8 Steps to Conquer the NCLEX: Your Step-by-Step Roadmap to Nursing Success

Prepare confidently for the NCLEX exam with our comprehensive guide. This blog is all you need to know about the NCLEX Exam.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Follow registration instructions meticulously, ensuring accurate information and meeting deadlines.
  • Verify eligibility by fulfilling educational, training, and identification requirements set by nursing regulatory bodies.
  • Familiarise yourself with the NCLEX format, question types, and scoring methods to navigate the test confidently.

8 Steps to Conquer the NCLEX: Your Step-by-Step Roadmap to Nursing Success

  • About the NCLEX Exam
  • Initiate Licensure Application
  • Exam Registration and Payment
    • Online Registration
    • Phone Registration
    • Third-Party Payments
  • Confirmation of Registration
  • Eligibility Verification
  • Authorisation to Test (ATT) Issuance
  • Schedule Your Exam
  • Exam Day Preparation
    • Personal Identification Requirements:
    • Required Identification:
    • Acceptable Forms of Identification:
    • Acceptable Identification for International Test Centers
  • Await Official Results
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs

About the NCLEX Exam

The primary objective of the NCLEX is to assess the fundamental knowledge, skills, and capabilities required for safe and proficient nursing practice at the entry-level. Both the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN are adaptive computerised tests of varying lengths.

The NCLEX examination is conducted on a computer and provides candidates with an on-screen calculator for assistance. 

This test encompasses various question formats and when questions have multiple correct answers, partial credit scoring is implemented, employing three methods: plus/minus, zero/one, and rationale scoring.

The test can consist of anywhere between 85 and 150 items. Irrespective of the number of questions administered, you will be given five hours to complete the examination.

The results of the NCLEX hold significant importance as they guide decisions related to licensure/registration by nursing regulatory bodies (NRBs). 

Initiate Licensure Application

The first step is to complete and submit your licensure/registration application to the nursing regulatory body (NRB) of the jurisdiction in which you intend to obtain your license or registration. It is crucial to adhere to the application deadline specified by the NRB.

Exam Registration and Payment

The next step is to sign up for the NCLEX, you have several registration options available:

Online Registration

Navigate to the NCLEX Candidate website to initiate your registration.

  • During this process, you can conveniently pay your registration fee using a credit, debit, or prepaid card, such as VISA, MasterCard, or American Express.
  • Make sure to have your credit card ready as you begin the registration process.
  • Note that an email address is a mandatory requirement for online registration.

Phone Registration

You can also opt for telephone registration by contacting Pearson VUE NCLEX Candidate Services using the provided phone numbers on the first page of this bulletin.

  • An email address is needed for phone registration.
  • Payment can be made using a valid VISA, MasterCard, or American Express credit, debit, or prepaid card.
  • Before making the call, ensure you have your credit card details on hand, including the cardholder’s name, card number, and expiration date.

Third-Party Payments

If applicable, nursing schools, agencies, or employers can register and handle payment for the NCLEX on behalf of the candidate.

  • To do this, you can either complete a registration for the candidate at the NCLEX website or get in touch with Pearson VUE NCLEX Candidate Services using the provided contact numbers.
  • For third-party payments, accepted payment methods include credit, debit, or prepaid cards such as Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.

Choose the registration method that suits you best, keeping in mind the ease of online or phone registration, and the option for third-party payments if relevant.

Confirmation of Registration

Confirmation of Registration for the NCLEX exam is a pivotal document that solidifies an aspiring nurse’s journey toward taking this critical licensure examination. This confirmation serves as an official acknowledgment that the candidate’s registration for the NCLEX has been successfully processed and accepted.

It affirms their eligibility to take the NCLEX and grants them the much-awaited Authorization to Test (ATT).

Eligibility Verification

The eligibility verification process is meticulously designed to uphold the standards of nursing practice and ensure the safety and competence of future nurses. Nursing regulatory bodies (NRBs) are responsible for overseeing this verification.

Candidates must provide comprehensive documentation to confirm their eligibility. This includes 

  • transcripts from accredited nursing programs, demonstrating the completion of relevant coursework and clinical training
  • Proof of educational equivalence and English language proficiency.
  • Disclose any criminal history or prior disciplinary actions during the application process.

Furthermore, candidates must meet specific application deadlines and comply with administrative procedures. This includes submitting accurate personal information, ensuring name consistency across documents, and fulfilling any financial obligations related to the examination.

Authorisation to Test (ATT) Issuance

Once your nursing regulatory body (NRB) approves your eligibility, you will receive an email containing your Authorization to Test (ATT). It’s crucial to possess your ATT in order to schedule your NCLEX appointment. 

It’s essential that the first and last names on your identification document match precisely with the names you provided during registration, as stated in your ATT. Failure to have accurate name matching will result in denial of entry to the exam, necessitating re-registration and payment of an additional exam fee.

