What You Need to Know About NCLEX

40 Facts about NCLEX that you should know.


1. To determine if you are a safe and effective nurse.

2. To safeguard the public.

3. To test for minimum competency.

Test Content

4. Based on the knowledge and activities of an entry-level nurse.

5. Written by nursing faculty and clinical specialists.

6. Presented as multiple-choice questions with four possible answer choices.

7. Based on integrated nursing content – not on the medical model of medical, surgical, obstetrics,

pediatrics, and psychiatric nursing.

8. Includes 15 experimental questions.

Test Administration

9. The computer adaptive test adapts to your knowledge, skills, and ability level.

10. The question sequence is determined interactively.

11. Questions are selected based on the item difficulty and the test plan.

12. Test dates and times are individually scheduled through a Sylvan Learning Center.

13. Tests are administered at individual computer stations.

Taking the Exam

14. Computer knowledge is not required.

15. 2 keys are used: the space bar to move the cursor and enter/return to highlight and lock in your answer.

16. All other computer keys are disconnected.

17. You receive instructions and a practice exercise before beginning the exam.

18. Any necessary background information appears on the screen with the question.

19. The computer selects a relatively easy first question.

20. The next question is selected by the computer based on your response to the first question.

21. If your answer is correct, the next question is slightly more difficult.

22. If your answer is incorrect, the next question is slightly easier.

23. Questions are selected to precisely measure your ability in each area of the test plan.


24. There is no time limit for each individual question.

25. You will answer a minimum of 75 questions to a maximum of 265 questions.

26. The maximum time for the exam is 5 hours, including the practice exercise and all breaks.

27. There is a mandatory 10-minute break after 2 hours of testing.

28. There is an optional 10-minute break after 1 1/2 hours additional test time.

This Exam Will End…

29. When the computer has determined your ability, or

30. When a maximum of 5 hours of testing is reached, or

31. When a maximum of 265 questions have been answered.


32. It is a pass/fail exam.

33. There is no penalty for guessing.

34. The 15 experimental questions are not counted.


35. No answer changes. Questions are selected by the computer based on your previous responses.

36. No scrolling back.

37. No skipping questions. You must answer the question to go on.


38. Testing is available year-round, 15 hours a day, six days a week, in five-hour time slots.

39. Results are released by individual state boards.

40. If you fail, you can retest in 3 months.

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