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In April 1994, nurse licensure hopefuls started taking the National Council Licensure Examination(NCLEX®) on computers at test centers located across the United States (U.S.) and select international sites. The change to computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) for the nurse licensure examination came about as a result of a choice made in August 1991 by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN®). The NCLEX is only given in the CAT format.

The NCLEX is given on a computer. You are not expected to know how to utilize a computer before you take the examination. There will be a tutorial at the starting of the examination that will instruct you on the use of the mouse and how to record an answer. An on-screen calculator will be available during the examination. The larger part of NCLEX items are multiple-choice but there are other formats as well All item types are scored as either right or wrong. There is no partial credit.

The NCLEX is intended to test knowledge, skills and abilities essential to the safe and effective practice of nursing at the entry level. Both NCLEX-RN® and the NCLEX-PN®* are variable length, computerized, adaptive tests. The NCLEX isn’t offered in paper-and-pencil or oral examination formats.

The NCLEX-RN examination can be somewhere in the range of 75 to 265 things. Of these items, 15 are pretest things that are not scored. Regardless of the number of items administered, as far as possible for this examination is six hours.

The NCLEX-PN (The NCLEX-PN is used for U.S. licensure only.) examination can be anywhere in the range of 85 to 205 items. Of these things, 25 are pretest things that are not scored. The time limit for this examination is 5 hours.

Note that the time assigned for the examination includes the tutorial, the sample items, all breaks (restroom, stretching, etc.) and the examination. All breaks are optional. NCLEX results are an essential part used by boards of nursing/regulatory bodies (BONs/RBs) to make decisions about licensure/registration Only BONs/RBs can release NCLEX results to candidates.


  • Submit an application for licensure/registration to the board of nursing/regulatory body (BON/RB) where you wish to be licensed / registered.
  • Meet all of the BON’s/RB’s eligibility requirements to take the NCLEX.
  • Register for the NCLEX with Pearson VUE.
  • Receive NCLEX Registration Acknowledgement email from Pearson VUE.
  • The BON/RB makes you eligible in the Pearson VUE system.
  • Receive Authorization to Test (ATT) email from Pearson VUE.
  • Schedule your exam with Pearson VUE.


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