5 Steps To Pass The KNAT

May 16, 2019 0 Comments

25 April, 12:00

5 Steps to Passing the KNAT: The 91 Questions Between You and Nursing School

Published by Maksim Tourou in Technics

Studying for the Kaplan Nursing Admission’s Test is difficult. If you’ve done your fair share of searching for information on the test, you know the test is less than 100 questions; 91 to be exact. You may also find that it doesn’t seem like there’s any information about the test at all. And when Kaplan provides a monstrous textbook of information to prep for it, being confident to take the test doesn’t seem at all possible.

Unlike alternative nursing school entrance exams, the KNAT is short. The test is meant to be an efficient exam to test students for the essential educational skills needed to succeed within nursing school. Considering the efficiency of the test, we decided it would be best to break down the test and provide steps for the simplest, and most efficient way to approach it.

The exam is entirely multiple-choice. Although it tests for understandings that may include charts and diagrams, as well as essential writing skills, there is no essay or alternative form of questions. If you haven’t read about the test breakdown or simply need a reminder, the following chart provides a layout of the test.



Number of Questions

Time Limit



45 minutes



45 minutes

Reading Comprehension


45 minutes



30 minutes

When evaluating the test length, it’s almost half the amount of questions in comparison to alternative tests such as the ATI TEAS or HESI A2.

Conclusively, the material is going to be concise. Your studying should be the same way.

Looking at each scored section, almost half the test is dedicated to the conventions of language. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand. The reading section will contain four passages whereas the writing section will contain nine. However, both sections will require a demonstration for understanding and analyzing the passages. Whether it is reading or writing, the questions will assess whether a student can follow the basic development of an idea, identify whether the writing serves a purpose or needs further development, and draw conclusions about the passage as a result.

The math section assesses skills as applied to operations, ratios and conversions, as well as word problems. The questions may combine these skills and phrase the question as applied within the nursing realm. For example, a word problem may introduce a medicine that you need to perform a conversion for in order to provide the proper dosage amount to the patient. None of the questions will expect a test taker to already know medicines or proper dosages. That’s what nursing school is for. The questions will provide all information to make it a math-only problem, but framed in the context of nursing to exemplify why such math skills are necessary.

Similar to the math section, the science section will be testing a student’s knowledge on physiology. We will emphasize physiology because many test takers tend to confuse what this truly means. Most people hear physiology with the word anatomy and tend to substitute them for one another. However, anatomy is simply the structure of the human body. In layman’s terms, it’s knowing body parts. Physiology is a more complicated portion, which deals with the function of those structures. It goes beyond what a body part is, and incorporates what the body part does and how it operates in connection to other body parts.

Many test takers have scored poorly in the science section as a result of their confusion. In addition to misunderstanding what would be tested, it is important to remember that this section only contains 20 questions. Kaplan identifies ten major body systems to know and understand (see reference below), and doing the simple calculation of twenty questions divided by ten systems equals only two questions per system. Further referencing shows that the systems identified include the neurological system and control of homeostasis, which practically means that a student needs to know how every body part works because anything is fair game.

If you feel overwhelmed, we can understand why. We’re here to remind you that this is a short, concise test. It is a “need-to-know” exam. So to help conquer your feelings of being overwhelmed, follow our five simple steps to passing the KNAT.

"If you feel overwhelmed, we can understand why. We’re here to remind you that this is a short, concise test. It is a “need-to-know” exam. So to help conquer your feelings of being overwhelmed, follow our five simple steps to passing the KNAT."

1. Take a diagnostic test

First, you will need to take a diagnostic test. There are many different ways to go about this, and Smart Edition Media does provide access to tests styled the same way as the KNAT. This is to help you know what you do and do not know.

You will want to take practice questions to get a better idea of where you stand before you begin studying. How will you know where to start? You know what subjects and content will be presented in each area, but now you should put your existing skills to a test to get an idea of how you will score before you begin.

As mentioned above, there is a lot of specific content to know. But the diagnostic test is meant for you to prioritize your studying for each subject area. Even if you feel 100% confident in one subject over another, you should still set aside some time to review and familiarize yourself with the question styles. Taking the diagnostic test will merely help you prioritize which subjects to study first, as there may be material you need to learn, versus just brushing up on. As you study, you should see yourself getting more and more practice questions right, getting quicker at answering, and seeing improvements on the tests you practice with.

2. Create a schedule

You’ll want to create a schedule to study so that you can set goals for yourself. It is very easy to say that you’ll study and get distracted by a million other things going on. You can make up the time on the weekend, but the reality is you can easily get distracted then too. You want to avoid cramming because overloading your brain will not help you understand the material and such practice will only add to your feelings of being overwhelmed. it is much better to spread out your studying over a course of time and make it reasonable.

When you create a schedule, make it visible. Write it down and hang it up somewhere as a visual reminder to help pace yourself appropriately. It can also serve as a reminder of both what you must do, but also the progress you make along the way.

