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State and NAB Exam

State Exam

  • What is the fee?
    $75.00. All fees are non-refundable. If you must repeat the exam, a $75.00 fee is required for each sitting.
  • When is it administered?
    The state exam is administered at 10:00 AM the second Thursday of every odd month at the board office in Minneapolis. A map with directions is found under the Board tab at the BENHA website. 
  • When should I schedule my state and national exams?
    A formal rule does not exist. You may take the state or national examination at any point after you have a full licensure application on file with the board. From successful candidates, feedback suggests you spend your practicum studying the state rules and statutes and take the state exam near the end of your practicum, spending the last month of the practicum studying for the national examination.
  • How should I study for the state exam?
    The state examination is open book and, through examination, is attempting to assure that all candidates have exposure to Minnesota specific Rules and Statutes. Board staff suggests you read the Rules at least twice and Statutes once. Minnesota’s Book Store has the required books for sale with the information provided applicants in their initial packet acknowledging receipt of their application. See list of required books & use link on the State Exam page under the Applicants tab to get to Minnesota’s Book Store.
  • Are there study questions?
    In Minnesota the license to operate a nursing home is issued by:
    1. MN State Board of Licensure
    2. MN Department of Health
    3. MN Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators
    4. MN Office of Health Facility Complaints
  • What’s this ‘index’ I’ve heard about that is provided at the examination?
    An unofficial index was created by another state agency in 1996 and is not updated on a regular basis. Therefore, it is considered unofficial and is provided for test takers as a tool to aide in locating subjects related to the questions. The simple index is alphabetized by subject matter for Minnesota Rules Chapter 4658. Use this index and the list of printed chapters at the beginning of the Statutes & Rules books to acquaint yourself with the order of the chapters.
  • Who writes the test questions?
    All questions are written or revised by board members who are licensed nursing home administrators. Questions are reviewed every three years to assure accuracy and reflect a contemporary question of current importance.
  • What is the test like?
    There are 34 multiple choice questions with ten beta questions which do not apply to the final required score of 18. The ten beta questions are statistically tested for future examinations and if a quality question are maintained in the exam bank. There are three different versions of the exam.
  • I need to complete the state examination before the next scheduled date. What can I do?
    Contact board staff. They can schedule a private examination due to circumstances beyond candidates’ control, such as the need for an acting permit, pending employment, or a travel challenge.

NAB Exam

  • What is the Fee?
    The current Professional Examination Services fee is $350.00 paid directly to them online by credit card only. The fee for the NAB will increase to $375.00 and the fee for the  RCAL exam will increase to $325.00 on September 15, 2014.
  • How do I apply for the national exam?

    You must have an active application for licensure on file with the state licensing board to be eligible to take the NAB exam. Information about how to apply for the NAB exam with the electronic link will be sent after BENHA receives your application and the $150 fee to begin the licensure process.  

    Registration for the NAB exam is online, so an email address is required. It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete the on-line registration. Once approval is granted by the Minnesota Board, authorization is officially emailed to you by PES, with an authorization number and directions to contact a Prometric-Sylvan Learning Center site to schedule your exam. It is required you schedule and complete the exam within sixty days of your applications approval.  

  • When should I schedule my national exam?
    You may take the NAB exam any time after you have a BENHA application for licensure on file. Applicants tell us that the examination is best completed when the courses and practicum are completed or nearly completed.

