Answers to 5 Common Questions About Passing the NCLEX


How do I pass the NCLEX-RN?


The NCLEX-RN® is meant to be a rigorous exam, testing you on material that you have learned throughout your entire nursing school experience. The best way to prepare for passing the NCLEX® exam is to study consistently all throughout nursing school, instead of waiting to cram before the big day. Picmonic is there with you from day one of nursing school to help ensure your success, and it is also backed by a Pass the NCLEX ® Guarantee; how awesome is that?!


What is the NCLEX-RN like?


There are a handful of tasks you will need to complete at the testing center before you are allowed to begin your exam, so be sure to plan ahead and arrive at least 30 minutes early! Upon arrival at the testing center, you will need to present a valid form of ID, which must be government issued and have your photograph and signature (a driver’s license and passport are good examples).


Important note: Make sure that the first and last names that are printed on your ID match exactly with the first and last names on your Authorization to Test (ATT) email that you received, otherwise you may be turned away and have to register and pay again!


The employees at the testing center will take your photo and ask for your signature and a palm scan. You will also be required to check all of your belongings in a provided locker, and you will not be allowed to bring any items into the exam with you, including your cell phone. This sounds a little intense, but don’t worry! It’s totally normal and everyone has to do it. Knowing that you will have to go through this process beforehand will allow you to stay in the zone to dominate the exam.


Once in the exam room, you will be provided an erasable whiteboard and marker. There will be a calculator on the computer also provided for you. The NCLEX-RN is taken entirely on a provided computer. You will have up to six hours to take the test, and you will also be given the opportunity to take two optional scheduled breaks during the test, with the first one being offered approximately two hours after the exam begins.


We highly encourage you to take advantage of these breaks so that you can refocus and not get burnt out during the exam! However, keep in mind that these breaks still count against your testing time. The exam will shut off automatically when your exam is complete.


How many times can a person take the NCLEX-RN?


If you happen to fail the NCLEX-RN, you will be allowed to retake it at a later date. According to the NCSBN website, you are allowed to take the exam up to eight times per year with a 45 day waiting period between attempts.


How many questions are on the NCLEX-RN?


The NCLEX will serve up between 75 and 265 questions. The number of questions you receive is determined in real time by the NCLEX exam software depending on how you answer questions as you go. The computer will shut off once your exam is completed, whether you pass or fail.


What score do you need to pass the NCLEX-RN?


There is not a specific number of questions that you have to answer correctly to pass the NCLEX-RN. The exam’s algorithm takes into account the difficulty of questions and the variety of topics that they cover.


The exam will end at one of three scenarios:


When the adaptive testing determines you are at a sufficient level to pass the exam in each subject area (using a 95% confidence rule)

When a maximum of 5 hours of testing is reached

When a maximum of 265 questions have been answered


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