NCLEX Exam Questions

If you're reading this, then either you're preparing to take your NCLEX exam, or you're thinking about becoming a nurse and want to know what these NCLEX exam questions are all about. The National Council Licensure Examination is the test that all prospective registered nurses or practical nurses must take before they can receive their license. Of course no one has to take it without a lot of preparation. If you've completed nursing school already, then you know that a lot of time, effort, and studying have gotten you to this point. If you're thinking of becoming a nurse, then make sure you're prepared to spend a lot of time on your education.

The NCLEX is actually two tests, one for prospective registered nurses (NCLEX-RN) and the other for prospective licensed practical nurses (NCLEX-LN). You cannot work as an RN or LPN unless you pass this test. That's why many nursing students can get anxious about taking the test. The good news is though, that if you don't pass it the first time, you can retake it.

  • The goal of this site is to provide you with a great deal of information, tips, and advice so that when the day comes for you to take the NCLEX, you can take it with full awareness and knowledge of what it will be like and what you can expect.
  • If you read the articles on this site and then do your part by studying, you should find taking the NCLEX a less stressful and more positive experience. You may feel more prepared, and less nervous.

On this site, you will find nearly 30 articles that offer you solid information on everything from what to expect when you take the test, to what your options are if you don't pass it the first time you take it.That includes topics about what's covered on the test, and what isn't, as well as a lot of information about the test format and scoring/assessment procedures. Also, you'll find great advice on when and how to prepare for the test; tips on what to do the night before and the day of the test; and some relaxation tips and techniques in case you experience NCLEX-test anxiety. We also offer you some articles about nursing jobs, nursing schools, and scholarships.

The NCLEX doesn't have to be a stressful or scary experience. If you couple your training and education with the information on this site, you'll know what to expect, and feel more prepared and confident of success.

NCLEX-RN vs. NCLEX-PN

The National Council Licensure Examination has two separate exams: one for a candidate who has studied to become a registered nurse, and the other for a candidate who has studied to become a licensed practical nurse. Both tests were developed by healthcare professionals to determine whether the candidates possess the basic knowledge required to practice that specific type of nursing. Both tests are taken via computer, and both tests contain multiple-choice questions. The two tests cover the same four knowledge areas: a safe, care environment; maintaining and promoting wellness or good health; psychosocial factors; and physiological influences and factors. Also, they are both assessed and scored the same way: first, you'll answer a certain number of basic questions. If you answer most of them correctly, your test will be considered complete. If you do not answer enough of them correctly, you'll continue to answer questions until the computer is able to assess your level of knowledge.

However, after that, the similarities end. There are actually three primary ways the two tests are different. First, they are different when it comes to the number of questions you'll have to answer. NCLEX-RN exams contain 85 basic questions, and a total of 265 potential questions you could be asked, depending on how long it takes the computer to gauge your knowledge level. Licensed practical nurses have fewer questions to answer: 75 basic questions, and 205 total potential questions.
NCLEX

Another difference is the level of difficulty and depth of knowledge that will be tested. While both tests cover the same information, registered nurses will need to have more in-depth knowledge of each area and will be asked more difficult questions than licensed practical nurses.

The last primary difference between the NCLEX RN and the NCLEX-PN relates to the differences in the jobs. Since RNs will be supervising LPNs, assigning tasks, and prioritizing patient care, there are questions on the NCLEX-RN that test your knowledge and ability in performing these functions. LPNs often will assign tasks to nurse assistants and will need to know when to refer to, or check with, the attending physician; and so there are questions on the NCLEX-PN that will assess your ability in these areas.

While some students find that the NCLEX-PN is less difficult than the NCLEX-RN, it all comes down to preparation. Properly preparing for either exam will give you a better chance of success.

  • The NCLEX Scoring
    It's important for you to understand how the NCLEX test is scored so that you won't be surprised at how the test goes when you take it. The NCLEX is a computer-generated and computer-taken exam that does more than just present you with the questions and record your answers. It is a sophisticated system that actually will adjust what kind of questions you receive and how many you receive, based on your answers. This will have a direct impact on whether you pass or fail.

First you should know that you will never see an actual scoreā€”a number indicating how many questions you answered correctly. So you won't have to worry that a low test score will prevent you from receiving your license or getting a job. And you can't use the score on your resume to tout your proven knowledge and abilities. The only goal of the test is to determine that you possess the basic knowledge you need to practice your chosen nursing job, whether that's LPN or RN. So when you receive your results, it will tell you simply whether you passed or failed.

  • How it Works
    The computer test is programmed to ask you 85 basic questions if you're taking the NCLEX-RN, or 75 basic questions if you're taking the NCLEX-PN. Each set of these basic questions will cover the four primary testing areas: a safe, care environment; maintaining and promoting wellness or good health; psychosocial factors; and physiological influences and factors. The questions for each area will start out as fairly simple questions and as long as you answer them correctly, subsequent questions will go deeper into the topic until you answer incorrectly. If the computer isn't able to determine your level of readiness, skills, and knowledge after you have answered the basic questions, it will continue asking questions until it succeeds in doing this. Then, the computer will conclude your test automatically.
  • What Does It Mean if My Test Ends After I've Answered the Basic Questions?
    This can be good news or bad news. If the test concludes after 75 to 85 questions, that means the computer was able to pass you or fail you after that many questions. So either you answered a great many of the questions correctly or incorrectly. If the computer continues the test for several more questions, you are on the border of passing or failing.
  • Other Information You'll Receive
    If you pass the NCLEX, you'll receive notice simply of that, in the mail from your state licensing board. However, if you don't pass, you will receive that notice along with details of what areas you need to strengthen before you take the test again.

Last Updated: 08/20/2013

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