LPN Examination (NCLEX PN) Tips

National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is responsible for preparing and administering NCLEX (which is an acronym of National Council Licensure EXamination) on behalf of member states. All US states are member of this nonprofit organization. NCSBN facilitates a platform for state BONs to discuss and develop strategies to address issues affecting the public health, safety and welfare. Development of licensing examinations in nursing is also part of their agenda.

NCLEX is a test administered nationwide to entry-level nurses after completion of their training programs. NCLEX has been developed to test competence of licensed practical nurses and registered nurses upon completion of their training program. Registered nurses (RN) take NCLEX RN where as licensed practical nurses (LPN) take NCLEX PN. Passing NCLEX PN exam is mandatory to obtain license and practice nursing in all states.

NCLEX PN is computer based examination, which is also called CAT (computer adaptive testing). The exam assesses LPN students’ clinical knowledge in general. The exam questions may be focused on the following topics:

  • Safe Effective Care Environment
  • Coordinated Care
  • Safety and Infection Control
  • Health Promotion and Maintenance
  • Psychosocial Integrity
  • Physiological Integrity
  • Basic Care and Comfort
  • Pharmacological Therapies
  • Reduction of Risk Potential
  • Physiological Adaptation
  • Psychiatric

NCLEX PN Exam Passing Rate

Here is NCSBN’s NCLEX PN exam passing rates for 2010. The data also include passing rates of international students from countries like Canada, South Korea, India, Philippines, Nigeria, etc

Jan-Mar 2010
Apr-Jun 2010
Jul-Sep 2010
Oct-Dec 2010
Year to Date Total
US Educated
First Time 15,099 86.28% 13,926 85.19% 22,954 89.13% 51,979 87.44%
Repeat 3,211 41.58% 3,569 39.56% 3,290 37.33% 10,070 38.932%
Internationally Educated
First Time 216 42.13% 250 52.40% 223 46.19% 689 46.92%
Repeat 267 20.22% 261 23.75% 207 14.49% 735 18.23%
All Candidates 18,793 77.19% 18,006 74.80% 26,674 81.80% 63,473 78.91%

You can also download the pdf version from NCSBN website.

Tips for Passing NCLEX with Good Score

Here is your first tip straight from NCSBN:

As of 2010, the NCLEX is focusing a lot on how to delegate and prioritize as well as infection control.

If you have done your home work properly, NCLEX is a manageable exam. Try to study towards full comprehension of each topic’s concept rather than memorizing questions and their pattern. The exam engine is as good as the questions. It presents you with questions based on your performance while answering the questions. Timing is also very important. The faster you go through questions, the better your chance will be to complete all questions and at the same time it helps you maintain your composure throughout the exam session. Most important: try to answer each question in one minute.

When you study for the exam, take the extra mile and try to develop analytical thinking about each topic rather than straight question and answer pattern. The more you do this kind of exercise, the more you improve your answering speed. NCLEX is more of a practical exam.

You need to practice answering questions on simulated exam environment to eliminate some surprises. Try to increase your answering stamina by attempting the exact number of question just like in the exam within the allotted time and slowly try to increase the number of questions and reduce your answering time. This practice will make your mind stay resilient during the exam session.

You can also find more advice and tips on the exam here .


Last Modified: 02 Feb 2012