DET: Basic Information

The Diagnostic Entrance Test (DET) developed by Arnett Development Corporation, is an exam that assesses a potential student’s proficiencies in basic academic areas such as math, reading, science, and writing. Although it is general enough to be used by any academic program and for any incoming student, it is most often used by nursing schools to test potential nursing students. In fact it contains an extra set of questions specifically for nursing school applicants.

If you are applying to a nursing school, there is a good possibility that you will need to take the DET. However, unlike the ACT or SAT, which are required by most colleges in the United States, not all nursing schools require you to take the DET. You will need to visit the web sites of the nursing schools you’re applying to, to determine if they require you to take the DET. At most nursing schools, you will need to submit your application for enrollment prior to signing up for and taking the test.

It’s also highly likely that if you’re applying for a bachelor’s degree you will take other diagnostic tests like the ACT or the SAT. The DET is most often required for students attending a certificate nursing program or an associate’s degree program. Most often these students will be working toward becoming a licensed practical nurse or a licensed vocational nurse, depending on the state in which you reside. However, that is not always the case. Some registered nurses receive their education in one of these programs. Other types of nurses may also be seeking their training through a program like this.

But because you are most likely not seeking a full four-year degree, the DET is required so that nursing schools can determine whether you are a likely candidate for their program. They use your DET score as well as your high school grades and other information you provided to determine how likely you are to succeed in their nursing school. The DET test was designed to be a diagnostic instrument to evaluate your knowledge level in specific areas and pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. This allows the nursing school to see if you are strong in the areas that are important for nursing, such as some basic math and science skills, as well as reading and comprehension. The DET is also designed to assess your ability to apply the information you’ve learned throughout your education and use basic principles, rules, concepts, and facts you have built on throughout your educational life.

Most nursing schools that utilize the DET exam emphasize that it is an important part of their decision making. Therefore, if you are required to take the exam you should plan to spend several hours studying and preparing for it.

The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to the DET exam is that each nursing school that requires you to take the exam has its own requirements for when to register, when it will be taken, when you will receive the results, etc. You may also be able to use your results from the exam you took at one nursing school at another. But you should call each nursing program to find out. Each nursing school administers the test in its own way, so make sure you visit the nursing school web site and get as much information as you can about the DET exam. If you’re unable to find all the information you need, call the admissions office at the nursing school and ask questions. You are responsible for obtaining the DET test information so that you can take it before the deadline.

DET Scoring Information

DET Scoring InformationAs an applicant to nursing school, it’s highly likely that your nursing program will require you to take the Diagnostic Entrance Test (DET) developed by Arnett Development Corporation. Basically, the DET is an exam that assesses a potential student’s proficiencies in basic academic areas such as math, reading, science, and writing. Although it wasn’t designed specifically for nursing students and is general enough to be used by any academic program and for any incoming student, as you have discovered, it is most often used by nursing schools to test potential nursing students. In fact it contains an extra set of questions specifically for students entering more scientific or technical fields such as engineering or nursing school.

If you’ve already done your research on the DET, then you know that it is composed of 148 multiple choice questions that cover four basic areas: English language, reading and comprehension, math, and critical thinking. Your particular nursing program may also ask that you complete another section that is only offered to potential nursing students, engineering students, or other more technical or science-based programs. As soon as you know what the exam covers, the next questions you’ll have will relate to scoring. Here is some general information on DET scoring.

  • First of all, it’s important that you understand that there is not a centralized test corporation, organization, or authority that administers the DET in a standardized way on a national basis. In fact, each nursing school administers the test at its own facilities, with its own personnel, and with its own policies, rules, and regulations. Because of that, minimum passing scores and similar information may vary. Some schools may accept students that achieve lower scores than others. The only way you’re going to know the minimum acceptable DET scores at your nursing school is to find out through the school. Most nursing schools provide that information on their admissions office web site or in their application packets.
  • While the test is divided into four basic areas, for the purpose of scoring, the four areas are combined into two, with the English language and reading and comprehension sections presented in one score, and the math and critical thinking sections combined into the second score. Your nursing program will be looking for certain numbers for each of these two scores. As mentioned, you may also be asked to take an additional 60-question science section. If that is the case, you will actually have three scores.
  • Since the test is a paper and pencil exam, it is scored by hand, and that means you will not instantly know your results as you would a computerized test. When you will be notified of your score depends on your nursing program. It can take up to two or three weeks at some schools before the test is scored and the results are mailed. You should be able to find out your school’s scoring and notification policy through the admission office’s web site, or by calling the nursing program office.

