How to Pass the NCLEX-PN (2023)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 60,700 job openings for licensed practical nurses are projected each year.

Nursing is considered a noble and highly trusted profession. Before entering this rewarding career as an LPN, you must first pass the NCLEX-PN exam.

The thought of an exam standing in the way of becoming an LPN can be daunting. But don’t worry! With enough preparation, you can pass the NCLEX-PN and pursue the career of your dreams.

Find out what to expect on the exam and how our NCLEX-PN study materials can help you pass confidently.

What Is the NCLEX-PN?

The NCLEX-PN exam is also known as the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses. It is owned and administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, also referred to as the NCSBN.

The exam is taken by students looking to become licensed as practical (LPN) or vocational (LVN) nurses. It is not to be confused with the NCLEX-RN for registered nurses. While registered nurses (RNs) provide direct care to patients, licensed practical nurses typically assist doctors or registered nurses.

The test itself is computer-adaptive, meaning it increases and decreases in difficulty until it is 95% certain of your level of competence. There are between 85 to 205 questions, including 25 experimental questions not counted towards your final score.

The questions on the NCLEX-PN exam are designed to assess your understanding of “client needs.” Most questions are given as multiple-choice and may utilize audio, graphics, and charts.

You may also encounter ordered response questions, fill-in-the-blank, and hot spot questions during the exam. The latter requires you to select an area on an image as your answer.

Who Can Take the NCLEX-PN Exam?

To take the NCLEX-PN exam, you must first complete a series of steps:

  1. Earn a high school diploma or GED

  2. Graduation from an approved LPN/LVN education program

  3. Apply for authorization for the NCLEX-PN exam

  4. Schedule your NCLEX-PN exam

  5. Wait for your results

  6. Start workings as an LPN

Each nursing regulatory body (NRB) has its eligibility requirements. Contact the NRB where you intend to work for more information.

Licensed practical nurses provide primary nursing care in various settings, including nursing homes, hospitals, physicians’ offices, and private homes.

(Video) How To PASS THE NCLEX PN IN 2022 /2023 | For The OLD & NEW LPN Board Exam | UWORLD, SAUNDERS

How Long Is the NCLEX-PN Exam?

The NCLEX-PN exam has a total allotted time of five hours. This time includes an instructional video before the exam, the 25 experimental questions, and two preprogrammed optional breaks.

The first break is available two hours into the exam, while the second break can be taken three and half hours in. You should take the breaks to have a quick stretch, have a snack, and use the bathroom.

What to Expect on the NCLEX-PN Exam

The NCLEX-PN exam is divided into four main categories, two of which are further subdivided. Each category and subcategory has a percentage attached which outlines the distribution of content for the exam.

The distribution of content is as follows:

Safe and Effective Care Environment

  • Coordinated Care (18%–24%)

  • Safety and Infection Control (10%–16%)

Health Promotion and Maintenance (6%–12%)

Psychosocial Integrity (9%-15%)

Physiological Integrity

  • Basic Care and Comfort (7%–13%)

  • Pharmacological Therapies (10%–16%)

  • Reduction of Risk Potential (9-15%)

  • Physiological Adaptation (7%–13%)

Note that the actual exam does not categorize these sections. The test will automatically stop once you’ve answered the minimum number of questions required to pass the NCLEX-PN exam.

How Hard Is the NCLEX-PN Exam?

Tests are designed to be challenging, and the NCLEX-PN exam is no exception. While it’s designed to be difficult, it isn’t impossible.

The purpose of the exam is to determine whether you can provide safe and effective care for patients. To pass the NCLEX-PN with flying colors, you must prove that you are knowledgeable in patient care and have the essential skills required to enter the field of practical nursing safely.

The difficulty of the exam is based on your performance. The better you do, the more complex the questions will be – this is a good sign! At the same time, if your questions appear to remain simple, it may be a sign that you’re not performing as well as you hoped.

(Video) How To Pass The NCLEX-PN Exam

The computer will stop providing you with questions when it is 95% certain that your ability is above or below the passing standard. The number of questions you answer will vary. You can receive between 85 and 205 questions.

While it is possible to fail after the computer stops at 85 questions, this rarely happens. It’s almost the opposite. The better you perform, the fewer questions you’ll be required to answer.

Tips for Passing the NCLEX-PN

Unless you can see into the future, it’s hard to know exactly how to pass the test. But fear not; there are proven exam-taking strategies that can put you in the best position to take the test confidently.

