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What Exams Will I Take for My Health Care Program?

“I am eternally grateful to Dr. Lu-Ping Gamble at the Garden Grove campus. They not only lit a spark, they lit a torch in my heart that shall burn forever! My education changed my life and has had a huge positive impact on the person I am today.”


Jamie Troccoli
Vocational Nursing graduate

“Without the support of certain instructors … I would not have pushed myself to grasp the concepts and pass my boards on the first attempt. Once I passed my boards, it was less than one month after that I landed my first Respiratory Therapist job where I am currently working with so much joy every day.”


Marcus Streator
Respiratory Therapy graduate
Students taking a test

Interested in pursuing a career in health care? Your first step is to get into a training program. Health care workers at every level play a role in protecting patients' health and privacy. Because of that, there are many requirements for training to ensure workers have the skills and knowledge they need to provide safe, competent service. Part of this training comes in the form of exams students need to take. Some of these are entrance or screening exams that are required for admission to a program. Some of them are licensure or certification exams that must be taken after completing a program in order to be eligible for employment.

In this article, we'll look at a few of the most common exams our health care students need to take, so you can gain some insight into what you can expect when you apply for one of our health care programs.

The Wonderlic Test

The Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Ability Test (usually just called the "Wonderlic") is a short-form general aptitude test used by organizations as varied as the National Football League and health care colleges like Concorde. Originally developed in the 1930s as a quick way to screen job candidates, the Wonderlic test has become specialized over the years into different versions for different uses.

It is basically an intelligence quotient (IQ) test. It consists of 50 multiple-choice questions in math, reading and logic. The catch is that it must be completed in just 12 minutes. Who Takes the Wonderlic SLE?

Concorde Career College uses the Wonderlic Scholastic Level Exam (Wonderlic SLE) for most of its health care programs. The Wonderlic SLE test is a quick way to screen applicants to ensure they have the verbal, mathematical and reasoning skills necessary to do well in the applicable program and on the job.

We require the Wonderlic SLE for applicants because we want to admit the most capable students. Students with the right basic skills are more likely to succeed in their coursework, learn clinical competencies in their clinical rotations, and perform well after graduation.

How to Prepare for the Wonderlic SLE Test

If you are not a good test taker or find yourself flustered by time limits, with some research you can find a free Wonderlic practice test. Taking a few practice tests will help you become more accustomed with the pace of the exam and the way the questions are worded. That way, when it comes time to take the real test, you're likely to feel more confident.

Each Wonderlic test draws on a bank of thousands of questions, so the test you take will not be the same as the one your friend takes, even if you are applying to the same program at the same time.

According to IQTestPrep.com, the average Wonderlic score overall is 20 out of 50(1). At Concorde, minimum passing scores range from 8-21, depending on the program.

The HESI Exam (Health Education Systems, Inc.)

One of the other common entrance exams you'll encounter when applying to a health care training program is the HESI Exam. HESI stands for Health Education Systems, Incorporated—the exam's publisher. There are HESI nursing exams (for practical /vocational nursing and registered nursing programs) and HESI health professions exams, which can be administered for roles including:

  • Dental hygiene
  • Surgical technology
  • Physical therapist assistant
  • Diagnostic medical sonography
  • Radiologic technology
  • Respiratory therapy

Depending on the program you're applying to, you may be required to take the HESI exam as an entrance requirement. Sometimes, nursing programs will administer the HESI during the program as a way to gauge how well current students may perform on the NCLEX licensing exam—more on that one later.

How Long is the HESI Exam?

The HESI exam is not as short as the Wonderlic test. Depending on the program you're applying to, the HESI can actually take more than five hours. Fortunately, colleges can set their own time frames and choose which subjects they want to test applicants on. At Concorde, our HESI exams generally last about three hours.

How Is the HESI Exam Administered?

The HESI Exam consists of multiple-choice questions and is administered online. Subjects covered in the HESI can include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Grammar
  • Reading comprehension
  • Vocabulary and general knowledge

Again, the subjects you are tested on will vary depending on what program you're applying to.

What Should I Do to Prepare for the HESI Exam?

First, confirm with the school which version of the HESI exam you'll be taking- for example, nursing student candidates may take the HESI A2. Then, search for a practice exam online. There are many different test prep programs, including free or low-cost prep options, that can help you get used to the style of questioning the HESI exams use. You can also brush up on some of the concepts tested, such as anatomy, chemistry and biology.

What Is a Good HESI Score?

Schools set their own HESI passing scores for each program that uses the test as an entrance exam.

Just to give you an idea of the scores we look for, here are a few of the most recent minimum HESI scores we require from applicants to Concorde Career Institute in Jacksonville, Florida:

  • Cardiovascular Sonography - 75
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography - 75
  • Nursing - 75
  • Physical Therapist Assistant - 70
  • Practical Nursing - 70
  • Respiratory Therapy - 70
  • Surgical Technologist - 65

The NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN Licensure Exams

The NCLEX exams are the national exams nursing students must pass in order to apply for a license to practice as an entry-level nurse in their state. These licensure exams are administered after graduation from a nursing degree or diploma program. They are:

  • National Council Licensure Exam - Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN, for graduates of a nursing degree program)
  • National Council Licensure Exam - Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN, for graduates of a vocational or practical nursing diploma program)

To become eligible to take your exam, you'll have to graduate from your training program and then apply to your state's licensing board for permission to take the test. Once your state board is satisfied you fulfill the other requirements, they will issue you with an authorization to take the test (ATT letter).

What Subjects Are Covered by the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN Test?

Both of the NCLEX exams test a student's understanding of the nursing role. Each exam covers four subject areas:

  • Safe, effective care environment - Do you understand how to maintain hygiene and control infections?
  • Health promotion and maintenance - Do you understand what makes for a healthy lifestyle, and how to prevent certain conditions?
  • Psychosocial integrity - Do you understand concepts of mental health care, and are you equipped to cope with the stresses of nursing?
  • Physiological integrity - Do you understand proper nursing care practices?

How Is the NCLEX Administered?

The NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN are both administered at Pearson testing centers. They are computer-based tests with a mix of multiple choice and open-ended (essay) questions. Not everyone takes the same number of questions.

On the NCLEX-RN, for example, some students will answer only 75 questions while some may work through as many as 200. Regardless of which test you're taking or how many questions you are asked, you can expect to spend at least a few hours taking your NCLEX exam. There is a time limit of four hours(2).

How Do I Prepare for My NCLEX Exam?

At Concorde, we want our nursing students to excel on their NCLEX exams. In addition to comprehensively covering all the skills and concepts these licensing exams test, we take the time to help you practice and prepare for your exam.

You can also pursue test prep and practice outside of your classes at Concorde. There are many free and paid test prep resources available. Your nursing instructors may be able to offer you advice if you want additional practice materials.

Ready to Apply to a Health Care Training Program?

Find out more about Concorde's programs and application requirements today!

Additional References:

Sources

(1) "Wonderlic Test Scoring", https://iqtestprep.com/wonderlic-test-scoring/
(2) "Exam Day", https://www.ncsbn.org/exam-day.htm

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