If you do not earn the minimum score required by the school, you should be able to retake the exam. Each nursing school will have a different policy regarding retesting. For example, some schools only allow you to retake the test once a year. Again, you need to find out your school’s policy so you have complete information about the DET exam. If you are happy with the score you’ve earned but you need to wait to apply to the nursing program, your score may be valid for one to two years. Again, this depends on the nursing school and its policy. Make sure you read all DET information available to you through your nursing school.

DET: What it covers and its Format

If you’ve been requested to take the Diagnostic Entrance Test (DET) developed by Arnett Development Corporation, it’s very likely that you’re applying to one or more nursing school. The DET is an exam that assesses a potential student’s proficiencies in basic academic areas such as math, reading, science, and writing. Although it is general enough to be used by any academic program and for any incoming student, it is most often used by nursing schools to test potential nursing students. In fact it contains an extra set of questions specifically for students entering more scientific or technical fields such as engineering or nursing school. Unlike the ACT or SAT, which are required by most colleges in the United States, not all nursing schools require you to take the DET. You will need to visit the web sites of the nursing schools you’re applying to, to determine if they require you to take the DET.

Since the DET is used to assess your abilities in a broad range of subjects, it covers quite a bit of material. The standard DET exam contains 148 questions, and these questions are divided into four primary areas: English language, reading and comprehension, math, and critical thinking. The DET you may be asked to take for admission into nursing school may also contain an additional 60 science questions. All of the questions are in a multiple choice format, and the test is not computerized. It is a paper and pencil exam. Here is a breakdown of what each section is intended to cover.

  • English language
    The English language questions will be assessing your abilities when it comes to spelling and grammar. If it has been some time since you’ve had an English course you may want to focus on these areas. In addition, the English section covers your ability to understand words within specific contexts as well as your recognition of correct sentence structure.
  • Reading
    In the reading section of the DET, you will be presented with some passages from books and articles. Some of the passages will be from academic books, while others will be from fiction, both short and long. The goal of this section is to determine your ability to comprehend what you read, as well as your ability to draw inferences and conclusions based on what you’ve read. This section also covers your ability to interpret graphs and charts. There are more questions in the Reading and English sections than in the Math and Critical Thinking sections.
  • Math
    If math isn’t one of your best subjects, it is especially important for you to know what this section contains so you’ll know what to study. The questions in this section will involve integers, whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percents, and pattern recognition. In this section you will have to solve problems and choose the correct answer. The test will also include word problems, which means you’ll need to decide what type of mathematical operation you need to perform to calculate the answer.
  • Critical Thinking
    The final core competency that the standard DET test covers is critical thinking. The goal of this section is to assess your ability to solve problems through a variety of techniques including analysis, explanation, inference, interpretation, and evaluation.
  • Science
    As mentioned earlier, as a nursing student you may also be asked to answer an additional 60 science questions. These questions will cover basic science concepts and your ability to comprehend and apply scientific material.

Depending on which form of the test you are asked to take, you will be given two and a half to three hours to complete the test. Since each nursing school administers the test, this time may vary. Check your nursing school’s web site or call the admissions office to find out how long you’ll have to complete the DET exam.

Preparing for the DET Exam

Preparing for the DET ExamIf you’re applying for admission to a nursing school program, then it’s very likely that you’ll be asked to take the Diagnostic Entrance Test (DET) developed by Arnett Development Corporation. The DET is an exam that assesses a potential student’s proficiencies in basic academic areas such as math, reading, science, and writing. Although it wasn’t designed specifically for nursing students and is general enough to be used by any academic program and for any incoming student, it is most often used by nursing schools to test potential nursing students. In fact it contains an extra set of questions specifically for students entering more scientific or technical fields such as engineering or nursing school.

