Learning Lab

Psychological Service Bureau (PSB) Study Guide

Preparing For Tests

General Guides: Natural Sciences, Reading Comprehension.

Gerri Edmonds

PSB Resource


Contact Info:  (910) 362-7502

Hours:  Tues./Thurs. 9 AM - 1 PM


For general information on the PSB Examinations please visit CFCC website: PSB General Information

PSB - Aptitude Examination for RN, LPN, and Health Occupations

The tests are similar for all three examinations, except, for the LPN there is no Reading Comprehension test. The LPN also has a section on (Part IV) Judgment and Comprehension in Practical Nursing, which tests you on aspects of practical nursing: relationships experienced as a student and a practitioner. The Vocational Adjustment Index which is common to all three examinations reflects a person's attitudes, feelings, opinions, and other personality traits and characteristics.

The following tests are sample tests (Gooding, Marion F. Nursing School and Allied Health, Entrance Examinations. pub. Thompson and Arco, 15 ed. 2002). If you need to practice more you can either redo the tests, work with one of the facilitators in the Lab, or borrow the book from the Learning Resource Center (LRC).



Part I- Academic Aptitude Tests
Synonyms 1 Synonyms 2
Antonyms 1 Antonyms 2
Analogies 1 Analogies 2
Math 1 Math 2
Non-Verbal (Spatial)
Spatial 1 Spatial 2
Part II - Spelling
Spelling 1 Spelling 2
Part III - Reading Comprehension
Reading 1 Reading 2
Reading 3 Reading 4
Reading 5  
Part IV - Natural Sciences
Sample Test 1 Sample Test 2


Preparing for Examinations

Reducing Test Anxiety

Before the Test: The Four R's

  1. REST--get enough sleep.
  2. RELAX--watch out for caffeine in coffee, tea, or sodas.
  3. READY--arrive ahead of test time.
  4. ESTROOM--use it. You will not be allowed to leave test area during testing.

Test Time

  1. Reduce your text anxiety. Try this!
    1. Relax your face and feel yourself smiling on the inside.
    2. Breathe deeply and slowly through your nose, hold, slowly exhale through your mouth. Do this three times.
  2. Preview the test.
    1. What types of questions are asked?
    2. What do the written directions say?
    3. What is the test administrator telling you about the test?
  3. Plan your time.
    1. How many questions are there on the test?
    2. How much time do I have?
    3. How much time do I have for each question?
  4. Answer the easiest questions first.
    1. Why?
      1. You will answer all the questions you can answer correctly, in case time runs out before you answer all the questions.
      2. You might think of answers to some difficult questions.
      3. You might find answers to some of the difficult questions.
    2. How?
      1. Read each question twice and answer it or move on to the next question.
      2. After you have answered all you can, repeat this process.
      3. For any questions that you can't answer, make an educated guess.
  5. Answer all the questions. Leave no blanks. Allow time for this at the end of the test period.
  6. Check your answers carefully to avoid careless errors. DO NOT change answers unless you are positive your answer is wrong.

After the Test

Relax. Remember you did the best you could.

Natural Sciences

This part of the test determines a person's accumulated information of the Natural Sciences on a fundamental level. Knowledge of the Natural Sciences (biology, chemistry, health, safety, etc.) is important to the course of study of Nursing and Allied Health program.

There are certain concepts that are related to Natural Sciences, which must be understood as essential points of information:

Basic Concepts Related to Natural Sciences

All life processes are based on metabolism...chemical reactions that capture, store, and use energy in a cell.

All life processes are controlled through body systems:

All living forms need interdependent relationship with other living forms: they form complex relationship that are determined by their environment.

Conservation of resources

Reading Comprehension

Steps on how to read for standardized tests

  1. Questions about a passage do not appear in order of difficulty; however, passages themselves are usually from least to most difficult.
  2. ALways skim the questions for apassage before you actually read the passage.
  3. As you quickly read the passage, concentrate on the main idea and main points.
  4. Next, note specifc examples in fact filled areas.
  5. Notice key words that indicate a shift in viewpoint. Some examples of these words are: but, however, although, nevertheless, moreover, and unless. What kinds of shifts do these words indicate?
  6. Don't grab at a likely looking answer. Eliminate those that are wrong so you choose the correct answer.
  7. Lengthy quotes are seldom correct answer choices. Tests are to see if you understand what you read.
  8. Use what you do know. Truth is truth.
  9. Watch out for answer choices that express strong emotion. How often does something happen always or never?

Types of questions you will see on the test

  1. Main idea: What is the point that the writer is making? What should I remember about this paragraph? What is this essay about?
  2. Supporting details: What in the essay holds up or supports the main idea?
  3. Factual information: What pieces of specific information supports the main idea or is an example you should remember?
  4. Inference: What information is implied, not directly stated, or said that is opposite of what the author means?
  5. Context clues: What do words mean when their definition is gained from the meaning.