A Comprehensive Guide to the NCLEX-RN Exam: Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Marking Scheme, Duration, Best Books, Eligibility Criteria, and More

Want Abroad RN job, you must know about this exam..


12/19/20232 min read

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The NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses) is a standardized exam that determines whether an individual is ready to begin practicing as an entry-level nurse in the United States and Canada. In this article, we will provide you with a detailed overview of the NCLEX-RN exam, including the exam pattern, syllabus, marking scheme, duration, best books, eligibility criteria, and the process to obtain an RN license in different countries.

Exam Pattern

The NCLEX-RN exam is a computerized adaptive test (CAT) that consists of multiple-choice questions. The number of questions can vary, but the minimum is 75 and the maximum is 265. The exam is designed to adapt to the test-taker's ability level, meaning that the difficulty of the questions will increase or decrease based on the test-taker's responses. The exam is divided into four major categories: Safe and Effective Care Environment, Health Promotion and Maintenance, Psychosocial Integrity, and Physiological Integrity.


The NCLEX-RN syllabus covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to: Basic care and comfort, Pharmacological and parenteral therapies, Reduction of risk potential, Physiological adaptation, Psychosocial integrity, and Health promotion and maintenance. It is essential for test-takers to have a thorough understanding of these topics in order to succeed in the exam.

Marking Scheme and Duration

The NCLEX-RN exam does not follow a traditional marking scheme. Instead, it uses a computerized adaptive testing algorithm to determine the test-taker's ability level. The duration of the exam can vary, but it typically takes around 6 hours to complete.

Best Books

Preparing for the NCLEX-RN exam requires comprehensive study materials. Some of the highly recommended books for NCLEX-RN preparation include Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination, Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN, and Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment: Practice Exercises for the NCLEX Examination.

Countries that Require NCLEX for RN Licensure

In addition to the United States and Canada, several other countries require the NCLEX-RN exam for RN licensure. These countries include Australia, New Zealand, and several countries in the Middle East. It is important to check the specific requirements of the country where you plan to practice nursing.

Eligibility Criteria and Process

The eligibility criteria for the NCLEX-RN exam vary depending on the state or province where you plan to practice. Generally, you must have completed a nursing program and obtained a nursing degree or diploma. The process to register for the exam involves submitting an application, paying the exam fee, and scheduling a test date. It is important to review the specific requirements of the state or province where you plan to practice for detailed information.

Documents Required

When applying for the NCLEX-RN exam, you will typically be required to provide certain documents, including your nursing degree or diploma, transcripts, proof of identity, and proof of English language proficiency (if applicable). It is important to carefully review the documentation requirements provided by the licensing board or regulatory body.


The NCLEX-RN exam is a crucial step in obtaining an RN license and beginning your nursing career. Understanding the exam pattern, syllabus, marking scheme, duration, and other important details will help you prepare effectively. Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria, gather the required documents, and follow the registration process to successfully take the exam. With thorough preparation and dedication, you can increase your chances of passing the NCLEX-RN exam and embarking on a rewarding nursing career.