Students currently enrolled in nursing programs and those nearing the end of their studies often want more information about the nurse license exam structure. Regardless of where you live in the country, you must pass this test if you hope to work as a nurse. Passing the examination ensures that you have familiarity with different topics and that you understand what to do and not do around patients. In addition to understanding the format of the test, there are some other things you may want to know.
What Topics Does the Test Cover?
The test itself consists of questions asked from a series of seven topics. If you continually answer questions correctly in one area, the test will move onto a new subject. The largest percentage of questions deals with the care and management of patients, and the second largest section focuses on controlling infections. Test takers must also answer questions on promoting and maintaining health and safety among patients, psychological care and caring for psychological patients. Some questions may also deal with different types of medications and treatments for various diseases.
Taking the Test
The nurse licensing exam, also known as the NCLEX, can range from a minimum of 75 questions to a maximum of more than 200 questions. If you score extremely high on the first 75 questions, the computer will shut itself off and pass you on the test. If you score badly, the computer can shut down and fail you. The computer will keep asking you questions beyond the first 75 if your scores are uneven. You won’t know your exact score until you check online or receive your paperwork two to four weeks after completing the test.
How is the Structure Formatted?
The nurse license exam structure includes a number of multiple choice questions. The test will present a situation and give you four possible answers. You’ll only receive a passing score on each question where you choose the correct answer. The NCLEX originally consisted of only multiple choice questions but changed its format over the years. Some questions now feature a short audio or video clip, an image or a graph and then a question about that item. There are also questions that provide a potential situation followed by several correct actions for the situation and you must correctly determine the order of those steps.
How to Apply and Prepare for the Test
According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, you must register with the Board of Nursing in your state before taking the examination. Each state has different requirements and regulations about what you need to do before taking the test. Many states require that applicants submit their fingerprints to a police department and go through a background check. Some states may also require a credit check and proof that you graduated from an accredited nursing program. You can then register with Pearson VUE to take the test. Pearson VUE maintains testing centers all across the country and lets you select the date and time that works best for you.
Nurses must take a long examination before obtaining a license and working in the field. The nurse license exam structure typically consists of 75 to more than 200 questions and features a variety of questions, including multiple choice and scenario-based questions.