With enough preparation and a little help from this guide, nothing should stop you from passing the NCLEX-PN exam.

Here are some valuable NCLEX-PN strategies that work.

Understand the NCLEX-PN Exam Format

To avoid a surprise on testing day, familiarize yourself with the NCLEX format.

The NCLEX-PN exam is a computerized adaptive exam, otherwise known as CAT. This testing format is tailored and adapts to your ability level. The questions you receive are adjusted in their level of difficulty.

There are many advantages to CAT compared to other testing methods. One of the significant benefits is its ability to adapt to performance. CAT will become easier if you are struggling and more difficult if you’re performing well.

Unless you have previously taken the exam, this might be your first time with this adaptive format. To better understand how it works, ask peers who have completed the exam before. They can give you some insight into how it works and tips or tricks to help you.

Identify Your Study Style

Identifying your learning style will help you know the best ways to prepare for an exam. There are four main types of learning styles:

  1. Visual

  2. Auditory

  3. Kinesthetic

  4. Read/Write

Once you have figured out your learning style, you should adapt your methods accordingly. Remember that you may have more than one learning style.

Visual learners perform best when they can visualize information through drawings, photos, and charts. One learning strategy might involve watching videos online that discuss information about your exam.

Auditory learners process information through their sense of hearing. One learning strategy might involve speaking aloud as they study for the test. This may include repeating keywords or reading out essential phrases.

Kinesthetic learners absorb information through physical movement and touch. It is a tactile style of learning. One learning strategy might involve creating bodily movements for certain words or acting out concepts relevant to the exam.

(Video) LPN NCLEX Review 2022, NCLEX PN Review - Part 1

Read/write learners learn best by reading and writing out information. One strategy may involve rewriting test prep notes. While it may seem counterintuitive, the physical act of putting pen to paper forces your brain to process information in a more detailed way.

Create a Personalized Study Plan

A study plan is an organized schedule outlining study times, work/personal commitments, and learning goals. You should create a personalized study plan that sets aside dedicated time each week for studying.

Remember, your study schedule shouldn’t just be about studying. Plan your schedule to include breaks, sleep, social engagements, and any work commitments you may have.

Once you have completed your study plan, here are some tips for achieving your study goals:

  • Plan enough time for studying each topic

  • Study at a set time and in a consistent place

  • Utilize odd hours during the day for studying

  • Limit your study time to two hours at a time

  • Keep your notes organized

  • Leave some unscheduled time for flexibility

While it’s important to stick to your plan, know that it isn’t set in stone. Unexpected events arise; you might get called into work, or there is a family emergency.

Allow for some flexibility, and when something does happen, it won’t affect your study (or your stress levels).

At the end of each week, take the time to review your study plan and make adjustments where necessary.

Take NCLEX-PN Practice Tests

When taking the NCLEX-PN, don’t rely on past exams. The NCLEX changes significantly every three years, so previous exams may not be up-to-date.

The nursing field is constantly changing, so it makes sense that the exam keeps up with the latest updates and trends. Instead of relying on previous exams, take advantage of NCLEX-PN practice tests.

Prep questions will be one of the best resources you utilize during your study. Union Test Prep’s free NCLEX-PN practice test will ensure you are prepared to succeed on your testing day.

Practice tests can help simulate the testing experience and boost your performance on exam day. You will want to complete at least two NCLEX practice tests before sitting for the actual exam.

Utilize NCLEX-PN Prep Guide

If there’s any way to determine what is on the test, it’s by reading an NCLEX-PN prep guide. A prep or study guide is a condensed version of all of the important information you need to know. Use study guides to identify knowledge gaps and let them guide your study plan.

(Video) 🔥📚🧠 Top Testing Tips to Pass the NCLEX & Nursing Exams

Union Test Prep’s free study guides for the NCLEX-PN exam will tell you about the most important concepts in each section. If there are still concepts that confuse you, you can also seek additional information.

Study guides are an effective study material that works best when combined with other learning techniques, including practice tests and flashcards.

Take Advantage of Alternative Study Resources

Flashcards are a powerful tool to help you memorize facts fast. Nurses depend on their knowledge of medical terminology to record a patient’s medical history and write notes regarding a patient’s progress.

Union Test Prep’s free flashcards for the NCLEX-PN exam are a fun and effective way to learn (and remember) tricky terminology and concepts.

Through active recall, you quickly grasp and retain medical terminology. Using flashcards also utilizes spaced learning. Spaced repetition learning is effective for long-term memory when study sessions are spaced out instead of crammed into one night.

