When Can I Register for the NCLEX-RN Exam?
In order to register for the test, you first need to receive an authorization to test. This is given by the Board of Nursing or other regulatory body where you wish to practice nursing. They will determine whether or not you meet their eligibility criteria to become a licensed nurse.
If you meet the criteria and are given the authorization to test, you can schedule your test at the nearest Pearson VUE testing center. You will have to pay an exam fee of $200 and you will have to choose a date and time within the test-taking window listed on your authorization to test letter.
Which Subjects Are Covered on the Exam?
There will be somewhere between 75 and 265 questions on the exam. To understand why there is such a large range, see the explanation of how the exam is scored below. No matter how many questions you answer, the percentage breakdown of questions by content area will be more or less as follows:
Management of Care – 23% of questions
Safety and Infection Control – 15% of questions
Health Promotion and Maintenance – 12% of questions
Psychosocial Integrity –12% of questions
Basic Care and Comfort – 12% of questions
Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies – 18% of questions
Reduction of Risk Potential – 15% of questions
Physiological Adaptation – 17% of questions
You will have up to six hours to complete the entire exam. That time includes two short breaks which you are free to skip if you want to. The actual time will depend on the number of questions you need to answer.
It’s important to note that you are not able to skip questions and return to them. You have to answer a question in order to move on to the next one. This means you need to use some of your study time to work on strategies for finding the best possible answer even when you aren’t really sure about the question.
How Is the NCLEX-RN Exam Scored?
The NCLEX-RN is scored using a rather unique system. Rather than receiving a point value that reflects either the number of correct answers or the average difficulty level of questions you answered, the score here will be measured in “logits.”
The logit is a unit of measurement that tells you the relative difference between your estimated ability level (based on your level of education, training, and experience) and your ability level (based on how you performed on the test). The board establishes a revised passing standard every three years. At the moment, you will need a logit of 0.00 or better.
This “logit” is being continuously adjusted based on each question you answer which is why there is such a wide range in the number of questions you’ll have to answer on the test. If you reach the minimum 75 questions and the computer program is able to determine with 95% accuracy that you have either passed or failed, the test will end there.
If it is not 95% certain of your results, you will continue to see questions until it is certain or until you reach the maximum of 265 questions. If you reach the maximum, it will do a final assessment to determine whether or not you have met the passing standard.
This might all sound a little complicated but, basically: the better you do, the fewer questions you have to answer. But even if you end up having to answer 265 questions, you might still pass the exam.
If you have met the passing standard, you will simply be informed that you passed the exam. You will only see a detailed report of how you performed on each section of the test if you failed.
How Much Should I Study for the Test?
You should spend at least a couple of weeks reviewing all the material as well as working on your ability to recall facts quickly. To do that, pick up the Mometrix Study Guide which provides a thorough breakdown of each content area, including all the important terms and concepts you will need to know.
To improve your ability to remember all that material, get a set of Mometrix Flashcards. Repetition is one of the best ways to memorize a lot of information. Unfortunately, repetition can get, well, repetitive. With flashcards, you can make repetitive learning more engaging and interesting by turning your review sessions into games or pop quizzes.