LPN - NCLEX-PN Test Guide

LPN - NCLEX-PN Test Summary
Who: Candidates for licensure as a licensed practical nurse
Where: PearsonVUE test centers nationwide
When: Year round
How: The exam uses multiple choice, fill in the blank and drag and drop answer formats.
Type: Computer-adaptive
Why: The exam is required by every state for nurses to become licensed and use the LPN designation.
Time: Five hours
Language: English
Preparation: Many different study guides can be found in our NCLEX-PN directory.
Cost: $200 exam fee

By: Erin Hasinger, Tests.com


All practical nurses are required to become licensed by the state in which they wish to work. The NCLEX-PN is the exam used by each state to determine who can become licensed and use the licensed practical nurse, or LPN, designation.


Developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the NCLEX-PN is open to those who have completed a nursing education program and who have met all requirements determined by their home state. Each state has its own requirements, so all candidates for the LPN exam should check with their state board of nursing to be sure they qualify to take the exam.


The NCLEX-PN is a computer-adaptive exam, which means that the exam content is determined on an individual basis, and each successive question is selected for the particular test taker depending on their performance on the previous question. The exam is different for every candidate, and may include anywhere from 85 to 205 test questions. Twenty-five of these are pretest items that do not count toward one’s score. The final number of test questions depends on how many test items it takes for one to earn a passing score, though no candidate will be asked more than 205 questions. Five hours are given for the exam.


The exam covers four categories:


     -     Safe and Effective Care Environment, including Coordinated Care (12-18 percent of

           questions) and Safety and Infection Control (8-14 percent)

     -     Health Promotion and Maintenance (7-13 percent)

     -     Psychosocial Integrity (8-14 percent)

     -     Physiological Integrity, including Basic Care and Comfort (11-17 percent),

           Pharmacological Therapies (9-15 percent), Reduction of Risk Potential (10-16  

           percent),  and Physiological Adaptation (11-17 percent)


To register for the exam, candidates must contact both their state board of nursing and PearsonVUE, the national test administrator. First, test candidates must apply to their state board, who will determine each nursing candidate’s eligibility to test. They must register for the exam through PearsonVUE, either online at pearsonvue.com, over the phone or through the mail. During registration, all candidates are required to pay a $200 exam registration fee. Once a test candidate has been approved to test by both their state board of nursing and PearsonVUE, they will receive an Authorization to Test letter in the mail. The Authorization to Test provides instructions on scheduling the exam, and also serves as one’s admission ticket on test day.


Exams may be scheduled directly through PearsonVUE. Test are given year-round at PearsonVUE exam centers, which can be found in every US state and territory.


Score reports are issued by the state board of nursing about one month following the test. Some states use the Quick Results Service and can, for a fee, make unofficial score reports available approximately 48 hours after the test. All candidates will receive an official score report a month following the exam.


For those candidates who do not pass the exam, retakes are available. Depending on one’s state’s requirements, test takers must wait either 45 or 90 days before applying to test again. Candidates must apply both to their state board and PearsonVUE to retest, and the $200 fee must be paid again.


To find more on the NCLEX-PN and to find materials to help you prepare for the exam, visit the NCLEX-PN Test Directory.


Sources: National Council of the State Boards of Nursing; PearsonVUE