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The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is a standardized exam designed to assess the knowledge and skills of individuals seeking certification as a nurse in the United States.

There are two versions of the exam—one for prospective RNs and one for future LPNs. Each exam is tailored to assess the skills and knowledge necessary for that specific field.

Free NCLEX Questions

Use the NCLEX practice test questions below to get a better understanding of the NCLEX exam. Take advantage of these valuable free practice NCLEX questions to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses.

NCLEX Review Videos

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NCLEX Test Online Prep Courses

If you want to be fully prepared, Mometrix offers comprehensive online prep courses for both the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN. These courses are designed to help any learner get everything they need to prepare for their NCLEX exam. Click below to get the help you need!

What is Computer-Adaptive Testing?

It’s very important to know that the NCLEX is a computer adaptive test, or CAT. This means that the computer adapts to the test taker – that is, it decides which question to give a person next based on their response to the last question. Here’s what that looks like:

A flowchart that shows the adaptive nature of the exam

Essentially, if you answer a question incorrectly, you’ll be given easier and easier questions until you answer one correctly. When you answer a question correctly, you’ll be given harder and harder questions until you get one wrong. That process goes on continuously throughout the exam. Every test taker is given a first question of low difficulty, and the adaptation process begins from there.

What’s on the NCLEX?

Because of the nature of computer adaptive tests, the number of questions test takers will face can vary dramatically. On both the NCLEX RN and PN exams, questions can be as few as 85 or as many as 150.

The computer software is constantly analyzing a person’s total performance, not just the answer to the most recent question. Once it has determined with 95% confidence that the test taker is either skilled enough to pass, or is not skilled enough to pass, the computer will end the exam and assign a determination of either passed or failed, even if the time limit hasn’t been reached.

NCLEX Passing Score

There are no numerical scores on the NCLEX test. Test takers will be notified that they either passed or failed. You will receive your official results from your state Board of Nursing about six weeks after taking the NCLEX. However, in nearly all states, you can choose to pay an extra fee and receive your unofficial results 48 business hours after taking the exam.

NCLEX Pass Rate

As mentioned above, the NCSBN does not give test takers a numerical score on the NCLEX; the only results possible are Pass or Fail. That’s great if a person passes, but if they fail, they’re left in the dark as to how badly they performed on the exam. A test taker doesn’t know if they were very close to passing, or if they missed it by a long shot. That can be important information to know, because pass rates on the exam are very different for repeat takers compared to first time takers.

Retaking the NCLEX

If you don’t pass the test, it’s nice to know that you do have the option to take it again. You’ll need to wait 45 days to retest, and you’ll need to register and pay the fee all over again. You may take the NCLEX up to eight times a year, but no more than once every 45 days. Of course, if you have failed the exam twice, it’s probably a good idea for you to take some time and really evaluate if it’s worth taking it a third time.



How many times can you take the NCLEX?


You may retake the test up to eight times in a year, with a minimum 45-day waiting period between each attempt.


What does NCLEX stand for?


NCLEX stands for National Council Licensure Examination.


How many questions are on the NCLEX?


Because the exam is computer-adaptive, there are anywhere between 75 and 150 questions on the exam.


How long is the NCLEX?


You will have a time limit of 5 hours to take the exam.


Is the NCLEX hard?


The NCLEX is considered to be a moderately difficult exam for those who have spent an adequate amount of time studying.


How long does it take to get NCLEX results?


You should receive your final results within 6 weeks of testing.


Can you take the NCLEX at home?


Due to certain regulations and guidelines, you are not able to take the NCLEX exam at home.

By Kate Nockunas

Kate has been Mometrix’s Nursing and Medical Editor for over four years. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Vanderbilt University, a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Marymount University, and a master’s degree in Education from Johns Hopkins. Kate is a critical care registered nurse who still works occasionally in the ICU and PACU.


by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: December 19, 2023