Nelson-Denny Reading Test Review

The Nelson Denny Reading Test, named for professors who developed the test, is used to measure reading comprehension and ability in adolescents and young adults. While it cannot be used to diagnose disorders, it can help identify students in need of additional reading instruction. Many schools and universities use it to place students in a language arts class appropriate to the student’s reading level.


Nelson-Denny Reading Test Study Guide

Nelson-Denny Reading Test Flashcards


How Do I Register for the Test?

The test is administered independently by the schools that require it. In order to schedule an appointment, you should talk to your academic advisor or school counselor. Try to schedule your appointment as soon as you can but make sure you get an appointment that leaves you with at least a week or two to prepare for the test.

What Should I Expect on Test Day?

The reading test is relatively short, lasting about 35 minutes altogether. Test takers will have 15 minutes for the vocabulary portion and 20 minutes for the reading comprehension part. While the test is relatively short, keep in mind that you only have one chance to take the test.

Whatever score you get on your first attempt is the score you have to stick with. So it is especially important that you show up to the test well-rested, relaxed, and confident that you can perform your best. Here are a few tips to do that:

  • Don’t cram for the test the night before. You can study during the day but make sure you get to bed at a reasonable hour so that you can get a full night of sleep.
  • Wake up early enough to make time for a nourishing breakfast. Don’t eat anything heavier than you’re used to but try to get a balance of vitamins and nutrients.
  • Leave home earlier than you need to. Plan to show up at least 30 minutes early to your appointment and don’t forget to account for any traffic or other delays.
  • Bring a light jacket or sweater that you can easily take on or off as needed during the exam.
  • Make sure you’re as physically comfortable as possible. Go to the bathroom, have a glass of water, take a short walk outside the testing center. Do whatever you need to do to make sure you’re going to be comfortable during the test.

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What Will Be on the Nelson Denny Reading Test?

The Nelson-Denny test is actually made up of two tests: a vocabulary test and a reading comprehension the test. The vocabulary test includes 80 multiple choice questions. The reading comprehension test includes five short reading passages each followed by a set of questions asking test-takers to identify correct, factual content from the passage as well as draw inferences. The total number of questions on the reading comprehension test is 38.

How Is the Nelson Denny Reading Test Scored?

The raw score (the actual number of questions the test taker answered correctly) is converted into a number corresponding to the grade level representing the test taker’s reading skills. For example, a score of 9.8 would indicate a reading skill level of the eighth month of the ninth grade whereas a score of 13.2 would indicate the reading level of a college freshman in their second month.

This score will help in determining how challenging a given text or course will be for a student, and it can also be used to help create a plan for bringing that skill level up to where it needs to be.

Because it is used as a diagnostic test, there is no minimum score needed to pass. However, your results will be used to determine whether you’re capable of completing the coursework you are trying to complete.

How Should I Prepare for the Nelson Denny Reading Test?

While the test is simply used as a diagnostic, there are no retakes allowed. So it is important that you are ready to do your best. That means you should spend at least a week or two refreshing your knowledge and practicing your skills. To do that, you should make use of study aids that are designed to reinforce your vocabulary and reading comprehension skills.

Two great tools you can use are the Mometrix Study Guide and Mometrix Flashcards. These have been created by a team of experts according to the exact specifications of the Nelson Denny Reading Test. The guide includes tips, strategies, and practice questions all designed to strengthen your reading comprehension skills and develop your vocabulary.

The flashcards include essential vocabulary words to help you reinforce your memory as well as develop your comprehension skills. When completing the practice questions, make sure to use a timer so that you can replicate the test day conditions as closely as possible.

Nelson-Denny Reading Study Guide

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: November 2, 2022