Your ATT email includes important information:

  • Authorization Number
  • Candidate Identification Number
  • Expiration Date of your ATT

The ATT remains valid for a period predetermined by the NRB, typically around 90 days. Upon being deemed eligible by the NRB and receiving your ATT via email, it’s essential to complete your test within the specified validity dates of the ATT. It’s important to note that the validity dates of the ATT cannot be extended under any circumstances. 

If you miss the testing window provided by your ATT, you will be required to re-register and submit another examination fee.

Schedule Your Exam

For those taking the test for the first time, an appointment will be made available within 30 days from the point of scheduling either through a call or online. Repeat test-takers, on the other hand, will be able to secure an appointment after 45 days.

It’s important to adhere to appointment commitments and scheduling protocols:

Failing to appear for your examination appointment or neglecting to reschedule/unscheduled within the stipulated notice period will result in the forfeiture of your examination fee (along with any applicable scheduling fee) and invalidation of your ATT.

In such cases, you will need to re-register and make a fresh examination fee payment.

Non-participation in the examination will be documented as a case report in your registration records, visible to your NRB.

Remember, securing a testing appointment can become challenging due to the rapid filling of test centres, often due to high demand and pre-planned special events. Delaying the scheduling of your test might limit your options for selecting suitable dates.

Exam Day Preparation

When preparing for your NCLEX exam day, it’s essential to adhere to strict identification requirements to ensure a smooth and secure examination process. Here’s what you need to know about identification and what to bring to the test site:

Personal Identification Requirements:

The NCLEX exam is very important, and to ensure it’s fair and secure, strict security measures are used. These measures include specific rules about how candidates need to prove their identity.

Required Identification:

When you arrive at the test centre, you will need to present one form of acceptable identification. Importantly, this identification must match the first and last names you provided during registration. 

Failure to match these names exactly will result in being turned away, requiring re-registration and the payment of another examination fee. If you paid an additional international scheduling fee, it will also be forfeited.

Acceptable Forms of Identification:

All forms of identification must be valid and fulfil the following criteria:

  • Government-issued
  • Non-expired
  • Physical (Non-digital)
  • Name in Roman characters
  • Recent photograph
  • Signature

Acceptable Identification for International Test Centers 

For international test centres, the only acceptable identification is a passport book or card.

Await Official Results

To ensure accuracy, every NCLEX exam is subjected to a dual-scoring process. Initially, the computer at the test centre scores the test, followed by a verification of the results once the examination record is transmitted to Pearson VUE.

The release of examination results is solely under the authority of the nursing regulatory bodies (NRBs). These results are dispatched to candidates within a span of up to six weeks after the examination, although this duration can vary across different NRBs. To acquire your results, avoid contacting Pearson VUE NCLEX Candidate Services, the test centre, or NCSBN. Instead, in the event that more than six weeks pass without receipt of your results, reach out to your respective NRB.

For a quicker assessment, you can access “unofficial” results via the quick results service offered through your candidate profile. Please note that this service incurs a minimal fee and is not universally available across all states.


Mastering the NCLEX requires a holistic approach, encompassing thorough preparation, understanding the exam’s structure, meticulous registration, eligibility verification, and readiness for exam day.

With this guide as your compass, embrace the process and trust your preparation. You are on the verge of a significant accomplishment that will shape your nursing career

As you approach the NCLEX, carry with you the confidence that comes from understanding the steps, believing in your capabilities, and knowing that you’re well-equipped to conquer the NCLEX and embark on a rewarding journey in the world of nursing.

You can ace the NCLEX on your first attempt. Wondering how? Check here. 


Q: When should I start preparing for NCLEX?

A: It’s recommended to start preparing for the NCLEX about 2-3 months before your planned exam date.

Q: Can you pass NCLEX on the first attempt?

A: Yes, many individuals successfully pass the NCLEX on their first attempt. Success on the first attempt depends on factors such as thorough preparation, understanding the exam format, and having a strong grasp of nursing concepts.

Q: What is the process of the NCLEX exam?

A: The NCLEX exam process involves Registration, Eligibility Verification, Authorization to Test (ATT), Scheduling the exam, Exam preparation, appearing for the exam and passsing.

Q: What score is passing on NCLEX?

A: The NCLEX does not provide a traditional numeric score. Instead, it uses a pass/fail system based on a computer algorithm that determines whether you have demonstrated the minimum level of competency required to safely and effectively practice as a nurse.

Q: Does 75 questions on NCLEX mean you passed?

A: No, receiving 75 questions on the NCLEX does not necessarily mean you passed. The number of questions you receive is not a reliable indicator of your pass or fail status.

Dr. Akram Ahmad, PhD

Academically.ai is the brainchild of Dr. Akram Ahmad. He has done his PhD from the Faculty of Medicine and Health, the University of Sydney, Australia. He is a self-motivated clinical pharmacist and committed lecturer with over 9 years of teaching and research experience in various subjects of medicine at the leading Universities in Australia, Malaysia, and India.

Dr. Akram is the recipient of prestigious “Best Promising Researcher Award” from the UCSI University (Malaysia). He has also published over 110 papers, book chapters, conference papers including in high-impact journals. In addition to that, he is a reviewer and editorial board member in
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