What is the NCLEX exam? Who takes it and when?

What is the NCLEX Exam?

If you’re already in nursing school, you’re most likely aware of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), and that you will have to pass this exam after graduation nursing school.  But like those just exploring a career in nursing, you might not be completely aware of what the NCLEX exam is, they types of questions, and other specifics you will soon need to know.

For those of you just starting to look at a nursing career, the NCLEX is an exam you will take to gain licensure regardless of state. It’s administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, and there are two versions of the NCLEX.

There is one NCLEX for a registered nursing career, the NCLEX-RN, and another for practical nurses called the NCLEX-PN.

Who's Eligible to Take the NCLEX?

In order to be eligible to take the NCLEX, you will need to complete an accredited program in whatever area of nursing you are pursuing.

If that’s an LPN, then you’ll need to complete an accredited certificate program. You can find these at many community colleges and standalone trade schools in your local communities.

For registered nurses, you need to complete at the minimum an associate’s degree in nursing. Many of today’s nurses will have completed a bachelor’s of science in nursing which is an even more advanced program.

What's on the NCLEX?

The test typically covers eight different subject areas regardless of which NCLEX exam you are taking. Those include Health Promotion and Maintenance, Basic Care and Comfort, Psychosocial Comfort, Management of Care, Physiological Adaptation, Safety and Infection Control, Reduction of Risk Potential, and Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies.

For more specific information on the exam, you should visit NCSBN.org.

How to Prepare for the NCLEX?

Because of the large number of nurses preparing for this exam, there’s no shortage of NCLEX test prep companies.

You will find a wide variety including those with a simple question bank to those with robust online courses and training on top of practice tests.

Depending on your comfort level with the material, you can choose whichever is right for you. 

How to Register for the NCLEX?

Pearson VUE is the organization that administers the NCLEX. You must first register to take the test and receive an Authorization to Test via email.

Once you receive the authorization email you will be able to schedule your test. The testing times are typically very flexible and occur year round. As opposed to other test that have fewer testing times, you should have no problem finding an NCLEX exam any day of the week that fits your schedule.

More Nursing School Exam Resources:

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