Once you’ve earned a RN to BSN from a nursing school , you’ll need to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) in order to get your nursing license, if you have your masters or have graduated from a nurse practitioner program you most likely will not need to..  Each state board of nursing evaluates this standardized test in order to determine whether or not a candidate is prepared for entry-level nursing practice.

Nursing Exam Eligibility

You’ll need to apply for nursing license from your state board of nursing in order to take the NCLEX exam. Once the board determines that you have met its criteria to take the test, you will then need to register to take the exam.

Nursing Exam Content

The NCLEX examination covers the following categories:

  • Safe, Effective Care Environment: management of care, safety and infection control
  • Health Promotion and Maintenance: growth and development through patient life span, prevention and early detection of disease
  • Psychosocial Integrity: coping and adaptation, psychosocial adaptation
  • Physiological Integrity: basic care and comfort, pharmacological and parental therapies, reduction of risk potential, physiological adaptation

Exam Registration

You’ll receive an NCLEX Examination Candidate Bulletin in the mail after you’ve applied for a license with your state board of nursing. At that point, you’ll be able to register to take the exam with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s testing service. You can register by phone, or by filling out a mail-in registration form.

You’ll receive an Authorization to Take the Test (ATT) once your state board of nursing verifies your eligibility to take the NCLEX. You’ll also receive a list of testing centers and instructions for how to schedule your appointment.

NCLEX Test Details

The NCLEX is a multiple-choice exam that utilizes an interactive system called Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT). RN candidates must answer at least 75 questions. You’ll have 5 hours to complete the exam; this time window includes time set aside for the introductory computer tutorial as well as two 10-minute breaks.

Your score will be generated at first by the computer on which you are taking it, and then later by the National Council’s testing service. If you are clearly above the passing standard, you’ll pass. If you’re below the standard, you’ll fail. If your results are too close for the system to determine, you’ll be given additional questions until the system can offer its final analysis. RN candidates can take a maximum of 265 questions.

What if I Fail the NCLEX?

If you don’t pass the NCLEX, don’t worry; you’ll have another opportunity to take the exam again. First, you’ll receive a diagnostic profile that outlines both where your areas of knowledge were satisfactory and where they were not. You can retake the exam as many times as you need to, but you will need to wait at least 91 days before retaking the test. Some individual states may impose a stricter limit.

Get Started with your RN to BSN Program

Today it’s easier than ever for you to further your education and increase your salary with an online RN degree. If you want to start taking steps towards becoming a registered nurse, find the online school and degree program that’s right for you today!

RN Resources & Related Reading

There are a lot of things to consider as you move forward with your education and begin plotting the course of your career, but you don’t have to do it alone. Get the information you need by exploring our Career Resources below.

RN to BSN Careers
Find out about the variety of career opportunities in today’s health care industry for registered nurses.

BSN Nursing Schools
Learn more about the available nursing schools that can best suit your needs and career goals as you work to become a registered nurse.

Registered Nurse Programs
Discover the many registered nursing degree programs that can help move you towards your career goals today.

The Demand for Registered Nurses
There’s a greater demand than ever for professional registered nurses in today’s health care industry – find out more.

RN to BSN Salaries
Track the latest salary trends for registered nurses in today’s health care industry, and find out how you can increase your earnings.

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