About the NCLEX


About the NCLEX

NCLEX Examinations


To ensure public protection, NCSBN Member Board jurisdictions require a candidate for licensure to pass an examination that measures the competencies needed to perform safely and effectively as a newly licensed, entry-level nurse. NCSBN develops two licensure examinations, the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses ( NCLEX - RN ) and the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses and/or Licensed Vocational Nurses ( NCLEX - PN / LVN ), that are used by boards of nursing to assist in making licensure decisions.

Taking the NCLEX - R.N. or the NCLEX- L.V.N. / P.N. is a capstone experience to your studies and so much more. Passing the exam demonstrates your competence so that you can launch your nursing career.

As you focus in on NCLEX preparation, you'll also want to prepare to successfully navigate the examination process. You can increase confidence and reduce test anxiety by being fully prepared for the test experience here with us at CPS Nursing.


Computerized Adaptive Testing


The NCLEX uses CAT to administer the examination. CAT is a method for administering exams that merges computer technology with modern measurement theory to increase the efficiency of the exam process.

CAT is used for the NCLEX because it:

A)  Reduces the number of “easy” items that high-ability candidates receive; “easy” items tell little about a high performing candidate’s ability.
B)  Reduces the number of “difficult” items low-ability candidates receive; candidates tend to guess on items that are too difficult which can skew results.
C)  Reduces item exposure and subsequent security risks.
D)  Improves precision of measurement of the NCLEX candidates ability related to nursing.
E)  Provides a valid and reliable measurement of nursing competence.


How Does CAT Work?


1.  Every time you answer an item, the computer re-estimates your ability based on all the previous answers and the difficulty of those items.

2.  The computer then selects the next item that you should have a 50% chance of answering correctly.

This way, the next item should not be too easy or too hard.
The computer’s goal is to get as much information as possible about your true ability level.
You should find each item challenging as each item is targeted to your ability.

3.  With each item answered, the computer’s estimate of your ability becomes more precise.


Grading System


The NCLEX exams are a pass / fail exam. There is no numerical score. A determination will be made at the conclusion of the exam as to whether you have passed or failed. However, the results will not be made available at the exam site. You'll be notified by your State Board of Nursing approximately 2-4 weeks after your test date.

The computer decides whether you passed or failed the NCLEX using one of three rules:

1. 95% Confidence Interval Rule
2. Maximum-Length Exam Rule
3. Run-out-of-time (R.O.O.T.) Rule



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