NCLEX Requirements And Preparation Tips
The licensing exam for nurses in the United States has two forms, the NCLEX-PN and the NCLEX-RN. The NCLEX requirements are different, depending on which exam you plan to take.
The agency that oversees this testing does not make the rules for who is eligible. In order to take the exam, you must first submit a request for licensure to the state board in the state where you wish to practice, and then register for the test. Once the board determines you are eligible for licensing according to their state regulations, you will receive an Authorization To Test (ATT) from the testing agency.
Only after you have your ATT form can you set up a date to take the exam. Testing centers around the country and even some international ones are available for your convenience, and you can look up the closest one(s) to you online. Some centers fill up faster than others, so it's a good idea to schedule your appointment as soon as possible after receiving your ATT.
The test itself is a computerized adaptive test. It is taken on a computer, but there is no expectation that you know how to use one. An optional tutorial at the beginning explains how to work the computer and what will be expected of you during the testing period. Because the exam is adaptive, it takes a variable amount of time, but the maximum times allowed are six hours for the NCLEX-RN and five hours for the NCLEX-PN.
When you go to the exam center on your test date, you will need to bring with you your ATT letter, and an acceptable form of ID. Within the United States, acceptable forms of ID include valid passports, current drivers licenses, Department of Motor Vehicles-issued state IDs, and military identification. Outside of the US, only passports are allowed. All IDs must be in English.
Free study guides and information are available on the web from a variety of sources. The agency that administers the test does not endorse any study materials, but some boards of nursing do. You can look up their recommendations online, too. An overview of what the test covers can help students go back through their notes and refresh their memories on those items.
Licensing is an important part of making sure that health care professionals are knowledgeable and properly trained. In the US, this is the only exam that is used to determine whether a nurse will be licensed or not. Proper educational requirements for taking the test are determined by each board and may differ slightly, but the test is identical all across the country.