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NCLEX Scoring in 2022: Everything You Need To Know

Are you ready to conquer the National Council Licensure ExaminationⓇ (NCLEX)? While this exam may seem intimidating, all you need are the proper study tools and information to pass on your first try. If you’re feeling concerned about how you’ll do on the NCLEXⓇ, let’s put your mind at ease with the information you need to know regarding NCLEX scoring in 2022. 

What You Need to Know About the NCLEX 

Let’s start with what type of exam this is! The NCLEX is used to determine your knowledge and skills (or your nursing ability) for entry-level nursing. The exam itself uses computerized adaptive testing (CAT), which is a fancy way of saying tailored testing. Basically, it adapts to re-estimate your ability to answer the next question using your performance on all previously answered questions. Unfortunately, that also means once a question is submitted, you can no longer return to it.

There are a total of three pass or fail rules the computer has: 

  • The 95% rule: When taking your test, if the computer has determined with 95% confidence that you passed or failed at the minimum question mark, your test will end. 
  • The maximum-length rule: If your performance is too close to the passing standard, you’ll have to answer the maximum amount of questions–which is currently 145 questions on the NCLEX.
  • The run-out-of-time rule: The computer can’t determine pass or fail if you don’t answer the minimum amount of questions. If you’ve answered the minimum, the computer will determine an estimate (based on your previous answers) called the final ability estimate which will then determine if you pass or fail. For the 2022 NCLEX, don’t worry about this rule. It’s no longer applicable due to the change in exam length on Oct. 1, 2020.

How the 2022 NCLEX is Scored

The NCLEX is scored using dichotomous scoring, so you can either pass or fail the exam. Currently, to pass the NCLEX-RN, the standard is 0.00 logits–or answer questions correctly at least 50% of the time. The NCLEX-PN standard is -0.18 logits. Logits are measurements used to determine the differences between your nursing ability and question difficulty. 

Since the NCLEX is pass or fail, there is not a “good score range” you should aim for. Instead, aim to create a method of attack for each NCLEX question so you can pass confidently and on your first try!

Types of Questions to Expect On the 2022 NCLEX

The typical NCLEX has a maximum of 265 questions. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the length has been altered. The NCLEX in 2022 has 15 pretest questions and a maximum length of 145 questions. You’ll also have a total of 5 hours to complete the exam.

On the 2022 NCLEX, the current item types (or questions) are: multiple choice, fill in the blank, view chart or exhibit items to answer, ordered response, and graphic items. If you need a strategy to tackle any NCLEX question, read these top three tips.

If you just need a quick guide to NCLEX questions, read our 2022 NCLEX questions blog. 

Ways to Prepare For Your NCLEX Exam

Before you get exam day jitters, let’s review some of the measures you can take to make sure you’re as prepared as possible. 

As a nursing student, you’ll probably consider getting your most useful information from reviewing course materials, exams, and old notes. However, there are additional tools out there to help you specifically study and prepare for the NCLEX. Picmonic, for example, is a helpful study tool that guarantees you’ll pass the NCLEX! Using wacky, fun picture mnemonics, Picmonic can give you an educational, yet fun study experience.

Also, be sure to remember that the NCLEX is a long exam! There’s no doubt that you’ll need to be strategic in pacing yourself in your plan, but you’ll also need to take timely breaks to give your brain a breather. For the day of, avoid these exam day mistakes.

How to Pass the 2022 NCLEX Exam

I know what you’re thinking, completing the NCLEX is a huge milestone and you’d rather pass it sooner rather than later. However, while you put your NCLEX preparations in place, remember you have a total of eight attempts in the calendar year. 

If that seems like a lot, don’t worry, you most likely won’t need to take all eight attempts to pass. In 2021, nursing school students and graduates in the United States had a pass rate of 82.48%! That’s why you should follow these six steps to help you pass on your first try. 

2023 Scoring Changes: What to Expect for Next Generation NCLEX (NGN)

The NCLEX passing standard is re-evaluated every three years by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NSCBN). There are upcoming changes to the exam itself and the passing standard in the next year we want to prepare all nursing students for. 

In April of 2023, the NSCBN will launch a new version of the NCLEX called the Next Generation NCLEX or Next Gen NCLEX.

So, how is the scoring changing for the Next Gen NCLEX? As we mentioned earlier, the 2022 NCLEX currently uses dichotomous scoring. However, the 2023 NCLEX will extend to polytomous scoring. That means if you answer a question partially correct, you can potentially earn credit for it!

Partial credit will be assigned in three different ways:

  1. +/- scoring: You can receive a point for a correct response but lose a point for an incorrect one. For example, if you have a “select all that apply” question and select three correct answers and one wrong answer, you’ll earn two partial credit points.
  2. 0/1 scoring: You can receive a point for correct responses but won’t lose points for incorrect ones. 
  3. All or nothing scoring: You can either earn one credit point or none. This would apply to two-part drag and drop questions in the Next Gen exam.

There will also be new additions to the existing questions on the exam. New questions on the 2023 NCLEX will be all about determining your clinical judgment. You’ll see case studies and standalone judgment questions using real-world scenarios. You will have a minimum of three of these scored case studies (18 questions) that are static–meaning your questions won’t change according to your previous performance. 

And finally, the Next Generation NCLEX will be 135 questions with a minimum of 70 questions. You’ll still have five hours to complete the exam at your pace. 

Whether you’re taking the exam in 2022 or 2023, you’re bound to pass! Just make sure you use the right tips and tools to crush the NCLEX. You got this, and good luck. 

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