National Council Licensure EXamination

The NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure EXamination-Registered Nurse) is a computer-adaptive test (CAT) of entry-level nursing competence. Passing the exam is required of candidates for licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) by all US state and territorial Boards of Nursing.

The NCLEX-RN® and NCLEX-PN® examinations are developed and owned by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN®). NCSBN administers these examinations on behalf of its member boards which consist of the boards of nursing in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands.

To ensure public protection, each board of nursing requires a candidate for licensure to pass the appropriate NCLEX® examination, NCLEX-RN for registered nurses and the NCLEX-PN for practical/vocational nurses. NCLEX examinations are designed to test the knowledge, skills and abilities essential to the safe and effective practice of nursing at the entry-level.

NCLEX examinations are provided in a computerized adaptive testing (CAT) format and are presently administered by Pearson VUE in their network of Pearson Professional Centers (PPC). Authorized testing centers are located throughout USA and in selected foreign countries, including the most recently approved the Philippines and Mexico. Click on external link and visit the NCSBN for a list of approved countries where the NCLEX exam is given.

The test is given only in English.

All items are developed and validated using the expertise of practicing nurses, educators and regulators from throughout the country. The content of the items of the NCLEX examinations is based on a practice analysis conducted every three years. There many well written preparation guidelines, manuals and textbooks on the how to score well on the NCLEX exam; all serve well and enhance the probabilities of the examinee when taking the exam. Some have been bilingually edited for foreign educated nurses. Visit and both site have some bilingual elements and/or website translators of acceptable quality. All students considering taking the NCLEX and/or CGFNS exams must keep in mind that the exams are about basic nursing intervention, and not about nursing intervention beyond the level of practice of any entry level nurse.

The two most important elements when considering and discerning the most correct answer are whether the answer is part of an intervention that is ‘safe’ and ‘effective’. Student should use this as a guideline; if an answer doesn’t have the elements of a ‘safe’ and ‘effective’ intervention, whether seeking the physical and/or pycho-social integrity of a patient, that answer cannot be the ‘best’ answer. It can be partially correct, but most likely is not the best answer of the multiple possible answers.
Exam content
The majority of test items are written at the application or higher levels of cognition but the exam may include items at all of the cognitive levels.

The exam’s content is based on client needs:

* Safe Effective Care Environment
o Management of Care
o Safety and Infection Control
* Health Promotion and Maintenance
* Psychosocial Integrity
* Physiological Integrity
o Basic Care and Comfort
o Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies
o Reduction of Risk Potential
o Physiological Adaptation
Question types

Most of the questions of the NCLEX-RN exam are worded multiple choice questions. In recent years, however, the Boards of Nursing have added broader questions that don’t involve choices. For example, some questions:

* Require identifying and selecting a particular area of a drawn body part pertaining to the question
* Involve selecting multiple correct answers (via check box)
* Calculating an answer for a mathematical question (usually for medication dosages) and inputting the answer

Leave a Reply