Prepare for Your Nursing Literacy Test

Are you applying to a nursing university course and facing a literacy test? Trying to find out what’s on the tests and how you can practice? This page is your guide on what to expect from the nursing English test and how to prepare.
Nursing Literacy Test Preparation

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Many nursing courses in the UK require those applying to sit a literacy and numeracy test as part of the application process. While the numeracy test looks at your numerical ability, the nursing literacy test is an assessment of your verbal comprehension and communication abilities. To ensure you receive a passing mark, it’s necessary to revise your grammar and spelling abilities beforehand and review some reading comprehension passages. This page can help you learn about the test and how to prepare.

Please note: This page does not discuss the English language nursing tests for nurses trained outside of the UK.

What is nursing literacy?

Being a nurse requires working with people every step of the way. Whether you are working with other nurses or treating patients, clear verbal and communication skills are vital to keeping people safe and healthy. This means that your reading and writing skills need to be top notch when you work as a nurse.

What is the nursing literacy test?

The nursing English test looks at your level of verbal comprehension and writing. The results are used by the admissions board of your chosen nursing course to decide if you are able to complete the course successfully and become a practicing nurse. The test can be given on paper or is sometimes administered by computer, depending on where you are applying. Note that not all universities use the same test. Some universities will ask you to write an essay or short paragraph on a particular topic. This type of test focuses on your handwriting, spelling and grammar and ability to put your ideas across in writing.

The test focuses on three major areas of language: spelling, grammar and comprehension. The questions consist of sentence completion, grammar and punctuation error correction, spelling and reading comprehension passages.

Nursing Writing Exercise

Some nursing literacy tests applicants are asked to write a short essay or paragraph on a particular topic, or a long answer to a question on a text provided to read. As well as knowledge and content, these tests are designed to examine a specific set of skills:

  • Legibility of handwriting
  • Spelling and grammar
  • The ability to write clear and sensible sentences and paragraphs

Sample literacy test questions for nursing

Appropriately select “they’re, their or there” in each of the gaps in this sentence:

____ are at least 40 members of staff who know ____ holiday rota will be altered to reflect ____ change in shift pattern.

Answer: There, their, they're 

Choose the most appropriate option to complete the letter below.

Dear Parent/Carer,

As we approach the end of the school year, it is time to look back over our achievements. The governing body of Llanbefan is very proud of the education that is being offered to our children and is also delighted that our children make the most of their opportunities.

Academic standards

  1. continue to improve every year
  2. continues to improve every year
  3. is continuing to improve every year

and we are proud of the progress of each and every child.

Answer: A

How You Can Prepare

In order to make sure that you have a good performance in the nursing literacy test, practicing and reviewing with sample tests is your best bet. This way, you will know what type of questions to expect and sort out a strategy for yourself on how to answer them. Our nursing literacy and numeracy practice pack includes study guides, full length practice tests and drills to get you fully prepared!

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