The NCLEX-RN is a computer-adaptive test (CAT), which means each question you answer correctly determines the difficulty of the next question, as well as the overall number of questions you will answer. For this reason, there are anywhere between 75 and 145 questions on the NCLEX-RN. There are 15 pretest questions embedded in the total number of questions.

Pretest questions are used to determine the usefulness of such items in future iterations of the exam, which means they are not scored. However, you will not be able to tell the difference between scored questions and unscored pretest questions, so do the best you can on each consecutive question.

Questions will cease once it is determined with 95 percent accuracy that you have answered enough questions correctly or incorrectly to fall above or below the standard for passing the exam. The standard for passing the NCLEX-RN is variable and changes every three years. You must perform above the passing standard on the test in order to pass.

NCLEX-RN Exam Outline

There will be somewhere between 55 and 150 questions on the exam. No matter how many questions you answer, the percentage breakdown of questions by content area will be more or less as follows:

  • Management of Care: 15%-21% of questions
  • Safety and Infection Control: 10%-16% of questions
  • Health Promotion and Maintenance: 6%-12% of questions
  • Psychosocial Integrity: 6%-12% of questions
  • Basic Care and Comfort: 6%-12% of questions
  • Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies: 13%-19% of questions
  • Reduction of Risk Potential: 9%-15% of questions
  • Physiological Adaptation: 11%-17% of questions