Administration of the NCLEX-RN

To be admitted to the NCLEX-RN®, you need
• an Authorization to Text letter (This is sent to you upon receipt of application and fees and verification of eligibility.)
• two forms of ID—one of which must be a photograph ID and both of which must be signed NCLEX-RN is administered by computer. Taking the test on the computer is not complicated; it only requires use of the SPACE bar, the ENTER key, and for fill-in-the-blank answers, the keyboard. For multiple-choice and other similar questions, the cursor is moved to highlight the option selected as the answer by pressing the SPACE bar. When the option(s) selected is highlighted, the ENTER button is pressed. Then there is an opportunity to check your answer selection. If the option(s) highlighted is not the answer you want to give, you may change to another. If the answer you wish to give is highlighted, you press the ENTER key a second time to register your answer. Some very important points for you to remember about taking the examination are that
• after the ENTER key is pressed a second time to register your answer, there is no returning to the question or changing the answer.
• every question must be answered; you cannot skip a question.
• there is no penalty for guessing.

Number of Questions on the NCLEX-RN
As a test taker, you of course, would like to know as part of your mental preparation and planning for the examination, how many questions you will be asked. For the NCLEX-RN, there is no precise answer to this question because it is a computer adaptive test (CAT). This means that the computer selects the next question based on whether your answer to the previous question was right or wrong. If the previous answer was correct, the computer will select a slightly more difficult question for the next one; if the answer was incorrect, the computer will present a slightly easier question. Thus, each person takes a unique test. The maximum number of questions a candidate can have is 265. However, the computer is programmed to make a decision of competent or incompetent based on the level of difficulty of questions answered correctly or incorrectly so relatively few candidates receive 265 questions. The minimum number of questions a candidate can receive is 75. Of these 75, 15 pretest items, i.e., items that are being tested for future use, are interspersed. These pretest items do not influence your passing or failing.

Examination Time
In preparing for an examination, it is also important to know how much time you will be allowed to complete it. The total time allowed for the NCLEX-RN is 6 hours. If at the end of 6 hours, you have not answered enough questions for the computer to determine whether you are competent, you fail by default. Based on the maximum of 265 questions and the maximum time of 6 hours (360 minutes), there is slightly more than one and a third minutes allowed per question. However, since few candidates receive the maximum allowable number of questions, the time available is generally more. Nonetheless, time is not unlimited so you should not spend excessive time on any one question.

Report of Pass—Fail
Forty-eight hours after you take the test, the Board of Nursing in the state where you are applying for licensure gets the pass/fail result. The Board then checks that all other requirements for licensure are met, and then sends out your results. Results are only reported in writing and never by telephone. If you have failed the examination, it may be taken again in 3 months. How many times the test may be repeated depends on the State Board of Nursing.

The NCLEX-RN is one of the most important examinations that nurses ever take. To reach the point of taking the examination, much time, energy, and money have been invested and many sacrifices have been made. Because of these facts, you will hear many stories about the examination and receive much advice. This type of impromptu shared information often contributes to “myths” about the NCLEX-RN®, which serve as sources of undue anxiety. Some of the more common myths, and the corrections to them, are presented below. The number of questions one receives indicates pass or fail.—This is not true. Candidates can answer the minimum number of questions, all of which are difficult, correctly and pass. Other candidates can answer theminimumnumber of questions, all of which are easy, and fail. It is not the number of items but the difficulty of the items that determines pass or fail. Extra long tests are given randomly to selected test takers.—This is not true. The number of questions is determined by the difficulty of questions you answer correctly or incorrectly.

One needs to memorize everything.—This is not true. The test is looking at determining safe, entry-level practice based on the job analysis of what new graduates actually do in the work place. It is also testing generally accepted standards/methods of care. It is not testing rare, regionally variable information. How good you are with the computer determines how well you do on the examination.—The Educational Testing Service has done research on the question as to whether computer skill influences examination performance. The results show that the test-taker’s computer skill does not influence the score on the examination.
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October 6, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Thanks What a great info you have given us by your blog.

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