NCLEX 101: All About Nursing’s Most Important Test

Every U.S. state has different registered nursing licensing and continuing education requirements. There is, however,  one thing nurses in every state have in common: They must pass the NCLEX-RN exam. It remains the last necessary step for nurses to earn their license

Excelsior College focuses on this issue by providing all student and graduate nurses with test preparation. Partnering with the ATI, Excelsior provides graduate nurses the exam preparation they need to pass the NCLEX, becoming Registered Nurses.

The Excelsior College programs that train students to become RNs and pass the NCLEX are the Associate in Applied Science in Nursing and the Associate in Science in Nursing. Students at Excelsior College who follow the college’s guidelines for test preparation achieve a 98% success rate on the NCLEX.

What Is The NCLEX-RN Exam?

In 1982, the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) became the nationwide test for nurse licensure in the United States. The NCLEX-RN assesses the knowledge and skill level of graduate nurses who wish to become an RN.

Nurses must first apply to the state where they want to earn licensure. It is important to review the rules of that state before applying for a license. Each state’s Nursing Regulatory Body (NRB) maintains its specific requirements.

The next step is to register to take the NCLEX with Pearson VUE. The cost to take the test is $200.

Before taking the exam, you can download a test plan that provides a comprehensive overview of the content areas covered in the exam.

Taking the NCLEX

Pearson VUE administers the NCLEX. Pearson offers the test year-round and has testing locations across the country. Nurses can take the NCLEX at any Pearson Professional Testing location, even if it is outside of the jurisdiction where they want to earn licensure.

On the day of the test, arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes early. Have an ID showing your given and surname match exactly with the test authorization email you received from Pearson. A marriage license or a divorce decree are the only two acceptable forms of identification to show your name has changed.

Pearson staff may take your biometrics, including signature, photograph, and palm vein scan. Test-takers have four hours to complete the exam. There are two optional breaks after the first two hours and another after three and a half hours.

Getting Your Results

Some jurisdictions have signed up for the Quick Results Service from Pearson, which allows you to get results in two business days. If not, you can get this service yourself by paying an additional $7.95. 

Results are only delivered to nursing graduates through the NRB that oversees the jurisdiction where they want to become licensed. 

If you did not pass the test, Pearson sends a Candidate Performance Report that shows how the candidate fared in each of the content areas within the test plan. Students can use this to study for retaking the exam.

Excelsior College’s partnership with ATI provides graduate nurses free access to the Virtual-ATI NCLEX Revie offering preparation tutorials in nurse logic and learning systems. 

Within 30 days of graduation, Excelsior College offers a 12-week session through the ATI virtual classroom. The resource lets students work a coach works as they prepare for the NCLEX-RN. Students must complete at least 50% of the virtual review course for Excelsior College to release final documents to the Board of Nursing, allowing you to sit for the NCLEX-RN.