What to Expect at a National Council Licensure Exam for LPNs

You have finished your training program and done well. You're looking forward to getting your license and applying for LPN jobs. You have registered for the National Council Licensure Exam for LPNís (NCLEX-PN). Just what can you expect on exam day?

There is a whole set of procedures in place to insure fairness to the candidates, a standard of testing and protocol across the nation, and test measures to assure honesty in testing from the test givers and the test takers.

The day of the exam, have a form of identification such as a driverís license or passport and your ATT (authorization to test) letter. Plan to arrive about thirty minutes before the exam. You will sign your name, provide a palm vein scan, and have your fingerprint and a photograph taken. The exam will be on a computer and the testing assistant will give you a short tutorial. You have six hours to take the exam, several scheduled breaks, and a procedure in place for unscheduled breaks.

There are rules for the day, and if you do not follow the rules, you will be escorted out of the premises. Rules involve things such as not bringing educational or test prep material to the site. Do not use your cell phone or text even during the breaks. Do not discuss the test items in a specific way with anyone or post information on the Internet. Be cooperative and have good manners. Testing centers often have lockers where you place your items before entering the computer room. Food and beverage or medication needs may be addressed during the breaks, but make sure you receive permission. Most centers provide an erasable note board and marker once in the testing room. The teaching assistant will monitor the entire time, and often audio and video monitoring is going on as well.

Once finished, there will be a short survey. Your test will be scored twice for correct answers. No results are given at the test center. Your official scores will come from the state board of nursing and will be mailed to you in about a month from your testing date. Unofficially, there is a service number one can call to obtain an estimate of your score. The exam can be retaken if the score is not what you hoped.

Be relaxed, be confident, and know you are ready for this next step in your career to be an LPN.

Last Updated: 05/22/2014

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