All about NCLEX


NCLEX stands for the National Council Licensure Examination. It generally refers to one of the two standardized tests nurses need to pass to become either a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN). The NCLEX is governed and standardized by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing or the NCSBN.


NCLEX-RN is the licensure examination required to practice as a RN in the USA and Canada. The Australian board of nursing also requires the NCLEX-RN for foreign graduates.


To take the NCLEX, you’ll first need to apply to the board of nursing where you intend to practice as a nurse. Each state has different requirements so you must make sure that you have all the documents they need before applying. If the board determines that you meet the criteria for exam eligibility, you’ll register to take the exam through Pearson Vue – the test provider. You’re your registration is complete; you will receive the Authorization to Take the Test (ATT) which is your permit to take the exam. 


The NCLEX exams are administered by using a testing method known as computerized adaptive testing (CAT). The breakdown of the NCLEX would test your competency in each question type that covers the following categories: Safety and Infection Control (12%), Management of Care (20%), Health Promotion and Maintenance (9%), Psychosocial Integrity (9%), Basic Care and Comfort (9%), Reduction of Risk Potential (12%), Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies (15%), and Physiological adaptation (14%),


Ultimately, the NCLEX is formatted according to candidate-specific needs, including alterations in the length of the test. The percentage of questions distributed may also vary from each candidate. 


Test takers must answer a minimum of 75 items. The maximum number of items that a test taker may answer is 265 during the allotted six-hour time period. The maximum six-hour time limit to complete the examination includes the tutorial, sample questions, and breaks.


However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCSBN modified the NCLEX-RN to a maximum of 145 items and a maximum of five hours to take and finish the exam.


Test takers may be administered multiple-choice items as well as items written in alternate formats. These formats may include but are not limited to multiple response (Select-All-That-Apply), fill-in-the-blank calculation, ordered response, audio, picture, chart-type, and hot spots.


Feeling confident and prepared for the NCLEX is essential, so knowing how to study adequately for the exam is necessary. The NCLEX can be challenging, but working together with professionals and like-minded individuals can be motivational and remind you why you decided to become a nurse in the first place. 


If becoming a nurse is your end goal, the NCLEX will be another hurdle you’ll need to clear before crossing the finish line. With the proper preparation and education, you’ll be feeling confident in your ability to pass with flying colors. The AspireRN SurePass course will be your ultimate guide and key in acing that test!