Be Prepared for Exam Day

The night before your exam, get a good rest and eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. A well-rested student with a nourished body is more likely to stay fresh and alert throughout the exam than those who aren’t.

On the day of the test, remember to:

  • Dress comfortably

  • Know the NCLEX candidate rules

  • Bring your ID card

  • Arrive early

  • Provide your biometrics

  • Receive your materials

  • Set your pace

Exam results are available from your nursing regulatory body (NRB). You can expect to get your official results approximately six weeks after taking the exam.

In some cases, you may be able to access your unofficial results days after taking the exam. Remember, the NCLEX quick result is not official and can’t be used to practice as a licensed practical nurse.

Pass Your Exam With the NCLEX-PN Study Guide

While it might seem like you’ve been studying forever, there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel! With one final exam, you can pursue your long-awaited career as a practical nurse.

With our NCLEX-PN survival tips, you can feel confident to pass the exam with confidence.

(Video) How I Passed the NCLEX PN in 85 Questions | Study Tips

Union Test Prep’s free NCLEX-PN study guide is an excellent starting point to determine the most important information you need to know. You can use our study guides to identify knowledge gaps and let them guide your personalized study plan.

While study guides are an effective study material, they work best when combined with other learning techniques, including our free practice tests and flashcards.

Get started with Union Test Prep’s NCLEX-PN exam study materials today.

FAQs

How do I pass Nclex PN on the first try? ›

How to Pass the NCLEX: 11 Study Tips to Pass the First Time
  1. Understand the NCLEX Format. ...
  2. Don't Self-Evaluate During the Test. ...
  3. Find Ways to Manage Your Test Stress. ...
  4. Know Your NLCEX Study Style. ...
  5. Make a Study Plan. ...
  6. Don't Draw from Past Clinical or Work Experiences. ...
  7. Hone Your Test-Taking Skills. ...
  8. Invest in Test Prep Resources.
9 Mar 2022

How can I increase my chances of passing the Nclex? ›

8 Tips for Passing the NCLEX-RN Exam
  1. Give Yourself Sufficient Time to Prepare. ...
  2. Familiarize Yourself with the Test Structure. ...
  3. Learn the Types of Questions. ...
  4. Take Practice Tests. ...
  5. Develop Test-Taking Strategies. ...
  6. Create a Robust Study Plan. ...
  7. Hone Your Stress Management Skills. ...
  8. Prepare for Exam Day.
3 May 2022

What is the trick to see if you passed Nclex? ›

If you get a message indicating you have recently scheduled the exam or that another registration cannot be made at this time, that is referred to as a “good pop-up.” When you see a good pop-up, this typically suggests you passed the NCLEX.

Can you pass Nclex PN with 75 questions? ›

Can I Fail the NCLEX at 75 Questions? To pass the NCLEX RN or PN, test takers must correctly answer at least 75 questions (the minimum amount). Unfortunately, that means you can also fail the exam within those 75 questions or items.

How difficult is the NCLEX PN? ›

The NCLEX-PN is challenging—it's supposed to be. The purpose is to determine if you're capable of providing safe and effective care for clients who are trusting you with their lives. Just as you expect to receive excellent medical care, passing the NCLEX-PN is proof that you are able to give the same level of care.

How long should I study for the NCLEX PN? ›

Preparing for the NCLEX-PN

Some experts recommend starting six months in advance, while many nurses recommend closer to two or three months. However, what everyone agrees on is that applicants should not cram for the exam.

Can I study for NCLEX in 2 weeks? ›

Each day of the last 2 weeks should be intentionally planned out in detail. Devote 4 hours to test taking practice and 2 hours to review of the test results, including content remediation. Have rest or no-prep days scheduled to make sure you are taking care of yourself and not burning out.

Can I pass NCLEX without studying? ›

It's possible to pass the NCLEX without studying, but It's unlikely. To pass without studying would require you to be either naturally smart or having done a good job studying and retaining information learned in nursing school. Most students will not pass the NCLEX if they don't study for it.

Is NCLEX harder the second time you take it? ›

Took the nclex- rn twice, it is not harder the second time. The exam gets easier or harder depending on how you are doing. Study, do practice questions and read the rationales.

What if I get 145 questions on my NCLEX? ›

The NCLEX-RN has a minimum of 75 questions and a maximum of 145, and you have five hours to complete the exam. If the maximum amount of time has elapsed and you have not answered the minimum number of questions, this indicates you failed the NCLEX in 2022.

