Things You Should Know Before Sitting For The NCLEX Exam


The National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) is unlike the other tests you might have taken as a nursing student. Passing the NCLEX marks a significant accomplishment and makes you qualified to begin working as a nurse in the United States. Even though many beginners pass the NCLEX on their first take, careful planning is necessary. Remember, anxiety can significantly impact your results, and the key to passing the NCLEX is proper preparation and a calm attitude. To prepare you for the NCLEX exam, here are a few things you should keep in mind.

1. Collect The Test Permit.

You will need a test permit which is an authorization document, sometimes called an ATT letter, to participate in NCLEX. You must contact your Nursing Regulatory Authority (NRB) and apply for this authorization. After reviewing your application, they will email you to provide you with ATT. You will need to re-register if you do not sit for the test within the allotted time. This license will expire in approximately 90 days.


Depending on your nursing degree, you will need to take one of two types of NCLEX. One is the NCLEX-PN, intended only for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or those who have done short graduate courses or vocational training in nursing. Another alternative is the NCLEX-RN– available only to registered nurses and those with an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. Here is the time duration for both tests-

  1. NCLEX-RN: you have up to six hours to complete the RN test
  2. NCLEX-PN: Up to five hours to complete the PN test.

NCLEX tests you on the following four subject areas:

  • Safe and effective care management
  • Psychological integrity
  • Health promotion and maintenance
  • Physiological integrity ( represents the most significant section)

You need to possess the required knowledge in these areas to score well in the NCLEX. Know more about how your score is determined in the NCLEX.

3. Prepare For Different Question Types.

The three types of questions in the NCLEX are designed to test candidates in their critical thinking skills and their application in the context of nursing practice. The first category consists of general knowledge questions, usually presented as multiple-choice questions. The next set of questions is related to analysis and application and may contain graphs, tables, or other pictorial representations. The most difficult is the third level, where students are required to find practical solutions using the facts and rules.

The test has between 75 and 265 questions. Also, know that there are 15 trial questions, which will not be counted while calculating the final NCLEX score.

4. Understand Your Learning Style.

An essential part of preparing for NCLEX is determining which learning style is right for you. While some people may prefer to study in groups and learn through interactive ways, others may learn better alone. Consider several research techniques to see which works best for you.

Here are some tips for studying:

  • Keep taking mock tests and ask your professors to give you feedback.
  • To stay focused, choose a study location with few outside distractions.
  • It’s best not to study at lengths in one take. Take breaks in between and recharge yourself before studying again.

5. Consider ABC

Remember the nursing school ABC framework: airway, breathing, and circulation. The ABC method is a wonderful way to practice test questions and choose what to do first.

Final Words

The NCLEX exam can open doors for you to advance as a registered nurse and earn well. All you need is the right preparation and understanding of the exam. Once you successfully pass the exam, you will obtain a nursing license valid in the state you took the exam in. You can get the license transferred if you want to practice nursing in a different state.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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