How does the Pearson VUE NCLEX Work?

Before taking the NCLEX, aspirants first need to apply for a license through their respective State Board of Nursing. If you meet all the requirements, you will receive a Candidate Bulletin specifying the further procedure for registering for the NCLEX-RN exam. You can register for the test through Pearson VUE, but you can schedule a time to appear for the test after receiving an ATT (Authorization to Test) letter. ATT comprises a candidate number, a list of local testing centers, and validity dates.

Nursing Exam Questions - Distribution of Content

Client Needs% of Questions from Each Category/Sub-category
Health Promotion & Maintenance6–12%
Safe & Effective Care Environment 
Safety & Infection Control9–15%
Management of Care17–23%
Physiological Integrity 
Reduction of Risk Potential9–15%
Basic Care & Comfort6–12%
Physiological Adaptation11–17%
Pharmacological & Parenteral Therapies12–18%
Psychosocial Integrity6–12%

NCLEX Exam Cost and Exam Format Questions

The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses costs you $200. Further, the individual State Boards of Nursing determine the additional licensure fees.

This computerized adaptive test (CAT) comprises 75 to 265 questions; out of these, 15 items are not scored as they are pretest questions which help determine the degree of difficulty of each operational problem. The duration of the exam is 6 hours. Aspirants can expect the following styles of questions in NCLEX:

  • Multiple Choice (one answer)
  • Multiple Response
  • Hot Spot
  • Fill in the Blank
  • Drag & Drop or Ordered Response Questions
  • Exhibit Questions
  • Graphic Questions
  • Audio Questions

Only one question appears at a time on the computer of the screen. Once you select an answer, you can review and change it, if necessary. But you no longer return to the previous question, once you submit your response by pressing the NEXT button.

The NCLEX pass score of the aspirant is estimated through the CAT scoring algorithm. The computer re-estimates the ability of the candidate every time he/she answers the question. The ability estimate becomes more precise with each additional answered question.

NCLEX Pass Rate 2021 Statistics

RNJan.-March 2021April-June 2021July-Sep 2021Oct.-Dec 2021Total
First Time, US Educated
Repeat, US Educated
First Time, Internationally Educated
Repeat, Internationally Educated
All Candidates

Source: NCSBN

The difficulty level of the NCLEX-RN exam can be determined by the 2018 NCLEX pass rate statistics, which clearly reveals that only 88.29% of the US educated students qualified the exam in the first attempt. Only 43.22% of the US educated students passed the examination in the second attempt.


Health Promotion and Maintenance

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Physiological Integrity

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Psychosocial Integrity Quiz

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Safe and Effective Care Environment

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NCLEX-RN Sample Tests

Practice Sample questions, Today, and Every Day, and enjoy your success.

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NCLEX-RN Practice Tests

As stated above, passing the NCLEX-RN exam is not a cakewalk. It takes sincere efforts, hard work, and consistent studies to crack the test in the first go. However, your chances of passing the exam increase if you practice by answering the NCLEX-RN practice questions. The NCLEX practice questions are based on the format of the real exam. Also, the NCLEX preparation questions in the sample papers are based on the categories provided in the actual NCLEX items.

Many NCLEX test guides, NCLEX answer books, NCLEX test banks, and other online free NCLEX study questions are available to help nursing aspirants score high in the exam.

Benefits of Taking NCLEX-RN Practice Tests

  1. As it takes 6 hours to complete the examination, candidates must have good exam-taking endurance. Practice tests assist in gaining this endurance.
  2. These tests uncover your weak areas so that you can exert your efforts in the right direction and overcome those weaknesses.
  3. You can better understand the format of the question.
  4. You learn to manage your time so that you can attempt all the questions in the allotted period.
  5. You cannot pass the NCLEX-RN exam by studying overnight. You need consistent studies for this, and the practice test keeps you hooked to your daily study routine in a unique way.
  6. Practice tests instill you with confidence that helps you stay stress-free on the day of the actual exam.

Strategies for NCLEX Review

  • Overnight studies won’t help you in realizing your dream of becoming a Registered Nurse. Therefore, start your preparations at least 4-5 months before the examination.
  • The more practice tests you will take, the more you will feel confident. So, take 80-100 practice questions every day.
  • Make your study plan in such a manner that you cover all the topics that will appear on the examination.
  • Cramming is not at all a good practice and is definitely not going to help you. Try to understand each question and then select your answer. Take a look at and comprehend rationales for each correct answer.
  • Note down all the essential points. It will help you learn difficult topics effectively.
  • If you are not sure as which answer is correct, narrow down your choices by eliminating one or two solutions that you feel are less relevant.

