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Nursing: NCLEX

This is an information tool for Nursing students.

6 Things to Know About the NCLEX Examination

In order to become a nurse in the U.S., you must first pass the NCLEX examination. There is a lot of information out there about this exam, so much so, in fact, that it may be hard to see the wood for the trees. Hopefully, the following 6 things to know about the examination will help you to better understand the rules and regulations.


1-There Are Two Types of NCLEX Examinations

Depending on your level of education, you can either take the NCLEX-PN (practical nurse) or the NCLEX-RN (registered nurse) examination. Those who obtain a diploma in licensed practical nursing or licensed vocational nursing can take the NCLEX-PN exam. While those who have completed an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) can take the NCLEX-RN exam.


 The NCLEX-RN is designed for nursing students who wish to become licensed as registered nurses in their state. Alternatively, the NCLEX-PN is for students who want to become practical or vocational nurses. There is considerable overlap between the content of the two exams, although the NCLEX-PN is typically considered to be less difficult. To become a registered nurse, you first need to earn a professional nursing degree. This can be done by completing a diploma program at a hospital, a two-year associate program in nursing, or a four-year bachelor of science in nursing program. A registered nurse who completes their educational program and licensing requirements may choose to further their education by earning a BSN or MSN after their RN certification is complete. A practical or vocational nurse generally has less educational and training experience than a registered nurse. PNs usually complete a year-long program that culminates in a nursing certificate. Both registered nurses and practical nurses find employment in an array of settings, although their responsibilities differ. RNs generally do more critical thinking on the job, complete more advanced duties, and hold a higher level of responsibility. Additionally, PNs often report to RNs. While both of these occupations continue to experience job growth, there is a higher demand for registered nurses because these professionals can carry out a greater variety of tasks.




Both exams focus on four specific areas of practice. The first is safe effective care environment. This is about being able to maintain hygiene and control infections. The second element is health promotion and maintenance. Preventative healthcare is one of the most important fields of work today. Then, there is psychosocial integrity. This looks at your ability to cope with the stresses of being a nurse and also focuses on being able to deliver mental health care. The final and largest element of the NCLEX exam is physiological integrity, which accounts for 43% to 67% of all questions. This is about your ability to deliver proper nursing care.

In the past, all NCLEX questions were multiple choice. Although many are still of the multiple-choice type, a lot of questions are now in a different format. But 90% of the questions continue to be multiple choice. Questions come in three levels. Level 1 is general knowledge and generally delivered as multiple choice. Level 2 is on analysis and application, which may or may not be multiple choice. Level 3 questions are the hardest of all and require you to apply facts, processes and rules in order to answer them. Often, these questions are open questions. Around 90% of the exam is made up of level 2 and 3 questions.



Students will attend one of their regional Pearson Centers in order to sit the examination. They are delivered electronically. The number of questions that need to be answered varies per student, as they are generated based on the answers of your previous question. As such, you might have to answer anything between 75 and 265 questions. However, only 60 of the 75 questions actually count, with the other 15 being trial questions. You have six hours to complete the test, with a number of break times included. The passing mark depends on how you compare to predetermined standards.


At present, the cost of an NCLEX exam is $200.

In order to take the NCLEX exam, you must first ask your state board of nursing to be licensed. If they believe you have the necessary skills to become a nurse in the state, they will put you forward for the NCLEX examination. To confirm your place, you will receive the Authorization to Take the Test (ATT) letter.

6 – Cost of the NCLEX Exam

At present, the cost of an NCLEX exam is $200.



Nursing Study Tools

PN Test Plans



The NCLEX-PN test plan provides a concise summary of the content and scope of the exam. It serves as a guide for both exam development and candidate preparation. The test plan links along with descriptions of each version are provided below.


2017 NCLEX-PN Test Plan

The NCLEX-PN test plan includes an overview of the content categories along with details about the administration of the exam.

2017 NCLEX-PN Detailed Test Plan

The detailed version of the NCLEX-PN examination test plan includes an in-depth overview of the content categories along with details about the administration of the exam as well as NCLEX-style item writing exercises and case scenario examples.








All information came from TheNational Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)