Registered Nurse/Licensed Practical Nurse
The National Council Licensure Examination ( NCLEX®) is a national licensing examination that is administered in the United States and Territories. The examination is designed to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities essential to the safe and effective practice of nursing at the entry level. Because the examination is a national examination used by all United States jurisdictions (states and territories), nurses are able to endorse licensure from one state board of nursing to another without retaking the examination. All examination results are reported as Pass or Fail.
There are two NCLEX® examinations. The NCLEX-RN® examination is administered to those qualified for and seeking licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) and NCLEX-PN® is administered to those qualified for and seeking licensure as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Only those persons who have been authorized by a state board of nursing are allowed to take the examination.
The examinations are taken on the computer at test sites located across the United States and its territories. A candidate may take the examination at any test center. It is not required that the examination be taken in a test center in the state in which the candidate has applied for licensure.
The examinations are administered by computerized adaptive testing (CAT) which means that all tests are based on a standard plan, but each candidate’s examination is individualized based on the candidate’s responses to the items. Items (questions) are administered for up to 5 hours or until such time as it can be determined that the candidate has either passed or failed the examination. The RN exam can be passed or failed after completing the minimum of 75 questions, and the PN exam can be passed or failed after completing the minimum of 85 questions. All of the questions on the exams are multiple choice. The questions are presented one at a time on the computer. There is no time limit to each question, but once a question has been answered it cannot be returned to and no questions can be left unanswered. Special testing accommodations are available for candidates with disabilities. The RN exam contains a maximum of 265 questions and the PN exam contains a maximum of 205 questions.
There is a separate application (in addition to the application for licensure to the board of nursing) that is to be submitted to the testing service to take the examination. The testing fee is $200. Application forms are available from your nursing program or from the Licensure Unit. You may register for the exam either by mail, using the website or by telephone. If registering by website or telephone, you must use a credit card.
Should you fail the exam, you must wait a minimum of 45 days before retaking it.