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Frequently Asked Questions About NCLEX

When should I arrive for the test?

You should preferably arrive 30 minutes *before* the scheduled time. The latest you may arrive is 30 min *after* the scheduled time - if not, you must re-register for the test.

What should I bring on the day of the test?

You must bring two things with you:

1) Your ATT (Authorization To Test)

2) One current photo id:

U.S. driver's license (driving permits are not accepted) U.S. State ID card Passport U.S. Military Id

A passport is required if you're taking the test outside the USA.

How much does it cost to take the NCLEX?

If taken in the USA - $200.

If taken overseas: An additional $150

These fees are in addition to any state fees which vary by state.

All fees are non-refundable.

What forms of payment are accepted?

Credit, Debit, or Prepaid Card

What happens if I fail the NCLEX?

If you fail, you'll receive a report showing number of questions taken, and which categories you did well on and which need more improvement. The info helps you study for the retest.

You can retake the NCLEX about 45 to 90 days later, depending on the state. You also must pay all applicable fees again.

What is not permitted to bring into the testing room?

Unfortunately, many things, but among the most common are:

Books, bags, food, any electronic device including cellphones, PDA, laptops, even your watch. Even scrap paper you don't bring, the testing center provides material for scrap.

Lockers are provided for you to store your personal stuff.

I'm not from the USA, what do I need in order to take the NCLEX?

It depends which state you wish to take the NCLEX in, and which country you're from. The best way to find out is to ask that particular state board.

For a listing of state boards, see here: Nursing State Boards.

We also have general info on tests you may have to take as prerequisites.

How is the NCLEX test administered?

The test is given by computer.

Each question is given one at a time.

You cannot skip or go back to questions - all questions must be answered.

The computer adjusts the difficulty of the questions based on how well you did on the previous questions. If you're doing well, the questions get harder, and vice versa.

How long or how soon after nursing school can I take the NCLEX?

It depends which state you wish to take the NCLEX in. The best way to find out is to ask that particular state board.

For a listing of state boards, see here: Nursing State Boards.

If I take the NCLEX in one state and then move to another state, is my license still valid?

You would need to reapply to the state in which you wish to reside. It's not necessary to retake the NCLEX, but it may involve taking some more nursing classes.

The only exception to this is if you reside in one of the states in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), and you're not moving your primary residence from state to state. Then you would not even need to reapply.

I took the NCLEX "X" years ago, do I need to retake it?

It depends on the state in which you want to practice nursing. The best way to find out is to ask that particular state board.

At the very least, you will probably need to take a certain amount of Nursing CE credits to demonstrate your ability to practice nursing.

For a listing of state boards, see here: Nursing State Boards.

Is there any difference between the NCLEX exam for LPN and the NCLEX exam for LVN?

No - In a few states LPNs are called LVNs, but the NCLEX that they take is the same standardized test.

How many questions are on the NCLEX test?

The NCLEX-RN has 75 to 265 questions. 15 questions are not scored, they are only being tried out for future exams. So in actuality, the exam is only 60 to 250 scored questions.

The NCLEX-PN has 85 to 205 questions. 25 questions are not scored, again, they are just being tried out for future tests. So in actuality, the test is only 60 to 180 scored questions.

What type of questions are on the NCLEX?

Most of the questions are multiple choice, but there are other types:

Multiple Response, Fill-in-the-blank, Hot Spot, Exhibit/Chart, Drag and Drop, Audio and Graphic Options.

Can I reschedule my test date?

You may reschedule, but it must be done no less than 24 hrs before test time.

When do I get my test results?

Your results are sent to you by your state board of nursing in about a month. If you want results earlier, you can get it in some states after 2 business days. There is also a fee for early results.

What is the difference between the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN?

The NCLEX-RN is the test to become a Registered Nurse (RN) and the NCLEX-PN is for becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). In some states and LPN is called an LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse).

The NCLEX-RN is the more commonly taken exam, although the NCLEX-PN is the easier of the two.

An RN has to know more and has more responsibilities than an LPN, but there's a large salary difference. According to recent data, the average RN salary is around $60,000 and the average LPN salary around $40,000.

How is the NCLEX scored?

There are no numerical scores, all tests are scored pass/fail. There is also no specific number of questions to answer correctly in order to pass. Instead, the computer keeps asking questions until it's reasonably sure that you should pass or fail. This is based on the number and difficulty of the questions answered.

So, if you only got a small number of questions, then you either passed or failed with flying colors. If you got closer to the maximum number of questions, you either passed or failed by a small margin.

Partial credit is not given on any question.

What security procedures do I have to go through?

Before the test, they will take your signature, photograph, fingerprint, and scan your palm. The rooms are also under physical and electronic surveillance.

How much time do I have to complete the NCLEX?

The NCLEX-RN : 6 hours The NCLEX-PN : 5 hours

There is no time limit for each question.

Breaks are permitted, but count against the total test time. Some breaks are pre-scheduled, but you may take your own breaks as well.

What does it mean if I was only given 75 or 76 questions on the NCLEX?

Since the NCLEX test is given until the computer is convinced you should pass or fail, it means you either did great or terrible.

Does the content of the NCLEX or the way it's scored differ from state to state?

The content of NCLEX exam is the same no matter which US state you take it in. The same goes for the passing score. The difference between states is that some states have more lenient or more stringent requirements to be eligible to take the test. However, the Canadian NCLEX is a little different than the USA version.

How do I apply for the NCLEX Test?

Here are the steps to apply:

1) Register with the your Board of Nursing of the state in which you wish to practice nursing.

2) Register to take the NCLEX test with Pearson Vue. You may register online, by phone, or by mail.

3) Pearson Vue will send you a confirmation of registration.

4) The State Nursing Board that you applied to will send you confirmation of your eligibility to take the test (this must be done within 365 days from your registering for the test)

5) Pearson Vue will send you an Authorization To Test (ATT). You must take the test within about 90 days, depending on which state you applied to.

6) After you receive your ATT, you schedule your exam. Find testing locations, times and the complete schedule at Pearson Vue. You may schedule your test online or by phone.

7) Pearson Vue will send you a confirmation that your exam is scheduled.