Why did I only get 75 questions on NCLEX? ›

For the NCLEX- RN to shut off at 75 means you either did very well or very bad. It only fails an tester at 75 if they are unable to correctly answer more than a few questions in a row.

What percentage is passing on NCLEX 2022? ›

How the 2022 NCLEX is Scored. The NCLEX is scored using dichotomous scoring, so you can either pass or fail the exam. Currently, to pass the NCLEX-RN, the standard is 0.00 logits–or answer questions correctly at least 50% of the time.

Does the Pearson trick actually work? ›

The NCLEX trick is not 100% accurate. Some students have reported getting “a bad pop-up” when they passed and getting “the good pop-up” when they failed.

Can you fail NCLEX in 145 questions? ›

Does 145 questions on NCLEX mean you failed? No, if you answer all 145 questions on the NCLEX, that does not mean you fail. In fact, if you answered 145 questions and each question was progressively more challenging, then that is a good sign that you passed.

What are hard questions on NCLEX? ›

NCLEX questions and their difficulty levels are based off of Bloom's Taxonomy. Easier questions assess your ability to recognize, remember, and understand information. Tougher questions ask you to do things like apply or analyze information.

Is the NCLEX PN easier than RN? ›

In general it was a lot harder than the PN boards were. I walked out of the RN boards crying my eyes out because I knew there was no way that I could have passed that test. I felt generally ok with the PN boards. It could be practice though for how the test works, practice questions, ect.

How many questions do you need right to pass NCLEX PN? ›

Failing the test can result from not answering the minimum amount of 60 questions within the allotted time. You can answer the first 59 questions correctly, but you will automatically fail the exam if you don't reach number 60.

How many questions can you get wrong on NCLEX PN? ›

You can successfully answer the first 59 questions, but if you don't get to question 60, you will automatically fail the exam. Another method to fail the exam is to not answer enough questions properly within the allocated time or to not answer enough questions correctly out of the maximum of 145 or 265 questions.

How many times can you take the NCLEX PN? ›

California: Every 45 days as many times as you want. Florida: 3 attempts then you have to go back to school. Pennsylvania: Unlimited attempts. Ohio: Unlimited attempts.

Is UWorld enough to pass NCLEX? ›

For many students, UWorld is enough for them to pass the NCLEX. With an almost 100% pass rate, it's pretty clear that students successfully use the UWorld NCLEX prep to prepare them for the National Council Licensure Examination.

What is the best study guide for the NCLEX PN? ›

Mometrix Test Preparation's NCLEX PN 2021 and 2022 Exam Secrets Study Guide is the ideal prep solution for anyone who wants to pass their National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses. The exam is extremely challenging, and thorough test preparation is essential for success.

What topics should I study for NCLEX? ›

Sections of the NCLEX-RN Exam
  • Basic Care and Comfort. ...
  • Health Promotion and Maintenance. ...
  • Management of Care. ...
  • Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies. ...
  • Physiological Adaptation. ...
  • Psychosocial Integrity. ...
  • Reduction of Risk Potential. ...
  • Safety and Infection Control.

What percent do you need to pass NCLEX? ›

This means that you have to answer difficult questions correctly for at least 50% of the time in order to pass.

How many NCLEX questions should I do a day? ›

Plan to study no more than 4 – 5 hours per day, and to complete between 50 – 150 questions per day.

Which state NCLEX is the easiest? ›

If you are looking for the best state for NCLEX or easiest state to pass NCLEX, here are the top 5:
  • #1 Connecticut. ...
  • #2 Montana. ...
  • #3 New York. ...
  • #4 Northern Mariana Islands. ...
  • #5 South Dakota.
20 Jan 2022

Is NCLEX easier than UWorld? ›

90% of users report that UWorld's questions are the same level of difficulty or more difficult than the questions they encountered on the NCLEX. Why do we make our questions so difficult? Because we believe that practicing with anything less is not the best use of your time and energy.

How many people pass the NCLEX on their second try? ›

First Time NCLEX Pass Rates and Schools

The pass rate for repeat RN test-takers was only 42.9% and for PN 35.6%.

How do you pass NCLEX PN second time? ›

The best strategy is to review every day and practice NCLEX-style questions again and again. It is far better to set aside some time every day over weeks than to try and cram everything into a few study sessions right before you retest. Set a schedule and stick to it.

