In order to become a licensed vocational nurse, it is necessary to pass the national certification exam known as the NCLEX-PN, or National Council Licensure Examination. One must register with the state nursing board in order to take the exam, as ultimately your score will be reported to them. Visiting the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website will allow you to see where the test is offered in your area and give you background information on the test itself, along with preparation and study strategies. For the most part, the exam consists of multiple choice questions with four choices, though lately they have been experimenting with different test formats. The exam is administered via computer at a national chain of testing centers. It may also be taken abroad if you are outside of the United States. The test requires a nonrefundable fee of two hundred dollars.


Essentially, certification is a multi-step process. Starting with application to the state nursing board, one must then register for the NCLEX at a testing center via internet, phone, or mail. Once confirmation is given by the board, the next step is to schedule the exam within one year's time. After taking the exam, the results are usually known within about a month. The state nursing board will receive your scores and then pass the information along to you along with your certification if you have been successful.

The Exam

Because the test is given on a computer, it is able to calculate your results while you are still taking the test. It adapts to your answers by making the next question harder or easier depending on whether or not you answered the last question correctly. While this sounds confusing, what you really need to know is simple. The test will only run as long as is needed to be ninety-five percent certain that you either pass or fail. As such, the exam can be as short as eighty five questions or as long as two hundred and five. Regardless, just take your time and focus on the question in front of you and you should do just fine.

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