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NCLEX Nursing Exam Overview

A career in the field of nursing can be exciting and fulfilling. Nurses help patients get better. With their assistance, people who are sick will find a caring and sympathetic voice at their side. A nurse may be there to show a patient how to care for a newborn. They might be there at their side to help them change dressings or learn to walk with a cast. Those who want to enter this profession must be prepared to get the right training. They also need to pass examinations showing they have mastered the fundamentals of the profession. One such exam is the NCLEX.


The NCLEX Exam

The NCLEX, or National Council Licensure Examination, is a standardized test that all state boards of nursing require potential nurses to take and pass. Candidates can sign up for the exam once they have completed their basic nursing degree. The exam is graded on a pass / fail basis and can be taken up to eight times a year. The exam is taken electronically at a testing center. Once the candidate registers to take it, they are given a date and told where to report. They must pay a fee in advance before taking it.

What It Covers

Taking the NCLEX means taking an exam that helps illustrate that the nurse has mastered the basic fund of knowledge that nurses need. The exam covers the following fields: safe, effective care environment, psychosocial integrity, health promotion and maintenance, and physiological integrity. Each part of the exam is further divided into several categories including safety and infection control, coping and adaptation, prevention and early detection of disease, basic care and comfort, reduction of risk potential, pharmacological and parenteral therapies and growth and development through the lifespan. Each test taker can expect questions related to these subjects on the test.

Taking the Test

The NCLEX examination has a series of multiple choice questions. Test takers work with an interactive system that helps determine many test questions they need to answer. The system called, computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) will then decide when they have passed it. Candidates seeking an RN degree should expect to answer a minimum of 75 questions during the course of the test. Candidates who are applying for LPN certification can expect to answer at least 85 questions. The test continues until the candidate completes the required number of test questions and either passes or fails.