What is NCLEX - Things You Ought To Know About The Exam


Thinking of taking the prestigious NCLEX-RN exam? What exactly is the NCLEX? If you aspire to be a nurse, you must have heard about this exam. To earn certification in any of the 50 US states, the District of Columbia, or four US territories, including the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam, registered nurses must take the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses) exam. It is intended to assess a nurse's abilities, skills, and knowledge to ensure safe nursing practice at the entry-level. 

The Test Format

The NCSBN (National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.) organizes the exam administered by Pearson VUE. Your competency level is assessed using an interactive system known as CAT. (Computerized Adaptive Testing).

You should expect a total of 75 to 265 questions, depending on how you answered the previous questions. Only 60 out of the first 75 questions will be counted. The remaining 15 questions are "trial" questions that will appear on future exams. You will not be able to recognize these questions, thus it is recommended that you attempt each one.

What is Included in the Exam?

The four content categories are the same in both the PN and RN tests, as listed below:

Safe and Effective Care Environment

The ability of a nurse to create a friendly and functional environment for patients is tested in this section. Accident prevention, ethics, client rights, and home safety are some of the topics that might be studied.

Health Promotion and Maintenance

Aside from treating ailments, the modern nursing practice focuses on preventing future health issues. Students' understanding of growth and development principles will be tested in this section, which covers topics such as the aging process, neonatal care, lifestyle choices, and developmental phases.

Psychosocial Integrity

The NCLEX also assesses a student's understanding of mental health, with this area focusing on emotional, social, and mental aspects that can affect a patient's health (such as abuse, chemical dependence, and stress).

Physiological Integrity

Practicing nurses are responsible for promoting physical well-being by ensuring that patients are relaxed and comfortable. Risk management, treatment methods, and possible responses of patients to therapy are all included in this section.

NCLEX Question Types

Most of the exam questions are multiple-choice. The NCSBN has just introduced a new format that incorporates the following:

  • Checkboxes are used to choose several correct answers.

  • Identification of specific section of a sketched body part

  • Arranging in order the steps of nursing or medical procedures

  • Free-response questions about drug calculations

Results of the Exam

If you pay $7.95 on the Pearson VUE NCLEX Candidate website, you can receive your "unofficial" results 48 hours after the exam is completed if the board you apply for is a member of Quick Results Service. The official results will be mailed to you roughly one month after the exam.

Candidates who do not pass the exam

If you do not pass the exam, you will be given an NCLEX CPR (Candidate Performance Report). It will show you how well you did in each component of the test. You can use this as a guide to help you prepare for a retake of the exam.

How To Retake The Exam

You have 45 to 90 days after taking the prior exam to retake it. The time is set by the state board of nursing. Follow the steps below to retake the exam:

Notify your state's nursing board that you want to repeat the exam and determine what costs and documentation you'll need. Re-register with Pearson VUE and pay the $200 registration cost. Immediately after getting the ATT, you can reschedule your NCLEX-RN exam.


The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is one of two standardized tests that nurses must pass to become either a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN) (RN).

Nursing students must earn an accredited nursing degree and pass the NCLEX-RN (for RNs) or NCLEX-PN (for PNs) exams to become licensed (for LPNs). This step is crucial because it allows states to independently verify the candidates' nursing knowledge and assess their competence to practice safely as a nurse. Consider this: would you want to be treated by a nurse who hasn't demonstrated that they've completed these requirements? Almost certainly not!

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