This information is direct from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), associated with Pearson Vue, and therefore is official information regarding the NCLEX.

Can a candidate skip questions?

No. Candidates have to answer a question in order to move onto the next question.

Is it true that candidates who receive the minimum number of items and the last item is “easy” will fail the examination?

Candidates cannot reliably identify which items are easy and which are difficult with regard to the NCLEX scale. At the end of an examination, a candidate is usually receiving items that they have approximately a 50% chance of answering correctly. The candidate’s sense of what is easy and what is difficult is relative to their ability. Because the examination is adaptive, both high and low ability candidates will think the items at the end of the exam are challenging.

If a candidate fails with 75 items, does this mean they did very poorly?

This means that it took only the minimum number of items for the scoring algorithm to determine with 95% certainty that the candidate’s nursing ability was below the passing standard.

When candidates retake the exam do they start at the same difficulty/ability level “where they left off” from the previous examination?

No. The NCLEX uses computerized adaptive testing (CAT) to administer the items. Initially, everyone is administered an item with a relatively low difficulty level, and his/her progression on the exam from that point onward depends on their performance.

Are candidates randomly selected to receive maximum length examinations?

No. Items are administered following the principles of CAT. Candidates are NOT randomly selected to receive a designated number of examination items. As a candidate takes the examination, items are selected based on the candidate’s response to previous items. The exam ends when it can be determined with 95% confidence that a candidate’s performance is either above or below the passing standard, regardless of the number of items answered or the amount of testing time elapsed (six-hour maximum time period for the NCLEX-RN and five hour maximum time period for the NCLEX-PN).

On the Candidate Performance Report (CPR), what does “Near the Passing Standard” mean statistically?

“Near the Passing Standard” means a particular candidate’s ability estimate is not clearly above or clearly below the passing standard in a content area.

Why do candidates only get performance reports if they fail?

The NCLEX is designed as a screening tool used to identify candidates that can demonstrate that their nursing ability is sufficient to be competent in practice. Providing more detailed feedback for candidates who fail is done in an attempt to help the candidate direct their remediation strategies. Providing feedback to people who do not need remediation serves no purpose and could be misused by candidates or employers in making employment decisions.

This information is direct from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)

How is the NCLEX scored? NCLEX FAQs for 2018