How is the NCLEX Structured?

The NCLEX exam, which is formally known as the National Council Licensure Examination, is the final hurdle that sits before you when you want to begin to practice as a licensed nurse with in an entry-level role. After you have taken the nursing courses and completed the clinical hours that are required to get licensed, you need to take this national exam and demonstrate that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to work with patients.

Before you schedule your exam and visit the test center on test day, it can be helpful to learn about the exam and what to expect. Every licensure exam has a unique structure that covers concepts and topics that are important. Because the NCLEX exam is a national exam, the structure is the same no matter what state you are located in. Read on, and find out what is covered on the test so that you know how to prepare.

What Content is Covered on the NCLEX?

nclex1There is a detailed test plan that you can review when you want to familiarize yourself with the structure of the examination. The purpose of the exam is to measure your cognitive ability to see if you can get through complex thought processing so that you can assess client needs. The RN examination is completely focused on client needs and is divided into four different sections that cover those needs no matter what setting you work in. These four categories include the following sections:

* Safe and Effective Care Environment
* Health Promotion and Maintenance
* Psychosocial Integrity
* Physiological Integrity

How Are Practical Abilities Measured?

Your knowledge on safety, infection control, management of care, pharmaceuticals, and reduction of risk will be tested, but many do not expect practical skills to be tested in the way that it is. The test actually tests you on integrated processes so that you are able to demonstrate your ability to assess, analyze, plan, implement care, and evaluate a patient’s condition. Integrated processes includes your interaction and ability to communicate with clients and professionals in the field. This is how your practical skill and knowledge is tested by administering the NCLEX.

What Types of Questions Are on the Test?

There are several different types of questions that are all centered around meeting clients needs. A majority of these questions are multiple choice and will offer you four different answer choices. In addition to the multiple choice questions, some may be structured as fill in the blank or multiple response questions. This looks for your ability to integrate content and reason on your own. All of the content on the test will fall into one of the four categories tested.

Before you can sit for the exam you need to complete a nursing educational program and also apply for a Authorization to Test (ATT). The ATT will be sent to you once you show the proof that you are eligible to test. Be sure that you apply for this authorization at least 60 to 90 days before you want to schedule your exam. Once you have taken a preparation course and used study materials, you can then feel comfortable testing to become registered. Set aside time for a study session or program so you can pass your NCLEX exam the first time.

Related Resource:  Are There Certification Exams for Nurses?