Tips and Tricks to Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam

1.Understand the Exam Format and Build Endurance

As the NCLEX-RN exam is based on the computer algorithm, no single test will be similar. The level of the next question depends on how you performed in the previous question. The difficulty level of items will increase with each correct answer. However, if you are getting a few easy questions in a row doesn’t imply that you are below the pass level. Just keep in mind that each question is important, and you have to attempt it with your complete focus. Since the duration of the exam is 6 hours, you must have the endurance to sit the full time without losing your concentration.

2. Learn to Manage your Stress

You are going to appear for the challenging exam of your life, and so nervousness and stress is obvious. But, you must always try to abate anxiety. Here are a few tips:

  • Do your studies sincerely but don’t make it your life. Add an element of fun to balance your life.
  • Do meditation and exercise to calm down your mind.
  • Talk to your friend, listen to music, cook your favorite dish, or do whatever that makes you relax and rejuvenate.
  • Eat proper food and take adequate sleep at night.

3. Understand your Learning Style

Are you an auditory learner, or can you better grab the concept through visual representation? Maybe you can learn better by discussing with your friends. Before making your study plan, find out your learning style. Take a holistic approach to what you are learning and relate it to your clinical experiences.

4. Prepare a Study Plan

A study plan provides you a roadmap to cover all the topics in a given time frame. Prepare a schedule as on which days you will study, which days you will take practice tests, and on which days you will not study. Also, set a goal before each session of study, such as you will cover an x number of topics or you will take x number of practice questions.

5.Don’t Answer on the Basis of Past Work or Clinical Experiences

The questions in the NCLEX exam are based on evidence and research. Thus, many clinical skills and topics may differ between real-life healthcare and textbooks. Even if you have done something in just as correct or just as safe manner during your clinical practice, it does not necessarily apply to the NCLEX.


Each State Board of Nursing has its own sets of requirements. Some states may require applicants to have a specified number of hours of clinical practice or 2 years of nursing experience to apply for the NCLEX-RN exam. Contact with your respective State Board of Nursing to know the eligibility criteria.

You need to follow the steps given below to get registered:

  • Request a registration/licensure application from the Nursing Regulatory Board (NRB) of the state where you want to get registered.
  • Then, register with Pearson VUE either online or via phone (866.496.2539). The exam fee can be paid by prepaid card, debit, or credit card.
Get more details here:
Pearson VUE has its testing centers all over the country. You can select the location and schedule the date and time of the exam on the Pearson VUE website. You can take the examination within 90 days of receiving your Authorization to Test (ATT) email.

All the IDs that fulfill the following criteria are acceptable:

  • Non-expired
  • Government-issued
  • Recent photograph
  • Name
  • Signature

You can bring military identification card, permanent residence card, state identification card, driver’s license, passport books, and cards.

It’s entirely up to you how much time you want to spend on your studies. But, one thing to consider is that you must have a well-crafted study plan to achieve your goal. Further practice questions will help you boost your confidence and strengthen your preparations. Your first priority must be studying for the NCLEX-RN until you clear it.
No, you can’t skip questions. You can move on to the next question only if you answer the previous question.
  • 95% Confidence Interval Rule

The computer will stop displaying questions when it is 95% sure that the candidate’s ability is clearly below or above the passing standard.

  • Maximum Length Exam Rule

When the computer perceives that you are about to reach the passing standard, it will continue displaying questions until the maximum number of items is not reached. Here, 95% confidence interval rule will not work, and your final ability estimate will decide whether you passed or failed.

  • The candidate fails if his/her final ability estimate is at or below the passing standard.
  • The candidate passes if his/her final ability estimate is above the passing standard.
  • Run-out-of-time (R.O.O.T) Rule

If the candidate runs out of time before reaching the maximum number of questions, the computer uses an alternate rule:

  • You fail if you haven’t answered the minimum number of questions.
  • The computer reviews your last 60 ability estimates if you have answered the minimum number of questions.
  • You fail if, during the last 60 questions, your ability dropped below the passing standard, even once.
  • The candidate passes if his/her last 60 questions ability estimates were above the passing standard.

However, it doesn’t imply that you have to answer the last 60 questions correctly. Each ability estimate depends on all the previous items that the candidate has responded to.

You get two pre-scheduled breaks during the NCLEX-RN exam which are counted in your 6-hour time limit. You can take extra breaks, but that will be included in your total test time. But, keep in mind that you won’t be able to access your mobile or any other electronic devices during the breaks.
Every NCLEX-RN exam is scored twice; once at the computer center by the computer and second, after the examination record has been provided to Pearson VUE. The exam result is not released at the test center. Your nursing regulatory board releases the result approximately weeks after taking the test. Some US states let candidates access their results after 48 business hours via the Quick Results Service.
If you fail to clear the exam in the first attempt, you can retake it after 45 days from the date of your previous examination. You can appear up to 8 times per year for the NCLEX-RN exam. However, the number of attempts may vary according to your state board of nursing, so get in touch with your state nursing board to know about its policy.