Why is NCLEX so hard? ›

Unlike nursing school exams, which test for knowledge, the NCLEX tests your ability to apply and analyze situations using the nursing knowledge you gained in school. Logic and critical thinking, rather than rote memorization, are emphasized in this test—making it much more difficult and comprehensive.

How many questions do you have to get right to pass NCLEX-PN? ›

The NCLEX is scored using dichotomous scoring, so you can either pass or fail the exam. Currently, to pass the NCLEX-RN, the standard is 0.00 logits–or answer questions correctly at least 50% of the time. The NCLEX-PN standard is -0.18 logits.

What score do you need to pass NCLEX-PN? ›

The NCLEX-PN is a pass/fail exam. You must achieve a logit score of at least -0.18 to pass the exam.

How many questions do you need to pass NCLEX-PN? ›

The minimum number of questions you could answer to pass the NCLEX-PN is 85 questions. The average number of questions given is 112.

How do I study for NCLEX-PN after failing? ›

If you're an aspiring nurse who failed the test, there are strategies you can employ to help make your retake successful.
  1. Step 1: Determine Why You Didn't Pass. ...
  2. Step 2: Familiarize Yourself with the Exam. ...
  3. Step 3: Schedule Study Time. ...
  4. Step 4: Take Test Preparation Courses. ...
  5. Step 5: Find a Study Partner or Study Group.

What does it mean if you get all 145 questions on NCLEX? ›

Answering all 145 questions on the NCLEX-RN alone does not mean you failed the exam. However, with each correct answer you provide, the test should give you a question that becomes increasingly more difficult than the previous one.

Is the NCLEX PN easier than RN? ›

In general it was a lot harder than the PN boards were. I walked out of the RN boards crying my eyes out because I knew there was no way that I could have passed that test. I felt generally ok with the PN boards. It could be practice though for how the test works, practice questions, ect.

Which state is the easiest to pass NCLEX? ›

If you are looking for the best state for NCLEX or easiest state to pass NCLEX, here are the top 5:
  • #1 Connecticut. ...
  • #2 Montana. ...
  • #3 New York. ...
  • #4 Northern Mariana Islands. ...
  • #5 South Dakota.
20 Jan 2022

Is 75 questions on NCLEX good? ›

There's no need to worry just yet! The NCLEX is a pass/fail exam, so you won't know your score until you receive your results. However, the average passing rate for the NCLEX is around 85%, so you've got a pretty good chance of passing if you've made it to 75 questions.

How many people pass NCLEX first time? ›

First Time NCLEX Pass Rates and Schools

According to the NCSBN, the national first time NCLEX-RN pass rate for US educated nurses in 2020 was 86.5% and the PN pass rate for the same period of time was 83%. The pass rate for repeat RN test-takers was only 42.9% and for PN 35.6%.

What is the NCLEX pass rate 2022? ›

The number of internationally-educated NCLEX-RN candidates increased from 7,803 in the first quarter of 2021 to 11,814 in the first quarter of 2022. The passing rate also increased from 32.03% to 38.14%.

What are considered hard questions on NCLEX? ›

Each category of questions requires an increasing level of critical thinking skills. Analysis, synthesis and evaluation questions would be considered higher-level NCLEX questions. Synthesis questions are based on creating or proposing solutions, such as a plan of care.

Is UWorld enough to pass NCLEX? ›

For many students, UWorld is enough for them to pass the NCLEX. With an almost 100% pass rate, it's pretty clear that students successfully use the UWorld NCLEX prep to prepare them for the National Council Licensure Examination.

What happens if you fail NCLEX 3 times? ›

If they fail, they'll need to wait 45 days before retesting. After failing three times, though, they'll need to complete a board-approved remediation program before the next retake. Candidates have six attempts to pass in total.

Why do I keep failing NCLEX PN? ›

Failing the NCLEX may indicate that your study habits were not optimal. Identify your areas of opportunity, and be clear about how you will alter your approach for your next attempt. You may have tried to cram too much studying into too short a time, or you might have not studied enough.

Can I pass NCLEX with 145 questions? ›

Does 145 questions on NCLEX mean you failed? No, if you answer all 145 questions on the NCLEX, that does not mean you fail. In fact, if you answered 145 questions and each question was progressively more challenging, then that is a good sign that you passed.

What is near passing on NCLEX? ›

The number of questions you answered is an indication of how close you were to the passing standard. Only those candidates whose performance was close to the passing standard had to answer the maximum number of questions (130 for NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN).

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3. How I passed the NCLEX-PN in 75 Q's (UWORLD + MY TIPS)
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