Education Career Articles

Connect Facebook Connect Twitter Connect Google+ Connect Pinterest Connect Stumbleupon

RN Requirements: What is the NCLEX and how to Pass It

Higher Education Articles July 28, 2013

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is an examination that must be passed to receive a nursing certification. It is a means of judging the competence of the licensing candidate to help protect the public and ensure quality healthcare by nurses. It functions a standard bar, a means of judging how well the potential nurse has learned the practical knowledge to effectively care for patients.

Most nursing students have spent years preparing for their future careers. This examination is a large hurdle that must be overcome: they must pass the NCLEX to become RNs. The test, therefore, incurs quite a bit of anxiety. Understanding some basics about the examination can help candidates prepare and increase their chances of passing and becoming an entry level nurse.

When should a nursing student take the exam?

When a student has obtained their academic credentials, they need to submit an application and a fee for an Authorization to Test (ATT). This slip will certify that the individual has the rest of their prerequisites in order. The slip will also contain an expiration date that should be carefully minded. If the student fails to take the NCLEX before the expiration date, they will have to apply for another ATT and pay another fee. Many current nurses also recommend taking the examination as soon as possible following graduation because the material will be most fresh in the mind.

The practical aspects of the exam

Test takers are offered six hours for the registered nurse examination and five hours for the practical nurse examination, which two optional breaks during the test taking period. The test is taken on a computer, meaning that no pens or papers are allowed into the exam room. The test will provide calculators on the computer as well as erasable boards for note taking. Since the exam is administered by computer, previous questions cannot be returned to once students hit the submit button. In order to take the exam, the proctors of the test will also collect a sample of the fingerprint, palm vein scan, photograph, and signature to verify the identities of each test taker.

Preparing for the exam

New questions are being added to the exam on a regular basis to ensure nurses are prepared to tackle material in the modern, ever changing world of medicine. The categories have remained the same for over a decade, however, and include Physiological Integrity, Psychosocial Integrity, Health Promotion and Maintenance, and Safe and Effective Care Environment. Students will be answering questions related to medical – surgical, maternal – child, and psychiatric nursing. Drugs are also common questions. Lab values must be memorized so that abnormal numbers can be readily recognized.

Some experts on the exam suggest that nursing students focus on finding review programs that concentrate more around understanding the exam and strategy that reviewing content. Most current nurses who have taken the exam found that some review texts that offer overviews of each test section are helpful. After several years, the material learned in the first months of class may require some relearning. There are several study guides and classes available. Kaplan offers a popular nursing review course, and some schools will even provide students with the admission fees.

Getting the results

Once a nursing student exits the testing room, they generally immediately wish they could know their results. Fortunately, if their nursing board participates in the Quick Results Service, they can get them in just 48 hours for a small fee. Without this service, most candidates will receive their results within one month. If a person fails the exam, they will also be given a report on how they did by each section of the exam, which can then be used to focus their study in a specific area. Retaking the exam is possible, though most boards set standards of the minimum number of days that must pass.

The NCLEX-RN requirements are tough to ensure the high quality of healthcare that Americans have come to expect. Nurses are to know and understand a great deal of material related to medicine and disease, but also patient care. Nursing is a demanding yet fulfilling job that most enjoy. Nursing students spend many hours reviewing their textbooks in preparation for this essential test. Understanding the basics of the test and some recommended preparation tactics should help to ease the stress and help the candidates feel more comfortable and confident walking in.

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
1 Program(s) Found
  • Nursing Degree Programs from Grand Canyon University's College of Nursing & Health Care Professions
  • Degree Variety: GCU offers a full-spectrum of nursing programs including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as post-master’s certificates.
  • The baccalaureate degree in nursing and master's degree in nursing at Grand Canyon University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.aacn.nche.edu-accreditation).
  • GCU provides a Christian environment that provides an opportunity for you to embrace a holistic approach to caring for patients: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Depending on the degree you choose, you could take online, evening, or on-campus classes. Speak with an enrollment counselor to discuss your options!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
  • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
  • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
  • Michigan's largest independent college.
  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
  • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Earn your Bachelor of Science of Healthcare Management degree online
  • South University brings over 115 years of achievement and tradition to a supportive, online classroom
  • Program focuses on the business, management, and healthcare skills necessary for healthcare organizations to run smoothly
  • Courses include Principles of Management, Healthcare Delivery and Organization, and Healthcare Finance
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 8th among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
1 Program(s) Found
  • There's still time to apply to Grand Canyon University and pursue your education. Learn more today!
  • Study on your schedule - GCU offers many programs 100% online to fit your busy lifestyle.
  • GCU offers a variety of opportunities to reduce the cost of furthering your education. Campus students may qualify for scholarships, while online students can take part in limited special offers.
  • A regionally accredited university, GCU also holds specialized accreditations and approvals for some of our core program offerings.
  • Degrees in business, education, nursing, humanities and social sciences, theology and more. Find the degree that fits you.
  • Talk to us today to learn more about financial aid and start dates!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
  • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
  • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
  • Michigan's largest independent college.
  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
  • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, IT, Healthcare Management, Pscyhology & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!