National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is an independent, not-for-profit organization through which boards of nursing act and counsel together on matters of common interest and concern affecting public health, safety and welfare, including the development of nursing licensure examinations.
NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) is a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States and Canada since 1994 and 2015, respectively. NCLEX examinations are developed and owned by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN). The NCSBN administers these examinations on behalf of its member boards.



Candidate must be a recent graduate of an accredited nursing school.


Levels Of Examination

NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse). All boards of nursing in states and territories of the United States require candidates to pass this exam for licensure as a registered nurse (RN). As of 2015, 10 provincial/territorial RN regulators in Canada have chosen the NCLEX-RN and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) as the provider of the Canadian RN entry-to-practice exam.

NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurse). All US state and territorial boards of nursing require a passing result on the exam for licensure as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN).


Examination Format

NCLEX examinations are provided in a computerized adaptive testing (CAT) format and are presently administered by Pearson VUE in their network of Pearson Professional Centres (PPC). The NCLEX covers a wide range of material. The individual will be scored by their ability to think critically about decisions involving nursing care.
As for content, both require a basic understanding of nursing practice and knowledge. But since the purpose of the test is to apply your knowledge to specific work scenarios, the types of questions are aimed at the specific duties of each nursing profession.

The exam’s content for both NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN are based on client needs:

  • Safe Effective Care Environment
    • Management of Care.
    • Safety and Infection Control.
  • Health Promotion and Maintenance
    • Growth and development through life span.
    • Prevention and Early detection of disease.
  • Psychosocial Integrity
    • Coping and adaption.
    • Psychosocial adaption.

  • Physiological Integrity
    • Basic Care and Comfort.
    • Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies.
    • Reduction of Risk Potential.
    • Physiological Adaptation.

The NCLEX exam has at least 90% multiple-choice questions. The remaining questions require an individual to fill in the blank, choose correct answers from a list of options, put a number of steps in the correct sequence, or identify a correct area on a picture. Some of these alternative format questions ask information about a chart, graph, or audio clip. The questions can also use pictures as the answer choices instead of words. RN candidates will answer a minimum of 75 questions, LPN candidates a minimum of 85 questions.
Questions in the NCLEX exam are of three different types or levels: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.

Level 1 question are the most basic questions and make up less than 10% of the total questions. Level 1 questions test the individual’s knowledge and understanding. These questions require the individual to understand specific facts and information.
Level 2 questions require an additional level of thinking in order to answer the question. In these types of question, the individual will be required to know specific information and then use it to interpret or analyse the question. Level 2 questions are analysis and application type questions.
Level 3 questions are the most complex type of question which requires the individual to judge, evaluate, and combine information. The individual will have to apply the rules, facts and processes then make decisions about what is best for the patient’s care based on a particular situation.
Each individual will have a maximum of 6 hours to complete the exam. There is a mandatory 10-minute break about 2 ½ hours after the start of the exam and another optional break after about 4 hours of testing. It is acceptable to take breaks any time during the exam

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