NCLEX Exam Format

The NCLEX-RN examination is administered to the candidate by Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT).

What is CAT?

  • CAT is a method of delivering examinations that uses computer technology and measurement theory. Items go through an extensive review process before they can be used as items on the examination.
  • Computer technology selects items to administer that match the candidate’s ability. The items, which are stored in a large item pool, have been classified by test plan category and level of difficulty.
  • After the candidate answers an item, the computer calculates an ability estimate based on all of the previous answers the candidate selected.
  • The next item is then chosen that measures the candidate’s ability most precisely in the appropriate test plan category.
  • The examination continues with items selected and administered in this way until a pass or fail decision is made.

All registered nurse candidates must answer a minimum of 75 items. The maximum number of items that the candidate may answer is 265 during the allotted six-hour time period. Examination instructions and all rest breaks are included in the measurement of the time allowed for a candidate to complete the examination.

Know more about How Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) Works


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