NCLEX Examination Overview

NCLEX Introduction

If you want to pursue your career in the health care field, you must complete few steps that offer you eligibility to work in the entry level position in varied health care facilities. The initial step for entry level nursing practice requires completing either LPN Programs or RN programs that provide you sufficient knowledge and skills for safe and quality nursing and health care services.

But, the most important and vital step that is needed for availing the nursing jobs or to get eligibility to work, you must appear in the nationally recognized licensing exam NCLEX that is also recognized by each state Board of Nursing to decide the competent candidate that can be registered and granted license for working.

NCLEX Examination Overview

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX®) is designed and developed to evaluate the competency level of a candidate including skills, knowledge and proficiency to safeguard public health and welfare through safe and effective practice. The board of nursing also makes decision to grant the licensure after going through the NCLEX examination result of the candidate and it is also the responsibility of the Board to release the result of the examination to the candidates. 

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX®) is a computer based exam format (CAT), offered at the test centers located throughout the United States and few selected international centers, since April, 1994. The computerized adaptive testing (CAT) was implemented after a decision was made by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN®) in August 1991. The necessity for CAT was felt to meet the competency evaluation goal of a candidate relating to the passing standards. It is been found that computer precisely estimate the candidate’s ability, when he/she answers the questions.

The NCLEX Exam items are in multiple choice formats, though other formats are also available but the scoring is only for right or wrong and there is no partial credit. If you are not proficient in using computer, a tutorial is included as the part of the exam that will guide you on the use of mouse and instruct you the way to record the answer.

NCLEX Exam Features

The NCLEX exam is offered for two types of nursing Licensure and they include the NCLEX-RN® and the NCLEX-PN®. Both exams are independent of each other and features variable length computerized adaptive tests.

NCLEX-RN exam features 75 to 265 items, which also include 15 non scoring pre test items and the duration of the exam is six (6) hours.

NCLEX-PN exam comprises of 85 to 205 items including 25 pre test items that do not score and the test can be completed in 5 hours.

It is also necessary to remember that the total time allotted for the both tests include services such as sample questions, tutorials, breaks in between the exam and actual exam itself. Though breaks are optional and depend upon the testing candidate.

Registration Process

In order to appear in the testing, it is necessary that one must complete the Registration process including:

  • You are required to submit the completed Application to your state Board of Nursing.
  • Must meet the Board of Nursing required eligibility to appear in the NCLEX exam.
  • Board decides your eligibility to sit in the exam.
  • Registered with Pearson Vue and receive the Acknowledgement of Receipt of Registration.
  • Get Authorization to Test (ATT) letter from Pearson VUE.

You must also remember that all correspondence from Pearson Vue will arrive through the e-mail address you have provided during the Registration and if you have not submitted your e-mail address then all correspondence will arrive through U.S. mail only. The failure to receive ATT letter even after 4 weeks of Registration and receipt of the acknowledgment of registration, needs contacting Pearson VUE NCLEX Candidate Services number.   .   

Test Fees and Procedures

The test Fees for sitting in the NCLEX Exam is $200 and you are also required to meet the Licensure fees as required by your state Board of Nursing. The candidates aiming to schedule their exam outside the United States are required to pay additional fee of $150 and a Value Added Tax (VAT) (if applicable). After registering for the exam, if a candidate wishes to change the Board of Nursing for RN/PN exam or Licensure place must pay change fees of $50.

* The United States includes American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Testing Personal Identification Requirements

On arrival on the testing center, you are required to present your Testing Personal Identification Requirements including:

  • Your valid ATT Letter
  • One Form of Acceptable Identification that must be in active status, duly signed and photograph such as U.S. driver’s license (Department of Motor Vehicle-issued), U.S. state identification (Department of Motor Vehicle-issued), U.S. Military Identification and Passport for outside of the U.S.

Important Contacts:

NCLEX Candidate website,
Call: NCLEX Candidate Services (Pearson VUE)
United States – Call at (toll-free) 1.866.49NCLEX (1.866.496.2539), Monday – Friday, 7 am to 7 pm, U.S. Central Time.

Mailing Address:

Write: NCLEX Examination Program
Pearson Professional Testing
5601 Green Valley Drive
Bloomington, MN 55437-1099
(Not for the 3rd Party Payments)

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN)  

Email: NCSBN website,


National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc
Examinations Department
111 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 2900
Chicago, Illinois 60601-4277
Call Examinations Department: 866.293.9600
Fax Examinations Department: 312.279.1036