The NCLEX-PN exam is given to all candidates wishing to practice practical or vocational nursing in the United States. Often referred to as “State Boards” or “Boards,” passing this exam is the only way to obtain licensure as an LPN or LVN.
The test itself is computer adaptive, meaning it increases and decreases in difficulty until it assesses your level of competence. You will receive a minimum of 85 questions and a maximum of 205. Twenty-five of the questions you take are considered “experimental” and will not count for or against your score. You will not be made aware of which questions are experimental.
The questions on the NCLEX-PN exam are written at the critical thinking and analysis level, rather than a fact or knowledge level. This means that you will be called upon to choose the best option out of several seemingly correct options, or to answer questions where the ideal solution is not presented.
Most questions are given in the traditional 4 option-multiple choice format. Within this format, you may encounter questions that utilize audio, charts, or graphics. Beyond multiple choice, there are also three types of alternative format questions. These include drag and drop/ordered response questions, fill-in-the-blank, and “hot spot” questions that require you to locate an area on a graphic image.
The NCLEX-PN exam is organized around the concept of “client needs.” There are four major categories, two of which are further subdivided. The categories and the percentage of the test they make up are as follows: