National Council Licensure Examination for RN (NCLEX-RN) is developed by the NCSBN to evaluate nursing knowledge and skills of nurses who want to practice as a registered nurse. The licensing exams are administered by a nationally recognized testing agency Pearson VUE at their different centres located throughout the United States and few out of the country centers. The board qualified candidates can also apply for the testing accommodations.
NCLEX-RN Exam features
The registered nurse licensing exam is a computerized adaptive testing (CAT), and NCSBN started offering the exam on computers from April 1994.Now, NCLEX is administered only in the CAT format, not as oral or paper-and-pencil exam. Before the start of the exam, aspirants are provided with a tutorial and instruction on the use of computer for recording the answers for multiple-choice and other format questions. The exam consists of about 75 to 265 questions, and out of these, 15 items are not scoring pre-test questions. The time limit for the examination is 6 hours, and candidates will have to answer these questions within the prescribed time. The six hours time limit also includes breaks, sample questions, revision, and tutorials. The respective state’s Board of Nursing is responsible for releasing the test results to candidates.
The licensing exam is mainly organized in four groups that are based on major Client Needs including a) Safe and Effective Care Environment, b) Health Promotion and Maintenance, c) Psychosocial Integrity, and d) Physiological Integrity. The section is a) is divided into two sub-categories: Safety and Infection Control and Management of Care, whereas, section d) has four sub categories – Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies, Physiological Adaptation, Reduction of Risk Potential, and Basic Care and Comfort. The test questions are assigned among these categories/subcategories in a percentage basis.
The eligibility for testing is offered to only qualified candidates who are authorized by the board of nursing/regulatory body. There are few necessities that are to be completed by the applicants to be eligible to take the registered nurse licensing exam. These prerequisites include graduation from the board approved and accredited RN programs, completion of the BON/RN and Pearson VUE’s registration process, payment of exam fees, and receipt of Authorization to Test (ATT). Once candidates complete these formalities, the BON qualifies them for the national RN licensing exam.
The completion of the Registration Process is the first requirement to be eligible to sit in the exam. The process requires completing certain steps including applying and submitting an Application for licensure to BON/RB and meeting their eligibility requirements, and registering with Pearson VUE through internet, telephone or third-party payments for NCLEX-RN. The applicants will also have to pay $ 200 testing fee, and if the exam is to be scheduled at test centres outside the US, the applicant is required to pay additional $150 for international scheduling of the Certification test. Once, these necessities are completed, and the Board qualifies a candidate for the exam, the testing agency will email Authorization to Test (ATT) to the applicant that also allows scheduling the exam with Pearson VUE. ATT is valid for 60 to 365 days depending upon the Board. However, average validity of Authorization to test is 90 days. ATT contains identification number, authorization number, and an expiration date. The failure to take the exam within the stipulated time will require paying another examination fee. The candidates must also complete the Personal Identification Requirements to be eligible to sit in the NCLEX exam centres. However, Passport books and cards are only valid identifications for exams outside of the U.S.
The passing standards for clearing the test are set by the NCSBN Board of Directors. The candidates must meet these standards to pass the test. After finishing the exam, the Board, from where the candidate has applied for a licensure mails the result after approximately one month. The aspirants can also apply for Quick Result Service by paying $7.95 to Pearson VUE, but to avail this facility, the concerned Board must be a participant of this service. The successful candidates a Licensure from the BON/RB and allowed to use the title “RN.” They are also permitted to practice in a variety of health care settings.
However, the aspirants who are not successful in the exam can retake the exam by contacting and applying to the Board and meeting their fees and other necessary requirements. They are also needed to pay a fee of $200 for Registering with Pearson VUE. Once these procedures are completed, the applicants will receive new ATT that allows them to schedule their exam with the testing agency. The applicants need to wait for 45 to 90 days between each licensing exam for retaking the fresh test.