• The NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN are examinations that prospective nurses must pass to achieve licensure. Becoming licensed enables candidates to begin practicing as a practical nurse or a registered nurse. The exams test the applicant's knowledge and ability to safely practice as an entry-level nurse.

    NCLEX Development

    National Council Licensure Examinations (NCLEX) are developed from the contributions of nurse educators, clinicians and managers who work with entry-level nurses. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, a pool of volunteers write, review and potentially recommend NCLEX passing standards to the council's Board of Directors. This helps ensure the standards of the test are both relevant and current.

    NCLEX® Examinations

    Since 1994, NCLEX examinations have been computerized and are administered at testing centers in the United States and internationally. The length of the test is variable and adaptive. The applicant may have it completed after less than 100 items have been answered. However, the examination can also extend to over 200 items. The time limit for the NCLEX-PN is five hours. Six hours is allotted for the NCLEX-RN.

    NCLEX Content Areas

    The content areas of both the NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN are similar and include the following: safety and infection control, physiological adaptations, psychosocial integrity, reduction of risk potential, basic care and comfort, and health promotion and maintenance.

    NCLEX-PN Content Areas

    Content areas that are PN specific are pharmacological therapies and coordinated care.

    NCLEX-RN Content Areas

    Content areas that are RN specific are pharmacological and parenteral therapies, and management of care.

    NCLEX Test Results

    Once the exam has been completed, the results are distributed through the candidate's board of nursing. The NSCBN stresses that these results are not available from the testing center sites. Results will be mailed approximately one month after completing the test.


    NCSBN: 2010 NCLEX® Examination Candidate Bulletin At-A-Glance

    NCSBN: Candidate Performance Report

    NCSBN: Results

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