What is the NCLEX?
NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) is a countrywide examination for the certifying of nurses in the United States and Canada. After graduation from a nursing program, one takes the NCLEX test to obtain his or her nursing license. A nursing license gives an individual the authorization to practice nursing, granted by the state where he or she met the necessities.
NCLEX tests are established and maintained by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN). The NCSBN manages these examinations on behalf of its member boards which comprise of the boards of nursing in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
To ensure community safety, each board of nursing requires an applicant for licensure to pass the appropriate NCLEX test. NCLEX examinations are intended to check the understanding, talents and abilities essential for the safe and effective practice of nursing at the entry-level.
Many students find that using test preparations books help to improve their scores.
NCLEX Format & Scoring Structure
NCLEX tests are provided in a computerized adaptive testing (CAT) setup and are currently administered by Pearson VUE in their network of exam centers. The NCLEX is a type of test called a criterion-referenced test. A criterion-referenced test is a “test that compares an individual’s knowledge to a predetermined standard rather than to the performance of others who take the same test.” With computerized tests such as this, the computer chooses which problem you are asked based on how you answered the preceding problem. The NCLEX covers an extensive range of material. The student will be scored by their capability to think analytically about decisions involving nursing care.
The NCLEX exam is at a minimum 90 percent multiple-choice problems. The remaining problems require a student to fill in the blank, select all of the correct answers from a list of choices, put a number of stages in the correct order, or identify an accurate area on an image. Some of these unconventional format problems ask information about a chart, graph, or audio clip. The problems can also use images as the answer selections instead of words. Each problem will appear one at a time on the computer monitor. Problems will not be repeated; however, problems based on a comparable situation could be asked.
Each student will take a different form of the test. Since each problem depends on how the preceding problem is answered, an individual can be given between 75 and 265 problems. Only 60 out of the leading 75 questions on the test will count. The 15 that do not count are “trial” problems, and these will be used on future tests. The “trial” problems are not acknowledged as such, therefore, it is best to answer every problem.
Each student will have a maximum of six hours to finish the test but there is no minimum time limit.
A certain quantity of properly answered problems is not required to pass the test. A student’s score will not be equated to other scores to decide if he or she passes. The NCLEX is rated by equating the responses to a pre-established standard. Those students who meet or exceed the standard pass the test, those who do not fail.
The NCLEX is accessible at both domestic and international exam centers. You can schedule an appointment for a domestic or international exam center either online or over the phone by contacting Pearson VUE NCLEX Candidate Services.
According to National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc., all students who wish to take the NCLEX test must:
Submit a request for licensure/registration to the board of nursing/regulatory body where you wish to be licensed/registered.
Register for the NCLEX with Pearson, utilizing one of the contact methods. You will need a program code to register. Communication from Pearson will only be accessible via email.