## What you need to know about the NCLEX-PN exam

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, so try your best on all of them.

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. All of our practice questions are in the multiple-choice format, but they do review concepts you will need to understand to answer the other question types on the actual test.

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:

Safe and Effective Care Environment

• Coordinated Care (18%–24%)

• Safety and Infection Control (10%–16%)

Health Promotion and Maintenance (6%–12%)

Psychosocial Integrity (9%-15%)

Physiological Integrity

• Basic Care and Comfort (7%–13%)

• Pharmacological Therapies (10%–16%)

• Reduction of Risk Potential (9-15%)

The actual test does not divide the questions into topic areas, though. All areas are mixed into the entire test.

For the purpose of providing sufficient practice, we have divided our questions, flashcards, and study guides into manageable sections. They cover all the topics listed above, but you’ll notice that we have divided the first and fourth bolded headings into the subtopics listed under them, above. These are our sections:

• Coordinated Care
• Safety and Infection Control
• Health Promotion and Maintenance
• Psychosocial Integrity
• Basic Care and Comfort
• Pharmacological Therapies
• Reduction of Risk Potential

### When is it available?

The NCLEX-PN® exam is given year round. In order to take the exam, you must contact your State Board of Nursing to request a licensure/registration application. You also must register and pay for the exam with the testing vendor, Pearson VUE. Check out the NCLEX Pearson VUE website for more information regarding availability and official testing sites.

### Tips & Tricks

• Do not rely on hospital experience or “reality” to answer a question. On the NCLEX-PN exam, you always have enough staff, equipment, and time, and answers should be based on textbook nursing.

• The test will ask you the generic names of a drug, so focus on learning those rather than brand names.

• You may have to guess at some answers because you cannot get the next question until you have selected an answer to the current one. Just be careful not to randomly guess. Read carefully and try to make an informed choice. Remember that the computer is assessing each answer to determine your ability, for scoring purposes.

### Time Allowed

You have 5 hours to complete the questions given to you. There is an optional 10-minute break after the first two hours and another break available 90 minutes after that, both of which count toward the 5 hours, as do a tutorial and sample questions. There is no time limit placed on answering individual questions.

Practice using our expertly crafted questions!