An NCLEX pass rate is different from other standardized tests because there is no percentage grade. The score doesn’t matter because the test is all about either passing or failing it. You won’t also be given a percentile range. In other words, it’s more than counting up the number of your correct answers. Instead, you need to prove that you’ve met the overall competency required to become a licensed nurse.
Therefore, it’s important for you to know how you are scored so you will have an idea on how to prepare for the exam. Now, let’s discuss the test format first for us to understand the NCLEX scoring.
What Is the Testing Format of the NCLEX?
The NCLEX uses computer-adaptive testing (CAT) for both NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN. As the name implies, it’s a method that is computer-adaptive, which means you’ll get different questions according to how you answered the previous questions.
For example, if you answered a question incorrectly, then the next question would be easier. On the other hand, if you answered a question correctly, then the next question would be harder. The test goes on until it has determined your ability.
How is the NCLEX Scored?
Given that the CAT technology tailors the types of questions based on your current ability level, then it’s understandable why it doesn’t use the standard scoring. Instead, it uses an NCLEX scoring mechanism that compares your ability level in answering questions to the difficulty of the questions. The score you receive after the test is called “logit” which is the unit measurement used in identifying your ability level.
In other words, the more difficult the questions you’re getting, the higher the logit score you’ll possibly get. As of recently, the passing logit score according to NCSBN is 0.00. What does this imply? This means that you have to answer difficult questions correctly for at least 50% of the time in order to pass.
What Is the Rule for Passing?
The rule used in NCLEX is called the confidence interval that is used to determine your logit score. How does it work? The confidence interval will figure out whether or not you have demonstrated the required competency for you to be a licensed nurse.
You won’t really be able to figure out how long the test will be because it will continue in giving you questions until it has determined that your nursing competency is above the NCLEX passing standard.
Perhaps, you’ve encountered articles saying the number of questions is 75 or 265. These are the minimum and the maximum number of questions, but you won’t be able to figure out how many questions you’ll answer. The test continues until the system is 95% confident of your ability level.
There are other rules for passing the NCLEX and they the maximum length exam and the run-out-of-time rule (1).
What Does it Mean to Pass the NCLEX?
The logit point of 0.00 is the threshold point between the non-competent and the competent test-taker. This means that if you’re in the positive range, then you pass. If you’re on the negative range, then you fail.
However, there are testing scenarios that can still make you pass even without proving that you’re more competent than the NCLEX passing standard.
- You answered the minimum number of questions and ran out of time, but your competency level has been consistently above the passing standard when the last 60 questions you answered were considered.
- You answered the maximum number of questions and achieved the desired competency level with a positive score even if such a number had not been significantly more than the 0.00 threshold point.
What Does It Mean to Fail the NCLEX?
If your competency level is significantly lower than the standard NCLEX pass rates, then it means you failed the licensure exam. There are other testing scenarios that entail you didn’t pass.
- You answered the maximum number of questions, but your competency level had been below the passing standard after finishing the test. On the other hand, if you didn’t answer all the questions because you ran out of testing time and your competency level is also below the passing standard considering the last 60 questions you answered, then you failed.
- You failed to answer the minimum number of questions which is a total of 75 questions (a combination of 15 experimental items and 60 real-scored items) within the test period.
How to Prepare for the NCLEX?
There are a lot of ways on how to prepare for the NCLEX, but the best ways to get ready are the following:
- Use a high-yield NCLEX question bank such as the one provided by NCSBN (2).
- Allot more time to prepare for the NCLEX exam, so you have more time to master your critical thinking skills.
- Track your performance as you prep, so you will know which areas you need to focus on.
The NCLEX test can be hard if you are not ready, which is why we always encourage everybody to prep in a comprehensive manner. This includes familiarizing the NCLEX scoring method so you’ll know what you can do to ensure higher logit points.
Are you now ready for the NCLEX? Help your nursing pals to know more about the ideal NCLEX passing score by sharing this article with them!