And remember that diagnostic test we told you to take in step one? This is where it really comes into play. When you’re creating your study plan, prioritize the subjects you struggle with the most. Look at your diagnostic scores to best approximate how much time you should be spending learning and/or reviewing material. As a general rule, if you have about five weeks until you are looking to take an exam, dedicate a week to each subject area with review days in between and leading up to the exam date. However, if your diagnostic test reveals that you might not know at least half of the content material in a certain area, it would be wise to extend that subject area week a few more days in exchange of another topic that you are very strong in.

3. Customize your materials

Every student is a unique type of learner and Smart Edition Media knows that. Beneath is our reference guide for you to determine what type of learner you are.

Learning Style Variations

Visual-Spatial – Do you like to draw, do jigsaw puzzles, read maps, daydream? Creating drawings, graphic organizers, or watching videos might be useful for you.

Bodily-Kinesthetic – Do you like movement, making things, physical activity? Do you communicate well through body language, or like to be taught through physical activity? Hands-on learning, acting out, role playing are tools you might try.

Musical – Do you show sensitivity to rhythm and sound? If you love music, and are also sensitive to sounds in your environments, it might be beneficial to study with music in the background. You can turn lessons into lyrics or speak rhythmically to aid in content retention.

Interpersonal – Do you have many friends, empathy for others, street smarts, and interact well with others? You might learn best in a group setting. Form a study group with other students who are preparing for the same exam. Technology makes it easy to connect, if you are unable to meet in person, teleconferencing or video chats are useful tools to aid interpersonal learners in connecting with others.

Intrapersonal – Do you prefer to work alone rather than in a group? Are you in tune with your inner feelings, follow your intuition and possess a strong will, confidence and opinions? Independent study and introspection will be ideal for you. Reading books, using creative materials, keeping a diary of your progress will be helpful. Intrapersonal learners are the most independent of the learners.

Linguistic – Do you use words effectively, have highly developed auditory skills and often think in words? Do you like reading, playing word games, making up poetry or stories? Learning tools such as computers, games, multimedia will be beneficial to your studies.

Logical-Mathematical – Do you think conceptually, abstractly, and are able to see and explore patterns and relationships? Try exploring subject matter through logic games, experiments and puzzles.

Perhaps your learning style will incorporate multiple forms of learning. Most students prefer to use multiple mediums to help emphasize points and gain new understandings to increase their depth of knowledge. What’s important is that you do what is best for you.

While you gather your materials and begin cracking down on your study plan, make sure you set aside time to hand-write notes on the content you may not understand. Students are more likely to retain information that they have written down versus the material they’ve read once. And while we don’t want students to hand write a textbook, it is useful to take notes, utilize flashcards, and possibly color code body diagrams in the areas you need to improve on.

For the lessons you are learning and seem to be struggling with, do not be afraid to look up tutorial videos or use a math checker to see how to complete a problem. Print out the in-depth 3D picture of the body system you need more visuals with to understand its intricacies. Utilize multiple resources and take time to understand. Which brings us to our next step:

4. Review and revise

It is important to understand the material and not cram it in for the few hours you take the exam. Although it is an option, as we mentioned above, the exam is practical application of skills needed for nursing. While knowing everything about the human body seems incredible, there is no denying that a nurse needs to know how the body functions to do their job. As you begin studying, you should know that successful patterns of test preparation incorporate plenty of practice questions and consistency with review.

You should take the time to customize your materials and learn the content you do not know. But it is important to understand the difference between learning and reviewing. When you take the time to read about the subject content that you do not know or have scored poorly on, you are learning the information that will be on your test. When you review your materials, you are exercising the knowledge you already have and checking that you understand how and why. Similar to the anatomy and physiology explanation from above, you should be able to take the information you know to apply it to a question.

Complete practice questions and problems to check your progress. If you’re still struggling or not seeing the progress you intended, you’ll need to do more review. Perhaps go back and customize more study materials. It is in the review stages that you may realize you need to go back to some of your lesson content and even revise your study schedule.

If questions are popping up that you cannot answer, it is worth while going back to learn that material. They are indicators of what you need to practice. Try to answer these questions. Talk through it. There is a saying that you truly understand something, you can teach it to someone else. Pretend that you have to teach it to someone- yourself. Can you go through the problem and thoroughly explain the reasoning of the passage, the steps to the math problem, or the functional flow of the body system? If you can answer questions using logic and the knowledge you have, you’re doing well in mastering the content. As a direct correlation, your practice exams should be improving and you should be approaching the next and final step:

5. Take the test!

If you’ve taken these steps into consideration, you’ll realize that you’ve probably done at least one, if not all, of these steps to prepare for another test in your life. However, knowing these simple five steps is one way to manage the stress in a reasonable way. While studying for any exam is overwhelming, knowing where to start and how to start can be an easy way to start overcoming those feelings and feeling confident about your goals.

For more information or to preview the Smart Edition Media Kaplan Nursing Admission’s Test materials, click here.