With the ongoing pandemic, a common question among aspiring registered nurses is: Is the NCLEX-RN changing in 2020?
Social distancing and other precautionary measures put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention required the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to implement and evaluate changes to the NCLEX examination.
The NCLEX or the National Council Licensure Examination is the nationwide licensure exam for aspiring Registered Nurses and Practical Nurses in the United States, Canada, and starting last 2020, Australia.
Everyone who wishes to practice the profession of nursing in these countries must pass this examination. With our current global health situation, the demand for nurses continues to be as strong as ever.
Preparing for the exams is not only about the theoretical and clinical knowledge a candidate has. You also need to be familiar with how the exam is structured.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCSBN has carefully tested modifications to the NCLEX examinations.
To make sure the exam continues to be reliable and legally defensible, the NCSBN repeatedly tested the modified exam against historical NCLEX results. They confirmed that the modifications and live exam results proved to be consistent with the standard examination and they did not find any negative impacts on the results or the candidate’s testing experiences.
The current modifications expired on September 30, 2020. The NCLEX exams will retain some of the characteristics of the modified exam while bringing back some essential aspects of the exam that were previously deferred because of the pandemic.
The NCLEX Test Plans and the passing standard will remain the same, and the exam will continue to use CAT or Computer Adaptive Testing.
Starting from October 1, 2020, the NCSBN will implement the following modifications to both the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN examinations:
- Pretest items will be brought back. Each candidate will get 15 pretest items in their exam.
- The minimum number of scored items will be 60 while the maximum will be 30.
- Given this, due to the addition of the 15 pretest items, the exam will be 75 items at the shortest and 145 items at the longest.
- Each candidate will be given five hours to complete the exam.
- The current Run Out Of Time (R.O.O.T.) scoring rule will no longer apply since there are changes to the testing time and the maximum exam length.
- The final ability estimate will be computed from the responses to all completed items. All candidates who score above the passing standard will pass, otherwise, the exam will be scored as a fail.
- NCSBN will also reintroduce the voluntary NGN Special Research Section. All candidates are encouraged to participate as this research is important in improving the nursing profession.
- Instead of the existing NCLEX Tutorial, candidates will have a general guide and test-taking tips. Candidates are all strongly encouraged to take the online tutorial so they can practice the item types before their scheduled exam.
With proper guidance for the new changes to the NCLEX examinations that started last October 2020, you can be better prepared to take the exam and receive your nursing license.