What is the NCLEX-PN?

The NCLEX-PN is a test administered specifically to candidates seeking licensure as Practical Nurses. Once a practical nurse has made it through his or her coursework, they have to take the NCLEX-PN and pass before they are allowed to seek employment in their field. The coursework can be a one-year program in a vocational or community college that offers it, or minoring in nursing while attending a four-year college for a different degree.

Licensed Practical Nurses, or LPN’s, are one step below Registered Nurses, or RN’s. Nurse’s Aids or Nursing assistants are at the bottom rung, doing most of the grunt work. LPN’s are allowed to do triage work, administer medications, and a few other details CNA’s are not. They generally assist an RN assigned to the wing with details that the RN can’t always get to or need more assistance with than a CNA is allowed to provide.

Why is the NCLEX-PN test required?

Without the NCLEX-PN, LPN’s can not and should not practice anything akin to medicine. There are severe penalties for doing so.

How hard is the NCLEX-PN exam?

Yes the test is fairly tough. But “Practice makes man Perfect”, So just keep on reading and keep on taking different tests for practice.

What is the NCLEX-PN passing score?

Test results have complex structure and it changes, so do not waste your time figuring if you’ll pass or fail. Leave that stress for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). You need to answer at least 85 out of 205 questions in 5 hours. Per every right answers, next question is harder than the previous question. Some time ago, there were 265 questions which 75 needed to be correct, in order to pass.

How to prepare for the NCLEX-PN?

There are ways to get past the test anxiety of taking the NCLEX-PN. While the tried and true method of flashcards is okay, it really only works for memorizing many different kinds of medication, their origins and what they are used for as well their side effects. As for the hands on testing of skills, only practicing every last skill you have learned in class can prepare you for this part of the exam.

Applicants also have to be able to analyze situations from a physiological or psychological point of view and summarize what they see as the answer or potential issue.

Review of all classroom materials, texts, and notes is still the most effective route to rote memory needed to answer parts of the exam. There are many test prep books available for the NCLEX however, and for a few dollars you can buy them from any online bookstore.

You have to be careful that the “cheat” books cover laws in practical nursing for your current state, otherwise you might have some wrong answers on your exam. Most states have some universal policies but there are a few variances from state to state as governed by the Board of Nursing there.

Free NCLEX-PN resources

Certain websites also have test preps for free available to those who need them. One site,, offers the NCLEX-PN review and prep for free. They also have flashcards on the site you can use to help memorize anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and other topics that are likely to appear on the exam. Another free site to help you study is

If you feel you’re not getting enough out of these freebies, you can always cough up $24.95 for a practice exam with the site,

Finally a website that provides both a free practice exam as well as bundles of timed practice tests for a price is designed specifically to assist PN’s in passing the NCLEX-PN.

NCLEX-PN registration

It should be noted, that if your instructors don’t regularly remind you to do so, you must register in advance to take the exam. There’s a fee that has to be paid with your registration; it covers the exam materials and the time the exam administrator spends with the group in the five hours of testing that’s allowed and, in some instances, part or all of your license if you pass. If you miss your first registration opportunity you only have a limited amount of time to take the exam before all of your nursing education becomes null and void. It is vital to your patients and your job that your education is current, and even after you have your license you will be required to continue updating your education annually. With all of the advancements in the medical field it’s understandable why this is law.

Of course, all of the above boils down to your education. In nursing, the requirements for graduation are becoming more strict in order to ensure that nothing but the best graduates from all of the nursing programs out there and patients are getting nothing but the best of care because of it. Hospitals and clinics are looking for the top of the class, not the bottom. If you barely pass your courses and somehow skim through the licensure exam, your chances of employment are going to be tight. You cannot take practical nursing or registered nursing lightly; it’s a very serious and intense career choice. Even if you meet a couple times a week to review with your fellow practical nursing candidates will make all the difference in whether or not you pass or fail the NCLEX-PN exam. Whatever path you choose to take to study for licensure, it is up to you to find out what works best.

View NCLEX-PN sample questions here.

Related Article:
NCLEX-RN For Registered Nurse Licensure

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