NCLEX-RN The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses


The NCLEX-RN is a national, standardized, multiple-choice exam for registered nurses developed and controlled by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. The exam is application oriented related to the job functions most commonly required of entry-level RNs. The exam tests current medical knowledge, nursing competencies and determines eligibility to earn a RN license and begin working as a Registered Nurse.

Test Structure

The NCLEX-RN exam is organized according to the framework, "Meeting Client Needs." There are four major categories and eight subcategories. "Client Needs" are the foundation for determining an RN's actions and measuring an RN's abilities. The exam integrates concepts and processes essential to practicing nursing and meeting client needs. The test consists of multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blank items, or items asking a candidate to identify an area from a graph/picture/chart.

Main Categories

Nursing and Medical Knowledge/Practices

Sub Categories

Safe, Effective Care Environment

Client Rights, Concepts of Management, Quality Improvement, Ethical Practice, Legal  Rights and Responsibilities, Supervision, Confidentiality, Incident Reports, Communication, Establishing Priorities, Case Management, Delegation, Advocacy, Staff Education
  • Management of Care

  • Safety and Infection Control


Health Promotion And Maintenance

Physical Assessment Techniques, Immunizations, Family Planning, Health Promotion Programs, Health Screening, Disease Prevention, growth and Development, Family Systems, High risk Behaviors, Life Style Choices, Health and Wellness

  • Growth and Development Through the Life Span

  • Prevention and Early Detection of Disease

Psychosocial Integrity

Domestic Violence, Child Abuse/Neglect, Stress Management, Coping Mechanisms, Mental Health Concepts, Counseling Techniques, Cultural Diversity, Family Dynamics, Religious and Spiritual Influences on Health, Grief and Loss, Support Systems

  • Coping and Adaptation

  • Psychosocial Adaptation

Physiological Integrity

Personal Hygiene, Nutrition and Oral Hydration, Assistive Devices, Teaching and Learning, Self Care, Mobility/Immobility, Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Rest and Sleep, Diagnostic Tests, Dosage Calculation, Vital Signs, system Specific Assessments, Surgical Procedures


  • Basic Care and Comfort

  • Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies

  • Reduction of Risk Potential

  • Physiological Adaptation

Test Dates, Registration & Fees

The NCLEX-RN exam is administered to the candidate by Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT). With CAT each candidate's exam is unique because it is assembled interactively as the exam proceeds. Again, with computer adaptive NCLEX-RN exam, candidates are able to schedule an individual date and time to take the exam. Testing is available through-out the year, 15 hours a day, 6 days a week.

The cost to take the NCLEX-RN exam is $200. Additional licensure fees are determined by the individual State Board of Nursing. Candidates must send  the completed test application and  fee to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.  Registration can be done by phone by calling: 1-866-496-2539 in USA. There is a $9.50 service fee for phone registration. Candidates must be eligible and receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) by mail before scheduling an appointment for the exam.

For more information visit http://www.ncsbn.org


The grading system on the NCLEX-RN exam is either pass or fail. There is no numerical score. All candidates must answer a minimum of 75 varied item format questions. The maximum number of item format questions which a candidate can answer is 265.