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What Is NCLEX?

Entry into the practice of nursing in the United States and its territories is regulated by the licensing authorities within each jurisdiction. To ensure public protection, each jurisdiction requires a candidate for licensure to pass an examination that measures the competencies needed to perform safely and effectively as a newly licensed, entry-level registered nurse. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) develops two licensure examinations, the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses and the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses that are used by state and territorial boards of nursing to assist in making licensure decisions.

The groups listed below contribute to the development and administration of the NCLEX examination.

  • Examination Committee
    The committee provides general oversight of the NCLEX examination process, including item development, examination security, psychometrics, examination administration, and quality assurance to ensure consistency with the Member Boards' need for examinations. It approves item development panels and recommends test plans to the Delegate Assembly. The committee will initiate implementation of the international testing plan, including exploration of English-as-a-second language competency. It will review and report the results of the comparison of the equivalency of NCLEX-RN with the Spanish language Puerto Rican nursing licensure examination. Individual committee members will act as chair of the Item Review Subcommittee on a rotating basis.

  • Item Review Subcommittee
    The subcommittee evaluates all RN and PN pretest questions as well as all operational items. It evaluates actual candidate examinations in relation to a variety of criteria. It will provide written reports to the Examination Committee at each business meeting. The subcommittee may also assist the Examination Committee by providing committee representation at item development meetings.

  • NCSBN NCLEX Examinations Staff
    NCSBN NCLEX Examination Staff also contributes to the development and administration of the NCLEX examination by providing psychometric, nursing and operational expertise. The staff consists of the director of the NCLEX Examinations Department, NCLEX Administration Manager, NCLEX Content Manager, Psychometrician and Operations Manager along with other professional staff members. These highly trained individuals coordinate functions among the committees, Boards of Nursing and test service.

  • Test Services Pearson VUE
    NCSBN contracts with Pearson VUE for test development and administration of the NCLEX examinations. NCSBN welcomes Pearson VUE as a partner that has more than 40 years of experience and is a global leader in the industry.
Frequentle asked questions

NCLEX Administration Frequently Asked Questions (RAR 57k)

NCLEX Psychometrics Frequently Asked Questions (RAR 121k)