Walk Out of the NCLEX® Exam Feeling Like You Just Took a 1st Grade Spelling Test

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5 Things You Need To Know About the NCLEX®

You’ve just spent thousands and potentially 10’s of thousands of dollars on your nursing school, sacrificed a ton of time and worked harder than ever to get through nursing school but there is still one GIANT hurdle in your way…NCLEX®.

Trust me, I’ve been where you are. I know the feelings of extreme anxiety and pressure when preparing for the NCLEX® knowing that those 5 letters stand in the way of me achieving my dream and becoming a nurse.

Below are some tips that will help you understand a little bit better how the NCLEX® works, what you will be tested on and what you can do to feel ultra confident come NCLEX® test time.

1.) The NCLEX® is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT)

What this means is that the test follows a computer algorithm that constant adjusts the test and your questions based on how you’re scoring. The reason for this is so that the test can accurately gauge your knowledge based on the preset passing standards of the test. Sounds confusing but it essentially means question #2 is based on how you answered question #1 and so on through the entire test. No two nursing students will ever get an identical test.

2.) The NCLEX® is based on a Passing Standard

The NCSBN is who administers the NCLEX® and determines the passing standard for it. This passing standard is essentially a line and students who score above the line are considered passing and get to become a nurse and students below that line fail and don’t become a nurse. The NCLEX® is totally independent of how many questions you took, how long it took you etc. All the test cares about is whether or not you are above or below this passing standard.

3.) 95% Confidence Interval

You might be wondering what the heck a 95% Confidence Interval is and rightfully so. The 95% confidence interval is how confident the NCSBN is that you will answer the next question correctly. Obviously when you first start the test this confidence level is very wide because the test doesn’t know you very well yet.

However, as you go along and answer more questions the test learns about you and starts to understand your level of knowledge so that it can ultimately get to a point of 95% confidence that regardless of the next question the test throws out at you, you will answer correctly. Typically if you go well beyond 75 questions it’s because your confidence interval is constantly bouncing above and below the passing standard line. Meaning the test isn’t quite sure how you will do and is trying to figure you out.

If you go past 75 questions don’t panic! At the end of the day if you pass in 75 or 256 questions it doesn’t matter, you passed!

4.) 8 Question Categories on the NCLEX®

There are 8 types of question categories given on the NCLEX®.

  • Management of Care
  • Safety and Infection Control
  • Health Promotion and Maintenance
  • Psychosocial Integrity
  • Basic Care and Comfort
  • Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies
  • Reduction of Risk Potential
  • Physiological Adaptation

The biggest category where you will find a majority of your NCLEX® questions coming from is the Management of Care category. The reason for this is the NCSBN wants to see if you know how to manage different disease processes. In other words…are you going to kill someone? The NCLEX® is designed to determine if you’re going to be a safe nurse or a danger to yourself and others.

5.) Common Questions about the NCLEX®

We get tons of questions about the NCLEX® so below we will answer some of the most popular questions we receive.

Does the NCLEX® test you on generic names of medications or brand names of medications?

  • The answer is generic, the NCLEX® only tests you on the generic names of medications so don’t learn Tylenol instead make sure you understand the nursing implications for Acetaminophen.

Do I get a test report of how I did?

  • Unless you fail, the answer is no. If you do fail you will get a test report that simply tells you if you were passing, near passing or below passing in a category. If you do fail, my advice is to focus on the areas where you were near passing as they will be the easiest areas to improve upon.

Does the NCLEX® bold words?

  • Yes, the NCLEX® will bold words like best, first, priority, select all that apply. Make sure to pay extra attention to these words as they will most likely be priority words in that question and may cause for test takers to easily miss a question if they don’t pay close attention.

Can I skip questions on the NCLEX®?

  • No, you cannot skip questions. You must answer every question given to you until the test ends.

Now, would you like to know how you can get better at anything in life including taking the NCLEX®? Practice…I know, I know, it’s not maybe the fancy answer you were looking for but it’s true.

You can’t expect to be an expert skier your first time on the mountain. So why would taking the NCLEX® exam be any different?

If you want to dominate the NCLEX® exam on your first try, you’re going to have to put in some serious practice. While nursing test banks are good, they don’t really give you the actual experience of taking the exam – time limits, not getting the answers, testing environment, etc.

That’s one of the main reasons that we built our revolutionary NCLEX® simulator – SIMCLEX®.  We wanted to help nursing students get an actual feel for how the NCLEX® exam would be to take in real life, and not just a series of practice questions.

A Few Questions For You…

  • Are you completely confident that you’ll pass the NCLEX® exam on your first try?
  • Do you know exactly what to expect on the exam itself (question types, your endurance to answer questions, etc.) ?
  • Would you like to answer yes to both of those questions (and feel confident in that)?

I’ve been sitting exactly where you are today. You’re either in nursing school or have recently graduated, and are getting ready to take the NCLEX® exam.

Either way , you’ve just spend tens of thousands of dollars, and years of your life getting ready to finally become a nurse.The problem is there are just 5 letters standing in your way…

N.C.L.E.X ®

Let me introduce you to


Our patent pending – Real-Life NCLEX® Exam Simulator

6 Reasons Why SIMCLEX®

 is the BEST Way to Prepare for the NCLEX® Exam

Adaptive Testing Algorithm


Unlike other “simulators” that just blast random questions at you, this actually increases and decreases in difficulty, based on which questions you got right and wrong, just like the NCLEX® exam.  No one is doing this . . . because it is a HUGE task . . . and that’s why SIMCLEX® is Patent Pending.

75 to 265 Questions, Time Limits, etc.

Just like the NCLEX® exam, SIMLCEX® will show you anywhere from 75 questions, to the maximum 265, depending on how well you are scoring. Other simulators just show 75 no matter what. Plus we put the actual time limit on, so you can get a feel for the right tempo.

6,000+ Questions Vetted by 100,000’s of nursing students


Every question in our  massive nursing test bank are written by NCSBN trained NCLEX® question writer and have been taken by 100,000’s of students.  This not only makes SIMCLEX® the largest nursing question bank – but also the most accurate practice exam for nursing students. 

Detailed Analysis and Rationales on Past Tests


What good is taking a practice test if you don’t know what you did right and wrong? For every test you complete, we give you a detailed analysis of all the questions you got right and wrong, what the correct answers were, and the rationales behind those questions.  Each rationale is highly detailed. 

Alternate Format Questions

SIMCLEX®will provide you with alternate format questions just like the real thing. SATA and image based questions so there are no surprises.

Know EXACTLY What to Study Next

One of the biggest things nursing students have loved about SIMCLEX® is the NCLEX® and Nursing Category analysis of past tests, showing you which sections you did well on, and which ones you should concentrate more of your study time on.

Walk in to NCLEX® feeling fully confident you will pass with the most accurate NCLEX® predictor in the world. 

Learn More About SIMCLEX®

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With Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio RN, PhD and NURSING.com.

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