If you wish to pursue a career in nursing, then the first step to be taken for accomplishing your aim would be to join a good nursing school. Joining a desired nursing school is not as easy as it may seem. You will have to take the NET (Nurse Entrance Test) and do well in the test in order to demonstrate your skills and knowledge to the school admission committee. Hence, good NET scores are the first thing that you will have to aim for if you wish to join a nursing program.
The Importance of NET Scores
Nursing schools are now increasingly relying on entrance tests like NET for assistance in selecting suitable candidates for admissions to the nursing programs being conducted in their campuses. High NET scores reflect the ability of a candidate to excel in the pursuit of a career in nursing by performing well in his nursing studies. Therefore, nursing schools utilize NET scores to evaluate the competence of prospective candidates in successfully completing their nursing studies. At the same time, NET scores also assist the faculty conducting the nursing program to identify the weaknesses of their students for imparting effective guidance and counseling during the course of their studies.
How are NET Scores considered by Nursing Schools?
Nursing schools have different policies regarding NET scores. You may have to check with the nursing school of your choice to find out their policies regarding consideration of NET scores. You can gather this information from the website of the nursing school you wish to join. This information will also be available in the form of a booklet or a pamphlet at the nursing school campus. Some such policies are listed below. Go through these to get an idea of how your NET scores are likely to be considered by different nursing schools:
- Minimum NET Scores: Most nursing schools lay down 60 as the minimum composite NET score for being considered for admissions.
- Consideration of GPA: For certain nursing schools, NET scores may not be the only criteria being considered for selection of suitable candidates. These nursing schools may consider your NET scores in conjunction with other factors, like your undergraduate GPA, with different weightage for the different eligibility criteria being considered.
- Taking the NET: Almost all nursing schools conduct NET at their own testing centers or campuses. Some nursing schools make it mandatory for the candidates to take the NET being offered at their campuses. They do not accept the NET scores attained by you in the NET taken at some other campus.
- Retests: Different nursing schools may lay down different policies regarding how the scores of a retest will be considered.
- Written Expression (Grammar) Test Section: Certain nursing schools will consider your scores in the Written Expression test section while others may not do so.
NET Test Format
NET is a computer-based test. All the questions asked are multiple choice questions. The NET test content covers the subject areas that you would have studied while carrying out your high school studies. Some of the test sections of NET are designed to assess your capabilities in applying the knowledge that you have acquired for handling situations in daily life. These test sections will also analyze your attitude, certain personality traits, learning behavior, reading ability etc. The number of test sections may vary from 7 to 8 depending upon the requirements of the nursing school that requires the NET scores. The test sections of NET are as given below:
- Essential Math Skills: The subject areas assessed in this test section include algebraic equations, whole numbers, decimals, fractions etc. There will be 60 questions that have to be answered in 60 minutes.
- Science Reading Comprehension: You will be presented with a passage followed by questions designed to test your critical thinking skills. You will be given 30 minutes to answer 33 questions.
- Written Expression (grammar): This is a test of your knowledge of English grammar.
- Test-taking Skills: This is a test of how well you can take standardized tests.
- Stress Levels: Your performance in this test section reflects your stress levels. If you exhibit very high stress levels then it is likely that such stress may interfere with your nursing studies and this could affect your chances of being selected for the nursing program of your choice.
- Social Interaction Profile: This is an assessment of how you interact with others in your daily life.
- Learning Styles: This test section analyses your learning behavior and your style of learning.
- Reading Rate: This test section is generally of a minute and it tests the rate at which you can read given text. A test-taker should be able to read 250-400 words per minute.
Although it is mandatory to complete all the test sections, only the Essential Math Skills and Science Reading Comprehension test sections are scored. Some of the nursing schools may require you to take the Written Expression test section as a scored section while others may not have this test section in their NET test format at all.
Essential Math Skills Scores
A score of 60 in the Essential Math Skills test section is considered competitive by most nursing schools. A score of 48 or below is considered to be a high risk math score which implies that the test-taker has poor knowledge of the fundamentals of mathematics and algebra.
Reading Comprehension Scores
There are three score levels for the Reading Comprehension Section:
- Independent (60-100): Scores in this range are attained by the test-takers who have done exceedingly well in this test section. A test-taker with a score in the independent reading level will be able to read textbooks even without the assistance of a class or any other form of instruction.
- Instructional (45-59): Most test-takers will receive a Reading Comprehension score in this range. Test-takers who score in this range will be able to read textbooks with guidance and assistance from their teachers.
- Frustration (0-44): Scores in this range imply that the test-taker will face difficulties in reading textbooks during the course of his nursing studies.
Written Expression Scores
The nursing schools that consider scores in the Written Expression test section generally accept 50 as the minimum scores required for admission.
Composite NET Score
Most nursing schools calculate the composite NET score on the basis of the Math score and the Reading score; others will consider the scores in the Written Expression test section also for calculating the composite NET score. A composite NET score of 60 has been laid down by most nursing schools as the minimum score required for being considered for admissions to the nursing programs being offered by them.
Note: The requirements of minimum scores vary from nursing school to nursing school. There are certain nursing schools which have not set any passing scores at all whereas there are other nursing schools which have set the minimum scores in each of the scored test sections to be as high as 60 with the composite NET score at 65. Therefore, it would be in your interest to contact the nursing school of your choice and find out their requirements in respect of NET scores.
Are you Overconfident?
It is a good thing to be confident in your preparation for taking NET, but remember that excess of everything is bad. Confidence in oneself does not mean that you totally ignore the amount of hard work that needs to be put in for achieving success. Therefore, even if you have fairly good knowledge of the content being tested by NET, do not plan to walk into the test center with little or no preparation. Clearing the NET with good scores can pave your way to success in a rewarding career in nursing and therefore prepare for taking NET in the best possible manner.
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