National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN)
The National Council Licensure for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) is a test that assesses a vocational nurse’s competency in the area of nursing. This is done to ensure protection of the public, as each candidate must demonstrate safe and effective performance.
Application to Take the NCLEX-PN
Before you take the NCLEX-PN, you must apply for a nursing license from your state Board of Nursing. This organization determines whether or not you meet the criteria for this examination. If you are eligible, you can register to take the test. The Board of Nursing then allows you to register with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing testing center either by phone or mail-in registration form. The Board also issues you an Authorization to Take the Test (ATT) and sends you a list of approved testing sites. The NCLEX costs $200 to take.
NCLEX-PN Testing Procedures
The PN NCLEX tests the student on four categories: safe, effective care environment; psychosocial integrity; health promotion and maintenance; and physiological integrity. It is a multiple choice question examination with allow the student to use computerized adaptive testing (CAT) to gauge level of competence.
This interactive system allows the candidate to answer a minimum of 85 questions. After this many questions, the computer assesses level of competence. Students who are above the passing standard do not have to continue to answer questions. However, students below the passing standard must continue to answer questions. Practical nurse candidates can only take a maximum of 205 questions and have five hours to take the NCLEX. There is time for an introductory computerized tutorial and two 10 minute breaks.
If you fail the NCLEX-PN, the state Board of Nursing will mail you a profile outlining the areas of knowledge where you performance was not satisfactory. You will also see a diagnostic analysis of the knowledge areas where you showed competence. You can retake the test after 91 days, and there is no limit on the number of times you are permitted to retest. However, this varies from state to state, so check with your Board of Nursing.