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How to Apply for NCLEX Examination

NCLEX stands for National Council Licensure Examination. This exam is for everyone who wants to practice nursing inside the United States. This licensure exam needs to be taken after attending nursing school. There is a separate licensure exam for registered nurse candidates (NCLEX-RN) and practical nurse and vocational nurse candidates (NCLEX-PN). A graduate of Bachelor of Science in Nursing needs to pass the NCLEX exam to become a licensed registered nurse.

The US requires that the practice of nursing in the country be regulated by licensing authorities to ensure public protection. All aspiring nurses need to pass this examination which assesses the knowledge of an individual to effectively and safely perform medical care.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing or the NCSBN is the agency that administers the NCLEX exam. As mentioned earlier, there are two NCLEX tests being offered. The difference between the two tests is the number and difficulty of correctly answered questions that is required to pass the NCLEX exam.

To illustrate, there are 265 questions in an NCLEX-RN exam, an examinee needs to have answered at least 75 questions to pass the exam. For the NCLEX-PN exam, you need to have answered at least 85 questions out of the 205 to pass.

These two exams require a certain level of understanding of the nursing field, both cover categories related to medical care like Effective Care Environment, Psychosocial Integrity, and Health Promotion and Maintenance, among others.

The exams are administered with the use of Computerized Adaptive Testing or CAT. With this special method, each exam is unique and all the questions are derived from a database as the exam progresses.

With this process, the computer can change the degree of difficulty and topics for succeeding questions, based on an examinee’s answers to the previous questions. The computer can select harder questions if the examinee answers correctly and can eventually choose easier questions when the examinee gives out incorrect answers.

Both the NCLEX exams for registered nurses and practical nurses have multiple choice questions. But still there are cases when an NCLEX exam has more difficult questions with fill-in-the-blank questions or an examinee would need to supply an answer.

In order to take an NCLEX exam, you need to submit an application to your state board of nursing, which will determine if you are eligible or not for the NCLEX exam. Once you are declared eligible, you will have to register with the Authorization to Take the Test or ATT that will provided by the board of nursing in your state. You will be provided with a list of several testing centers and additional instructions on how to schedule and take the exam.

If you are going to take the NCLEX exam, you might want to consider these things:

  • It could help you more if you attend an NCLEX review class
  • Haste makes waste. Make sure you understand a question before answering
  • Changing an answer will not be allowed. Once you have inputted an answer, you will be lead to another question
  • Always choose the answer that you think is the best answer
  • Keep in mind the safety of a patient when answering questions

Once you’re done taking the NCLEX exam, you need to wait for the results. Depending on how results are given in your state, you might be notified through phone, email, online, or mail. If you fail the exam, you will be given a summary of your performance, showing which topics you excelled in and which topics you need to focus on. After a mandatory waiting period, depending on which state you are located, you can take the NCLEX exam again.

Best of luck to you chosen field!

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