Next Generation NCLEX© – Why?

If you are here, you are most likely trying to figure out what is this Next Generation NCLEX and what can I do to prepare for it?  You may have even heard scary things about it that are causing a little stress and anxiety.


First of all, let me say . . . 


Nursing school is hard, passing the NCLEX is concerning, but . . . YOU CAN DO THIS! 



To be completely transparent I have not gone to nursing school. But many friends have graduated and there is one thing they all say – it is HARD.  But it is also POSSIBLE and can even be ENJOYABLE.

So why am I the one writing this if I’ve never been to nursing school? Mostly because I have a different viewpoint than many students. My years of teaching, including time at the college level, have helped me to see things that may be missed by others. 

So . . . Back to the point at hand. How do we pass the NCLEX?

One thing that can help is knowledge and understanding. As we face the unknown there is fear, doubt, and discouragement.  But as we begin to understand what is expected, we can turn those fears into motivation and success.

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00.01 Test Taking Course Introduction

You may remember about a year ago we wrote about the NGN. Since that time the NCSBN has released more information.  I will be sharing some of the things that I have found from the NCSBN concerning their plans and hopefully this will calm your fears. 

A Little History

Why do we even have the NCSBN and why do we have to take the NCLEX? 

[The] National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is an independent, not-for-profit organization through which nursing regulatory bodies act and counsel together on matters of common interest and concern affecting public health, safety and welfare, including the development of nursing licensure examinations.

In other words they help each of the states work together so that there is a standard for nursing. They help to promote safety and provide a test to make sure nurses know their stuff . . . that is where the NCLEX comes in. 

National Council Licensure Examination

So the NCSBN creates a standard and the NCLEX is the test that verifies new nurses meet that standard.

Up until 1994 the NCLEX was actually a paper test and it was only offered 2 times a year.  That means if you graduated shortly after the test was administered, you might have to wait 5 months before you could even take the test!

But all that changed with Computer Adaptive Tests or CAT. April 1, 1994 the first computerized NCLEX test was given . . . and it was a game changer.

Before that you showed up at a superdome with 150,000 other potential nurses, now you can schedule the test when you feel ready and take it in a quiet (albeit stressful) environment.

Because of data. The NCSBN bases all changes on research and best practices.  Over time technology allows for better implementation. 

The first CAT version of the NCLEX was studied, piloted, and analyzed to make sure that it was effective. The NCSBN has continued to analyze and research if the NCLEX is still effective.  The results are that it is effective, but it could also be better.

The NCLEX measures different domains of clinical judgment such as:

The NCLEX uses different questions types such as:

Here is what the NCSBN displays as a Stop Light graph to show how well each of these question types measure the different domains.

Green means good or in other words it does a good job measuring.

Red is bad or in other words it cannot measure that domain of clinical judgement.  

Yellow – somewhere in between.

You will notice from this graph that there is at least one question type that is able to measure each domain of clinical judgement . . . but there is A LOT of red.

The conclusion that the NCSBN came to from this research is that yes the NCLEX can provide valid measurements but there is a lot of room for improvement. 

So how do you improve a test like the NCLEX that does not have question types that match up with domains they are trying to test?  Logically there is a need for new question types which is why you are reading this whole article about the Next Generation of NCLEX.

There is a lot more to share but that will have to come in the next article.  So for now please sign up below and I will send you an update once I post the next article.


Also I will send you a Free Cheatsheet on Test Taking Tips!

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