Choosing the PSB-HOAE

What is PSB? What does PSB-HOAE mean?

“PSB” stands for Psychological Services Bureau, the organization that developed the exam. “HOAE” stands for Health Occupation Aptitude Examination.

What is the PSB-HOAE in nursing?

The PSB-HOAE is a test used by candidates applying to nursing and other health care programs. The exam evaluates candidates’ knowledge and skills to help place them in health care education programs. It also tests critical thinking in nursing.

The HOAE is taken by candidates looking to begin coursework relevant to a wide range of health care positions, including:

  • practical nurse

  • therapy assistant

  • radiology technician

  • dental hygienist

  • pharmacy technician

  • veterinary technician

  • paramedic/EMT

 Why should I become a registered nurse?

Nursing is an in-demand job with the opportunity for growth. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for registered nurses is forecast to grow by 15% in the next ten years. Nurses also enjoy job flexibility: instead of working a nine-to-five day, nurses can work three days and then have four days off. Nurses also have the chance to travel for work. Travel nurses travel the world working for major corporations, cruise lines, or the military. For registered nurses, every day is different. Helping patients, running tests, assisting in procedures; no two days are the same. Finally, registered nurses make a median salary of $70,000 a year, or $33 an hour. RNs who have more experience and specializations can make even more.

Who is eligible to take the HOAE exam?

Anyone who is applying to a nursing or allied health care program can take the PSB-HOAE. That includes students seeking their associate degree in nursing. You must create an account through your school. The exam is administered at testing sites around the nation.

I’m interested in going to nursing school. Can I take the HOAE instead of the HESI A2 or the ATI TEAS?

No. Most nursing programs require the HESI A2 or the ATI TEAS as part of the admissions process. Some schools require the HOAE in addition to the HESI or TEAS. Check with the nursing program you are applying to. Different nursing schools and programs have different requirements.

The PSB Health Occupation Aptitude Examination is just one of the tests in nursing certifications. The HESI A2 and the TEAS are for admissions. The CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) exam is for people interested in becoming nursing assistants.

Taking the PSB-HOAE Exam

When can I take the HOAE?

The HOAE is offered year-round.

How much does it cost to take the HOAE?

It costs $40 – $50 to take the HOAE. Check with your community college, university, or nursing program for details.

How many questions on are the HOAE?

There are a total of 305 questions on the HOAE.

How long is the HOAE?

The HOAE is 2 hours and 10 minutes long.

What type of questions are on the HOAE?

The HOAE is a multiple-choice test that includes concepts covered in eighth-grade–level English, math, and science classes. The exam will test your ability to identify relationships between shapes. It also includes a short vocational test designed to measure your personal suitability to work in health care.

What is on the HOAE?

The HOAE has five sections: Academic Aptitude (vocabulary, math, and patterns), Spelling, Reading Comprehension, Natural Sciences, and the Vocational Adjustment Index. Each section has a time limit.

  • Part I: Academic Aptitude - 75 questions; 40 minutes

    • Verbal Subtest: identifying related vocabulary words

    • Arithmetic Subtest: performing arithmetic calculations

    • Nonverbal Subtest: identifying patterns in shapes

  • Part II: Spelling Test - 45 questions; 15 minutes

    • identifying misspelled words

  • Part III: Reading Comprehension - 35 questions; 35 minutes

    • answering questions about the content of short passages

  • Part IV: Information in the Natural Sciences - 60 questions; 25 minutes

    • answering questions about biology, chemistry, physics, and health

  • Part V: Vocational Adjustment Index - 90 questions; 15 minutes

    • choosing to agree or disagree with statements about your personality and workplace behaviors

Total: 305 questions; 2 hours and 10 minutes

 Click here to see the full content outline for the HOAE.

What is the Vocational Adjustment Index?

The Vocational Adjustment Index is a section on the HOAE. On this section, you agree or disagree with a series of statements about the workplace, behaviors, and your personality. This section helps determine if a job is a good fit for your personality. There are no “right” or “wrong” answers.

How do I register for the HOAE?

You must register through the PSB to take the HOAE. You’ll need a School Code for your school or program.

Can I reschedule my HOAE?

The PSB allows you to retake the HOAE. You may reschedule most exams two days in advance. You may be charged a fee.

Each school will have its own policy about which scores they will accept. Keep in mind that schools may require that you take the HOAE the same year that you are applying.

Where can I take the HOAE?

The HOAE is administered by individual health care education programs. Most programs will require that you take the test at a specified testing location, usually on their campus. You should check with the program to which you are applying to find its testing dates and locations. If you want to report your HOAE score to a school at which you did not test, you will need to contact the school’s admissions office.

What happens when I arrive for the HOAE?

Before you take the HOAE, carefully check the policies and procedures for your test site. Fees and payment methods will vary by school. Most schools will have specific requirements for what you will need to bring (e.g., identification, pencils) and what not to bring (e.g., calculators, cell phones).

Do I need to bring a calculator for the HOAE?

Check with the location where you are taking the exam. Most schools do not allow any electronic devices, including calculators.

How do I get testing accommodations for the HOAE?

If you require accommodations for testing, you must contact the school or testing site where you are taking the exam. You will need to provide supporting documentation. Be sure to contact the testing site at least six weeks in advance.


When will I get my HOAE score?

Once you have completed your test, you will receive a score report; you can also request to receive the report via email. Scores will be sent separately to the schools you specified when you registered.

How is the HOAE scored?

You will receive a raw score and a percentile rank for each of the five tests and three subtests. The raw score will simply show how many questions you answered correctly. The percentile rank will show how you scored compared to other candidates. For example, if you are in the seventy-fifth percentile for the Reading Comprehension test, that means you scored higher than 75 percent of all test takers.

If you test at the health care education program to which you are applying, that program will be sent a copy of your results.

What is a passing score on the HOAE?

There is no set “passing” score for the HOAE. Each program will have its own guidelines for how it interprets your scores during the application review process. Contact your school’s admissions office if you would like to learn more about how the school uses HOAE score reports.

Can I retake the HOAE?

If you do not get the scores you want, you will be able to retake the test. Keep in mind that schools have different requirements. Some schools may require that you take the HOAE the same year that you are applying.