How to Pass the NCLEX PN

How to Pass the NCLEX-PN Exam (Report)

After graduating from a school of nursing, those who wish to become a licensed practical nurse must know how to pass the NCLEX PN exam. The exam is adaptive and consists of 85 to 205 questions (regarding eight domains) given over a period of five hours. Candidates who fail on their first attempt may retake the NCLEX PN after a waiting period of 45 days. The exam may be taken at over 240 locations worldwide for a registration fee of $200. Also, candidates can choose to pay a small processing fee to receive their unofficial results within 48 hours.

NCLEX Review

The NCLEX PN, or the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses, is an exam created and administered by the NCSBN (The National Council of State Boards of Nursing) to ensure entry level nurses have the basic knowledge, skills and abilities essential to safe and effective nursing.

As previously stated, after you have graduated from your school of nursing, you can submit an application for licensure to the Board of Nursing in the area of the United States or Canada in which you wish to work as a nurse. The Board of Nursing/Regulatory Board (BON/RB) must grant you permission to take the exam as they determine whether or not you are eligible to take the exam. Usually, simply being a graduate student of an accredited nursing school makes you eligible.

When you are proven eligible to take the test, you will receive an Authorization To Test (ATT) by email. The ATT has an expiration date so book your test date as soon as possible. The NCLEX PN test can be taken at any one of 240 Pearson Professional Center locations around the world. The NCSBN (The National Council of State Boards of Nursing) website has a search function to help you find your NCLEX PN test center.

NCLEX PN (85 – 205 Questions)

The NCLEX PN is an adaptive computerized exam, which means the questions get more difficult as you give more right answers. You will have five hours to complete at least 85 questions and no more than 205 questions. You will see only one question at a time and you cannot go back and make changes to your answers on previous questions. The test will stop as soon as you have reached the passing standard or when it has determined you will fail the exam. There is only a “pass” or “fail” result for the NCLEX PN. For a fee of $7.95, you can receive your unofficial results within 48 hours. Your official results will be mailed to you within six weeks of taking the test.

If you fail the NCLEX PN test, you will receive a Candidate Performance Report (CPR) that outlines how you did in the different areas of content on the exam. This is a valuable tool as you are able to retake the NCLEX PN test again after 45 days, and up to eight times per year. You will, however, need to register and pay the registration fee each time. If you do fail, it is highly recommended you take a few months to study and greatly strengthen your knowledge before attempting to take the NCLEX PN test again.

Read on to learn how to pass the NCLEX PN exam. You will find links to valuable information, helpful breakdowns of the various sections of the NCLEX PN exam, as well as tips and hints to help you ace your NCLEX PN exam.

NCLEX PN Secrets Study Guide
NCLEX PN Secrets Study Guide


The NCLEX RN exam, or the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses,  is the licensure exam for Registered Nurses; whereas, the NCLEX PN exam is the licensure exam for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) or Vocational Nurses (VN).

The NCLEX RN exam is the sister exam to the NCLEX PN exam. At one time, they were combined into one exam. The NCLEX RN exam can also be taken at any NCLEX PN test center, and you can also find information about the NCLEX RN exam at NCSBN and at BON/RB.

The NCLEX RN exam is also an adaptive computerized exam. You will have six hours to complete at least 75 questions and no more than 265 questions. The same rules apply, the questions will get harder as you answer them correctly, you will see only one question at a time, and you cannot go back and change your answers to previous questions.

NCLEX RN Practice Test
NCLEX PN Practice Test

How to Pass the NCLEX PN Exam

The NCLEX PN exam is an extremely challenging test. You will need to put in a lot of hours of study and preparation in order to pass this exam. There are study aids available to you to help you achieve this goal.

Mometrix will give you guidance on how to pass the NCLEX PN exam. Visit where you can find tools to help you practice for your NCLEX PN exam. These tools include an NCLEX PN study guide, an NCLEX PN practice test, and NCLEX PN flashcards. You can also visit the Mometrix Academy for free NCLEX PN video tutorials.

The NCLEX PN exam is divided into four Client Needs categories:

Safe and Effective Care Environment. This includes Coordinated Care that covers collaborating with other healthcare providers on assignments and prioritizing; an understanding of client rights and confidentiality; as well as knowing ethics and legal responsibilities as a practical nurse. This category also includes Safety and Infection Control that covers the handling of hazardous and infectious material, incident reporting, accident prevention, emergency response, ergonomics, restraints, and security.

Health Promotion and Maintenance includes knowledge in growth and development, the aging process, developmental stages, disease prevention, high-risk behaviors, and lifestyle choices.

Psychosocial Integrity includes promoting your clients’ emotional, mental and social well-being; understanding and identifying abuse and neglect; as well as behavioral management, crisis management, mental health, stress management, therapy, and support systems.

Physiological Integrity. This includes Basic Care and Comfort, which is helping clients with their mobility, personal hygiene, rest, and comfort. Pharmacological Therapies, which is the administration of medication, as well as their side effects and expected outcomes. Reduction of Risk Potential covers reducing the potential for complications, reading vital signs, and therapy. Physiological Adaptation is being able to provide care to those with life-threatening conditions, in an emergency situation, or is having an unexpected responses to therapy.

You will also be tested on data collection, evaluation, planning and implementation; the care and compassion needed to achieve positive results; communication with clients and other health care providers; and your attitude toward continuous learning and changing.

Mometrix will help you study for the NCLEX PN or NCLEX RN exam. Use the Mometrix NCLEX study guide, NCLEX practice test, NCLEX flashcards, and NCLEX video tutorials to help you study for your NCLEX PN or NCLEX RN test and get closer to your nursing career goals.

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Jay Willis

Jay Willis joined Mometrix as Vice President of Sales in 2009, and has developed several key strategic relationships that have enhanced the distribution of Mometrix products. With nearly 20 years of sales experience in the publishing industry, his dedication to providing the highest quality experience for customers, coupled with his sales and marketing expertise, has resulted in significant growth of the Institutional Sales division. Learn more