NET Test Breakdown

Owing to the increase in awareness amongst students to try out different career options, colleges offering professional courses are swarmed with applications for admissions. All such colleges look for some means to identify the candidates who are suitable for admissions to the courses being offered by them. The NET (Nurse Entrance Test) is an entrance test, your performance in which will be studied by the nursing schools to assess your suitability for admission. Your performance in this test is an indication of how well you are likely to perform in your nursing studies and therefore, nursing colleges pay a lot of importance on clearing this test for qualifying for admissions to the courses being offered by them.

Skills Being Tested by NET

NET is a computer-based test that consists of multiple-choice questions. The skills being tested by this test are those that are deemed necessary for successful completion of nursing studies. Some of these skills are related to the knowledge that you would have gained while carrying out your high school studies. The remaining skills are related to how you deal with situations in daily life, your behavior and attitude. Therefore, the NET is an overall assessment of your knowledge, how you apply that knowledge for problem solving and it is also a general assessment of your personality.

Scored Test Sections

The skills listed below are the ones that will be put to test by NET and your scores in these test sections will count towards your composite test score:

  1. Math Skills
    Your Math skills will be tested by theEssential Math Skills test section. This section is a test of your knowledge in math and the subject areas being tested include whole numbers, decimals, algebraic equations, fractions etc. This is a scored test section and your scores in this test section will count towards your composite score. You will have to answer 60 questions in 60 minutes in this test section. This means that you will have just 1 minute to spend on each question. Most nursing colleges lay down 50-60 as the minimum score required in this test section for being eligible for admissions.
  2. Reading Skills
    Your reading skills will be tested by theScience Reading Comprehension test section. In this test section, you will be given passages that have to be read and understood by you and then you will have to answer the questions that follow the passages. The difficulty level of the passages will be the same as that of the textbooks that one will have to study from while carrying out one’s nursing studies. The questions asked will be based on what you have just read. They will test your critical thinking skills. There will be 33 questions and you will be required to answer them in 30 minutes. Therefore, you will have to try and answer each question within 1 minute or else you will run out of time. At times you may have less than a minute to answer a question, especially if the reading passages are long. You may be asked questions related to any of the following:
  • Central theme or idea on which the passage has been based.
  • The conclusion or inference that can be drawn from any of the statements made in the passage.
  • The meaning intended to be conveyed by the author.
  • The style in which the passage has been written.
  • The meanings of some words that have been used in the passage.

This is a scored test section and most nursing schools set 50 as the minimum reading score required to be considered for admissions. There are three levels for the reading scores. There may be a slight variation in the scores that fall in these three levels depending upon a nursing school’s requirements.

    • Frustration (0-44): A score in this range will probably disqualify you for admissions to most nursing schools. This is because a score in this range suggests that you will face problems in reading the textbooks from which you will have to study during the course of your nursing studies.


    • Instructional (45-59): Most of the test-takers are able to score in this score range. If you have scored in this range then it means that you will be able to read the textbooks with some guidance from your teachers.


  • Independent (60-100): You will be able to score in this test section if you have done exceptionally well in the reading comprehension test section. Your scores in this range indicate that you will be able to study from your textbooks with little or no assistance from your teachers.
  1. Grammar
    Some nursing schools require your scores in an additional NET test section called theWritten Expression (Grammar) test section. Such nursing schools may set the minimum scores required in this section anywhere from 50 through 60. The questions asked in this test section test your knowledge in English grammar and its correct usage.

Note: Nursing schools that do not require the Written Expression scores will calculate the composite score on the basis of the Essential Math Skills test section and the Reading Comprehension test section. All nursing schools may set the minimum passing standard for each scored test section being considered in addition to setting a minimum composite NET score that is needed to be considered for admissions.

Unscored Test Sections

The following skills are tested by NET for helping the nursing schools to assess the personality traits, study behavior and other aspects of the characters of the candidates who have applied for admissions. This assessment proves to be helpful later on when academic counseling has to be provided to the students for showing improvements in their performance while carrying out their nursing studies.

  1. Test Taking Skills
    Your performance in this test section gives an indication of how adept you are at taking standardized tests including those that will have to be taken by you during the course of your nursing studies.
  2. Stress Levels
    Your performance in this test section predicts how you are likely to behave when you are under stress. If you have high stress levels, then it may interfere with your performance as a nurse. It is common knowledge that a profession in the field of nursing can be very stressful because of the odd working hours and gravity of the responsibilities involved. Additionally, it has been seen that high stress levels may affect your performance in your nursing studies as well.
  3. Social Interaction Profile
    This section will assess your compatibility with others and how you would react in response to the requirements of other people.
  4. Learning Style
    This is an evaluation of your learning style and how you would respond to the teaching methods being employed at the nursing school to which you are seeking admission.
  5. Reading Rate
    You need to have a reading rate of more than 250 words per minute to demonstrate that you will be able to easily read through the textbooks without wasting much time. Some nursing schools may specify the minimum required reading rate which could be as high as 310 words per minute.

The Importance of Contacting the Nursing School of your Choice

Different nursing schools may interpret NET scores differently. While some nursing schools may give importance to the composite score only, others may set the minimum required scores for each of the scored test sections as well. Some may use the data collected from your performance in the unscored test sections for counseling purposes only, others may utilize the same data to screen candidates for admissions. A high majority of nursing schools do not accept the scores from NET taken at other campuses. They make it mandatory for candidates applying for admissions to take the test being conducted in their campuses or test centers. Certain nursing schools consider various other criteria for admissions in addition to your test scores. Such criteria could be your undergraduate GPA, your scores in other entrance tests related to medical studies, etc.

Therefore, it is important that you contact the nursing school of your choice to get detailed information on how they interpret your NET scores in addition to other information like the conduct of the test, policies governing retests etc. The registration fee for taking the test is about $25 for most nursing schools but there might be a slight variation to this amount for different schools.

Study Well!

Visit the websites of nursing schools or visit their campuses and get first hand information about taking the NET. Use this information to work out a study plan and to prepare yourself for the test in such a way that you are able to get admission to your desired nursing college in the first attempt itself.