at the time i applied to nursing school it was not. today, it seems like so many schools require some type of this testing. i think part of the reason is because grades are not a reliable indicator of what students were taught or actually know. tests given by individual instructors are totally subjective. these entrance tests are an attempt to measure student knowledge objectively.
the net (nurse entrance test) is written by some educational corporation that is sold to schools individually. each nursing school then administers the tests to their prospective nursing students. there is no official study guide publication that is printed by the corporation writing this test. students have to contact the nursing school they are going to be taking this exam from to get information about what is on it. you can do a websearch for the net and you will sometimes be able to get information about what is on it from the websites of nursing schools who put the information out on their websites.
here is information about the teas (test of essential academic skills). unlike the net, the company that writes this exam does publish a study guide. this particular company is very heavily into writing other types of nursing exams as well.
- the home page of the organization that writes and administrates this test. the test covers four general areas: math, reading, english and science.
math covers whole numbers, metric conversion, fractions, decimals, algebraic equations, percentages, and ratio/proportion
reading covers paragraph comprehension, passage comprehension, and inferences/conclusions
english covers knowledge of punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, contextual words and spelling
science covers science reasoning, science knowledge, biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, basic physical principles and general science
the other biggie test is the nlns for rns and lpns school admission. there are prep study guides you can buy for both of these tests at either amazon or barnes and nobel.
i have been reading that there is a newer trend that is emerging as well with some nursing schools. that is over the question of critical thinking. they are saying it's not enough to just know how to read and write. they also want candidates who can think and apply what they know to situations. since by the time nurses finish nursing school they need to be able to think critically (something that is taught throughout nursing school), some educators have come up with a critical thinking test that some schools are requiring pre-admission to nursing classes and there is really no way to prepare for it. it is called the california critical thinking skills test (cctst). i don't know much about it and i think i tried once to see if any study manuals existed and was unsuccessful at finding any. when i went to their website it seems as if they are similar to the net. the company merely sells the test to schools who then administer it to their students themselves. i thought i had seen some posts from students on the forums here who were lamenting at having done poorly on this test, but i was unable to find any when i did a search for them.