    A growing trend is to complete a NAB Practice Exam before your practicum, which summarizes your performance on the five domains of practice and identifies potential study areas to focus on during the practicum. At the completion of the practicum, complete the second practice exam to see if you are ready to sit for the actual exam.
  • How often is the national exam given?
    The exam is offered by computer based testing, with you choosing the date of your examination from a list of openings. The exams are administered at designated Prometric (Sylvan) Testing Centers throughout the United States. Prometric provides you the link during the NAB exam registration to electronically contact the center most convenient to you. 
  • How long does the examination take?
    The time limit is three hours.   
  • How should I study for the NAB exam?
    The NAB exam is challenging and the board encourages you to be diligent in your study plan. The national success rate ranges between 60-66% with Minnesota historically being higher. Check out the NAB website (link is on the NAB exam page under Applicants tab above) for their practice exams and for the current bibliography of text books used as the basis to create all examination questions.  Click on the NAB website link at left to download their handbook or to order study materials for the NAB exam. The study guide provides you sample questions. It also provides you the complete Domains of Practice and the Bibliography used to create all questions. 
  • How do I schedule the examination?
    When you feel you’re sufficiently ready, you will initiate the application process and log on to and answer a series of questions which takes approximately 15 minutes. The application will be reviewed by Professional Examination Services, New York City, NY, and, typically within 24 hours, an email is sent to BENHA. If you have a current application on file with BENHA, BENHA staff will approve you to sit for the examination and you will receive an electronic link to a Professional Examination Service/Sylvan Learning Center to schedule your examination online, typically within 48 hours of when you initiated the online enrollment. You will be provided instructions how to schedule at the current locations of Bloomington, Duluth, Edina, Rochester and Woodbury. Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Fargo, North Dakota are also sites at which Minnesota candidates have taken their exams. You are given a 60 day window to schedule and complete the exam or will forfeit the initial payment holding your test slot.
  • When do I get the results?
    You will receive a preliminary Pass/Fail when you finish the examination. Official results with your detailed raw and scale scores, broken down by domains of practice will be electronically provided to BENHA every other Wednesday. BENHA will forward those detailed results to you within 48 hours. An electronic notice is also sent by the testing agency.
  • What if I fail?
    Once BENHA staff release the score, candidates are eligible to reapply for the NAB examination. BENHA suggests you review the results, study those domains scoring less than 75%, gather additional study materials and take your time before reapplying.
  • Is there a limit as to how many times I can take the exam?
    The board has an informal rule that encourages candidates to meet with a board representative and the Executive Director, if not successful after the fourth attempt. This is not a formal rule, so it is not enforceable. However, the role of the board is to assure public safety by supplying quality administrators and will attempt to coach candidates to be successful.
  • Do all states use the same national examination service?
    Yes, Minnesota and all 50 states (and DC), require its applicants to successfully complete the examination developed by the National Association of Boards of Examiners for Long Term Care Administrators - the NAB exam. This exam is developed and administered by Prometric Examination Services, PES. It is a 150-item multiple choice test covering the Domains of Practice. The five domains and percentage of examination questions are:

    * Resident Care and Quality of Life (35%)
    * Human Resources (15%)
    * Finance (14%)
    * Physical Environment & Atmosphere (13%)
    * Leadership and Management (23%)

    All jurisdictions accept a successful score. 
  • How do Minnesota applicants perform on the examination?

    Historically… very well.  The results are listed below.

    2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001
    NHA Examinees 72 54 58 50 37 37 52 30 28
    NHA Pass # 56 43 37 33 20 31 39 25 23
    MN. NHA Pass Rate 77.7% 79.6% 63.8% 66.0% 54.1% 83.8% 75.0% 83.3% 82.1%
    National Avg: 63.5% 64.0% 62.5% 67.0% 65.0% 66.2% 68.0% 73.5% 70.1%

  • How successful are graduates from Minnesota approved colleges on the national examination?

    January to December 2010 results:





     # With

    Passing Scores

     Pass Rate

    U of MN - Twin Cities




    Concordia - Moorhead




    U of W I- Eau Claire




    MSU - Moorhead





    U of MN - Crookston




    St. Cloud State University




    MSU - Mankato




  • How quickly do I find out the results?
    An unofficial, initial pass/fail is provided upon completion of the examination. The board receives the validated scores every other Wednesday from PES and will forward the formal scores, broken down by domains, to the applicant promptly.