The NCLEX is a pass/fail exam. NCLEX questions are geared to each candidate’s competencies calculated on the hoof by the central computer during the test. The interactive computer adaptive system (CAT) selects the next question for the test taker based on the skill level demonstrated in previous answers and alternates between easy and difficult to establish an accurate range of professional competency.
As you do NCLEX review questions, note that the real exam is six hours long and contains 265 questions. All are served up in a multiple choice format with four possible answers. Also some parts of the test include multiple responses, hot spots, fill-in-the-blank, drag and drop, and charts. Fifteen questions will not be scored as they are there only for statistical purposes.
The NCLEX exam comes to an end when:
a) at least 75 questions have been answered and a minimum competency is demonstrated or
b) at least 75 questions have been answered and a lack of competency is demonstrated or
c) all 265 questions have been answered, or
d) the six hours have passed.
A numerical score is not provided. The test results will be available through the State Board of Nursing approximately 4 weeks after the test has been completed. If your nursing board participates in the Quick Results Service, unofficial results may be available within 48 hours. In the event of a fail, a diagnostic evaluation will be sent that will highlight problem areas. If you failed, then use to focus exactly where you need to spend your time in your NCLEX study guide.
Unfortunately, the pass rate on the first attempt is low as most candidates fail the first time. However, while paying continuous testing fees is expensive, it’s possible to retake the test after a 45-90 day waiting period.