Nelson-Denny Reading Test: Scores, Questions and Answers (2024)
Shir Enzer

Shir, Nelson-Denny Expert at JobTestPrep.

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What's the Nelson-Denny Reading Test (NDRT)?


The Nelson-Denny Reading Test, developed in 1930 by professors Martin J. Nelson and Emerson Charles Denny, measures general reading ability, comprehension and vocabulary skills in adolescents, college students and young adults.

The test is divided into two main sections:

  • Vocabulary Section: 80-100 multiple-choice questions with a 15-minute time limit.
  • Reading Comprehension Section: Multiple questions based on five short passages, with a 20-minute time limit.

Total Time: 35 minutes.

 Note: You can expect reading comprehension passages drawn from current textbooks in Science and Humanities.

Visit our Free Nelson-Denny Practice Test to gain further insights into the test format.

Nelson-Denny Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary Sections

Reading Comprehension Sample Questions

You can expect five to eight reading passages and between 36 to 38 questions that will test your reading comprehension skills. The time frame for this portion of the NDRT is 20 minutes. Each passage is approximately a half-page in length.

The NDRT online Reading Comprehension section measures two main skills and reading levels:

  • Ability to understand the literal meaning of the written material.
  • Ability to infer from the information contained in the passage.

The items require a recall of facts, analysis, summary, or making conclusions based solely on the facts included in the scenario presented.


Over a billion people use Facebook, and Facebook allows them to place advertisements in order to reach just about any group of people imaginable. Some people prefer to advertise on Google, where they can find more active buyers. Yet, the advantage of Facebook is that it is a very popular network, enabling you to reach any segment of people, anywhere, within a very short setup time.

Anyone can create a Facebook advertisement by following three simple steps. First, you must register as a user on Facebook, if you don't already have an account. Next, you need to set up a Facebook profile page to represent your company or service. On your Page, you can promote items or services, interact with established customers, and create opportunities to reach new customers.

Finally, you advertise by reaching out to your customers with posts. Posts can be anything ranging from a notice of a summer sale to the announcement of a new product line.

Which one of the following is mentioned as an objective of a company's profile page?

A. Establishing new connections.

B. Posting pictures.

C. Finding investors.

D. Research rival companies.



The company's profile page is detailed in the second step. Let's examine it closely: ”Set up a Facebook profile page to represent your company or service. On your Page, you can promote items or services, interact with established customers, and create opportunities to reach new customers.” The only answer that corresponds with this paragraph is (a), since ”establishing new connections” is equivalent to ”reach[ing] new customers”.

Vocabulary Sample Questions

The Vocabulary section is comprised of 80 to 100 items to be answered in 15 minutes. In it, words will be presented either alone or in the context of a phrase or sentence.
The total Nelson-Denny vocabulary words list is comprised of 300 words.

Your goal is to choose one response that best fits the definition of the initial word from a set of alternatives following the question.


Augment most nearly means:

A. Repent
B. Concise
C. Improve
D. Amplify
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Augment means to add to something, to enlarge, or to increase. Therefore, Amplify is closest in meaning.

Surmount most nearly means:

A. Add
B. Hill
C. Remainder
D. Overcome
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The word surmount has two meanings: (1) To be on top of something, (2) To deal with something successfully.

The word overcome is similar to the second definition and is therefore the correct answer.

Click to see more Nelson Denny Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary test questions.


What's the Registration Process Like?

To register for the test, contact the academic advisors, administrators or hiring managers at the establishment requiring the test. They specific information on testing appointments and registration procedures varies varies accordingly.

💡  Registration Tips:

  • Schedule your test as early as possible.
  • Ensure you have at least a week or two to prepare before your test date.


Our Nelson-Denny PrepPack includes step-by-step explanations that offer instant fixes for any question you may struggle with as well as study guides with foolproof tips to help you dominate every aspect of the test.


How is the Nelson-Denny Test Scored?

Your score reflects your reading skills according to standardized education grade-level expectations.

Here are important scoring details you need to know in advance:

  • Raw Score: The total number of correctly answered questions.
  • Grade Level Score: Converts your raw score into a grade level comparison.
    • A score of 9.8 indicates reading ninth grade skills.
    • A score of 13.2 indicates a freshman college reading level.
  • Diagnostic Nature: There is no pass or fail. The test diagnoses reading ability to help place students in appropriate courses.

Immerse yourself in the actual test and improve your overall reading ability with our Nelson-Denny Reading Comprehension sample questions.



How many questions are on the Nelson Denny reading test?

As mentioned previously a typical Nelson-Denny test form includes two sections:

  • A Vocabulary section that has 80-100 multiple-choice questions and takes 15 minutes.
  • A Reading comprehension section that includes 36-38 multiple-choice questions and takes 20 minutes.

What is the time limit for the 
Nelson Denny reading test?

You are expected to finish the test in no longer than 35 minutes.

What is the passing score for the 
Nelson Denny reading test?

The Nelson–Denny test yields four scores from the two subtests: Vocabulary and Comprehension.

Notably, there is not a specific passing score and it varies according to the establishment requirements.

What are the benefits of taking the Nelson Denny Test? 

The structure of the test provides high diagnostic accuracy since it undergoes ongoing studies and updates, ensuring that the test remains a valid and effective tool for assessing reading skills.

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