NCLEX Exam for Nursing

NCLEX Exam for Nursing

NCLEX Exam for Nursing
Sahil Dahal

The National Council Licensure Exam has been used nationwide to license nurses in the United States, Canada, and Australia since 1982, 2015, and 2020. An individual with a nursing license is given authorisation by the jurisdiction where they are qualified to practice nursing.

The primary objective of the NCLEX exam is to assess whether it is safe for you to start working as an entry-level nurse. It differs significantly from any test you may have taken in nursing school. 

Because nursing program exams are knowledge-based, the NCLEX tests require you to apply and analyse the nursing skills you learned in school. We'll test your capacity to use critical thinking to make nursing judgments.

This challenging exam, given by the National Council of State Board of Nursing (NCSBN), assesses nursing applicants' fundamental knowledge and confirms their suitability for employment in hospitals and other healthcare settings.

The NCLEX Exam Two Different Forms

Passing NCLEX is the last requirement for obtaining a nursing license. Because every US state needs nurses to complete this exam before submitting it to the board of nursing, recent graduates and nursing programs refer to it as "the board exam." 

The NCLEX is available in two variants, the NCLEX-RN and the NCLEX-PN.


Nursing graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become Registered Nurses.

Academic Qualifications for NCLEX-RN:

To sit for the NCLEX-RN, you must:

The NCLEX-RN is much more complex and calls for additional training. ADN programs typically last 18 to 24 months, and BSN programs last 3 to 4 years.


The exam needed to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational (LVN) Nurse is called as National Council Licensing Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN), despite having differing state-specific titles, LVNs and LPNs equivalent.

Academic Qualifications for NCLEX-RN:

To sit for the NCLEX-PN, one should:

  • Equivalent to a high school diploma.
  • Certificate of completion from an accredited practical nursing school.

The majority of certificate programs in practical nursing involve one year of study.

NCLEX Exam Concentrates on Four Areas

A safe and productive care environment, health promotion and general upkeep, psychosocial purity, and physiological integrity are the four key areas of concentration on the NCLEX exam.

These broad categories are divided into more specific issues. For instance, the category of safe and efficient care emphasises the duties and rights of the customers.

Let's examine each of the NCLEX categories.

  • A safe and effective care environment

Two ideas are included in the first client need category, "Safe and Effective Care Environment":

17–23% of the NCLEX exam's questions pertain to care management. 

Complex Concepts, Activism, Treatment Planning, Customer Rights, Ideas of Management, Secrecy, Care Continuity Quality Enhancement,  Establishing

Objectives, Moral Practice, Confidentiality, Lawful Duties, Referrals, and Supervision are some nursing actions covered by this subcategory.

Between 9 and 15 per cent of exam questions are about safety and infection control. Accident prevention, error prevention, handling of hazardous substances, surgical aseptic technique, standard precautions, and restraint use are all nursing interventions.

  • Health promotion and general upkeep

Health Promotion and Management is the second client need category. This exam portion makes up 6–12% of the total. 

The ageing process, newborn care, physical growth and progressions, preventative medicine, health checks, life choices, physical assessment procedures, promoting health initiatives, hazardous behaviours, and self-care are just a few of the nursing actions that have been tested.

  •  Psychosocial purity

The integrity of the psychosocial system is the third client need category, making up 6–12% of the exam.

Nursing actions such as coping strategies, grieving and lost opportunity, mental well-being concepts, spiritual influences on health, sensory/perceptual changes, managing stress, support networks, communication skills, substance dependence, behaviour modification, crisis intervention, coping strategies, end-of-life care, and family dynamics are tested in this section.

  • Physiological integrity

Physiological Integrity is the last of the client needs categories. There are four ideas in it:

Primary Care and Comfort:

On the NCLEX exam, primary care and comfort questions comprise 6-12% of the questions.

Assistive devices, eviction, mobility, non-pharmacological comfort measures, nourishment and oral hydration, hygiene, and rest and sleep are all nursing interventions that fall under this classification.

Parenteral and pharmacological therapies:

Parenteral and pharmacological therapies comprise about 12–18% of the exam. 

Negative impacts, potential side effects, blood and blood-related products, chemotherapy, central venous devices, expected effects, supportive care, administering medications, medicinal pain control, parental nutrition, and dosage estimation are just a few tested nursing interventions.

Potential Risk Reduction:

9–15% of the exam is dedicated to reducing risk potential. 

Laboratory testing, laboratory results, the possibility of surgical complications, potential health changes, and therapeutic procedures are only a few of the tested nursing interventions.

Physiological Adaptation:

In the exam, physiological adaptation makes up 11–17% of the questions. 

Changes in the Organ Systems, Electrolyte and Fluid Inequities, Blood oxygenation, Clinical Emergencies, Anatomy and physiology, and Surprising responses to Therapies are just a few of its clinically tested nursing interventions.

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The NCLEX Grading System

The National Council Licensure Exam grading scheme for nursing is one of the most sophisticated assessment systems.

The Computerized Adaptive Testing System simultaneously administers and scores NCLEX exams.

This user-friendly system creates an exam for you based on your measured aptitude and has a bank of potential questions organised by difficulty. No two NCLEX tests will ever be the same for you.

Pre-test inquiries

15 of the 75–265 questions you'll respond to on the NCLEX-RN, or 85–205 for the NCLEX-PN, are pretest questions. 

There is no scoring for the pretest questions. But, students won't be able to distinguish between the pretest and graded questionnaire, thus answering them all truthfully.

Ability Assessment

The CAT system presents you with your first question as soon as the test starts. The CAT system calculates your ability based on whether you provided a proper or erroneous response and then bases the next question it asks you on that estimate. 

The CAT reassesses your aptitude after each question depending on the overall number of responses you've provided up to that point and then selects your next question. Every time you respond to a question on the test, this process is repeated.

Exam Termination

For the NCLEX exams, there are 3 pass/fail criteria:

  • The exam could finish if the allotted five hours are up, according to the "run-out-of-time" regulation.
  • If you have completed all of the exam's questions and there is nothing else for you to do, it is the second scenario in which the test can conclude.
  • As you complete the test, the computer examines your responses to evaluate how well you have the necessary skills to pass. The exam stops when the computer determines you're below that level with a 95 per cent certainty.

The Passing Standard

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing's Board of  Directors sets the passing threshold for the NCLEX exams.

It evaluates it every 3 years to maintain the highest acceptable standards in the sector. No set minimum score or number of correct answers exists because the CAT program evaluates your responses in a pass/fail approach to establish your aptitude.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding NCLEX:

  • What number of questions are on the NCLEX-RN?

Each participant answers a minimum of 75 and a max of 145 questions. You will be asked 15 experimental questions, no matter how often you respond positively or negatively. The test makers use them as practice questions for upcoming exam questions.

  • How long should I have to study for the NCLEX-RN?

Each question has an unspecified allotment of time. A tutorial is included at the beginning of the six-hour test. There are no mandatory breaks. However, voluntary breaks are offered after two to three hours of testing.

  • When will the NCLEX-RN test be over?

If any of the following happens, your exam is over:

  1. You've shown the bare minimum of proficiency and responded to the bare minimum of questions.
  2. You've answered the bare minimum of questions and shown a lack of minimal competency.
  3. You have responded to all the questions.
  4. The time allotted to you has been consumed.
  • What if I don't pass the RN NCLEX?

If you don't pass, you'll get a diagnostics profile that rates how well you did on the test. Please read it thoroughly. You can check how many exam questions you correctly answered. You got closer to passing the test more the questions you could answer.

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