN, RN, CNM is a Board Certified Nurse-Midwife and freelance writer. She has ten years of nursing experience and graduated with a MSN from Frontier Nursing University.