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NCLEX Study Resources: Guide Home

What is the NCLEX

NCLEX – National Council Licensure Examination

The NCLEX is an exam that all nursing students must take to obtain licensure. This is the premier licensure exam and uses computerized adaptive testing technology to administer the exam, which ensures a dependable measurement of competence. There are two types of exams: NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN. The RN version of the exam emphasizes care management and assesses nurses' advanced scope of practice, while the PN version of the exam asks more questions related to care coordination.

There is a passing standard for the NCLEX, which is the minimum ability determined to practice nursing at an entry level. The passing standards are evaluated every three years by the NCSBN Board of Directors, and this is because nursing practices change over time. The passing standard for NCLEX-RN is 0.00 logits and passing standard for NCLEX-PN is -0.18 logits.

Information About the Test


To be eligible to take the NCLEX, students must attend and graduate from a state-approved nursing program. After graduating from your nursing program, you must apply for licensure with a Nursing Regulatory Body (NRB). Once that is completed, you will then register for the NCLEX. It costs $200 to take the NCLEX and is taken online. There are between 75 to 145 questions with a time limit of five hours.

Pass Rate

The pass rate for the NCLEX-RN is 71.99% and the pass rate for NCLEX-PN is 67.64%. If students do not pass, the test can be taken up to eight times in a calendar year; however, some NRBs might have their own attempt limits. If students fail, their NRB will send them a candidate performance report, which is an overview of the student’s results containing strengths, weaknesses, and how many questions were on the test. This is used to help students prepare for their next attempt.


Candidates need to register with Pearson VUE and provide: program code, email address, and an acceptable form of payment. First and last name must match what is on your identification. Registration stays open for 365 days and once candidates are made available, they must test within the validity dates on their Authorization to Test email. 

Test Day Tips

On the day of your exam, you should dress comfortably, as it is a five hour test. You should arrive early and be prepared to provide biometrics (signature, photograph, and palm vein scan). There will be an on-screen calculator available and you will be provided with an erasable note board for notes. 


National Council of State Boards of Nursing. (n.d.). About NCLEX. Retrieved from

NCLEX. (n.d.). NCLEX examination day. Retrieved from

Nursing Exams. (n.d.). NCLEX categories and subcategories. Retrieved from

Nursing Exams. (n.d.). NCLEX requirements and eligibility requirements. Retrieved from

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