While the DET may seem like it is pretty basic, you should still plan to spend plenty of time preparing for it. You wouldn’t want to take any test without studying first, and the DET exam is no exception, especially when its score may be a deciding factor of whether you are accepted into nursing school.

So before you can study for the exam, you’ll need to know what subjects it covers. For an overview of what is on the DET exam, you can read another article on this site called “DET What it Covers and its Format.” It would also be a good idea to purchase one or two study guides so that you will be able to study all of the topics from those books rather than having to go over material from four or more textbooks. The Arnett Development Corporation publishes the DET Study Guide. Most nursing schools that require you to take the DET also carry this study guide in their bookstores. If they don’t it is easily purchased online. The primary advantage to using this guide is that is developed by the company that produces the DET so it should have the most up to date and complete range of information. However, there are additional study guides and tools you should also consider using. Most experts actually recommend that you use a minimum of two study guides for any exam like the DET so that you are exposed to as much information as possible.

You should also plan to take one or two practice exams before you take the actual DET. Taking practice exams are important because they help you do a self-assessment of your skills and abilities. It should be clear after taking the DET what areas you are doing well in and which ones you need to study. Just before you take the DET take another practice test so if there are any last minute study needs you can attend to them.

Other study tools you can use to prepare for the DET include study groups and flashcard systems. Study groups will hold you accountable and you will have to set aside a specific amount of time each week to study. Flashcard systems are great tools for helping you memorize definitions, key terms, and math equations that are part of the DET exam.

There are many of these study guides and tools available online. Don’t purchase any of them without doing some research. You need to make sure they update their guides to match the latest version of the DET and they should be published by a company with a good reputation in the industry. Ask other students that have already taken the DET what tools they used that worked for them. But the final decision should be yours. By now you should be used to taking exams and you know what tools are the most beneficial for you. Just make sure you use a combination of tools to be the most prepared.

Registering for the DET

Most people who are required to take the Diagnostic Entrance Test (DET) developed by Arnett Development Corporation are applying to nursing school. The DET is an exam that assesses a potential student’s proficiencies in basic academic areas such as math, reading, science, and writing. Although it wasn’t designed specifically for nursing students and is general enough to be used by any academic program and for any incoming student, it is most often used by nursing schools to test potential nursing students. In fact it contains an extra set of questions specifically for students entering more scientific or technical fields such as engineering or nursing school.

If you’re applying to a specific nursing school and you are required to take the DET, there will be information available on the school’s web site and in their application package about the DET. The information will include how you register or schedule to take the test, what the test contains, and any study material that may be available to you. If you are applying to more than one nursing school and both of them require the DET you may be able to use the score you achieve at one school in your application package to the other school. However, you should check with the nursing school to make sure. Since each nursing school administers the test and may offer a slightly different version, they may not be able to use your score from a different school.

In most instances you will need to turn in your application for enrollment to the college before you are able to register to take the DET. You will usually be asked to pay for the DET at the time you turn in your nursing school application. Fees can range from $30 to $50 or more. Most schools will accept a DET score for up to one to two years after you take the exam.

When you take the exam depends on when your nursing school offers it. Most programs offer it several times throughout the year, usually corresponding to the beginning of each quarter or semester. Typically, the DET is also offered at various times of day for your convenience. If you work there are usually evening sessions, as well as morning, afternoon, and Saturday sessions. Some nursing schools also offer workshops for the DET that help you prepare for it. You should be able to find the current schedule of when the DET exam is offered by visiting the web site for your nursing school’s admissions department. If you are unable to find it there, you can call the admissions office.

Knowing that each nursing school may administer the DAT test a bit differently, that means they may also have different scores they find acceptable for their programs. Make sure you know what you need to score to be accepted into the nursing program you’re applying to.

Also, you may be required to arrive at the test location prior to the exam time. For example, some schools ask that you arrive 15 to 30 minutes prior to when the test begins. This is usually to give the test administrators time to check you in, confirm your identification, hand out the tests, and give instructions. Each nursing school will also have its own set of exam rules and regulations such as what you’re allowed to have in the room with you, and what you’re not.

Since the exam is not computerized, you will not receive your results until the exam is graded. Usually this takes anywhere from 10 days to two weeks. The test results are mailed to you and the admissions office.