Male nurse on telemedicine in his office

The NCLEX is designed to challenge even the most prepared student, and many people find that it requires intense study and preparation in order to pass.

The NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN are both comprehensive examinations that test the following areas of focus:

  • safe and effective care environment
  • health promotion & maintenance
  • psychosocial integrity
  • physiological integrity

The tests are designed to assess the competency of the test-taker and ensure that they are prepared to practice safely and effectively in the field. The questions are multiple-choice and are designed to assess the test-taker's ability to apply their knowledge in a clinical setting.

Is the NCLEX hard?

The difficulty of the exam varies depending on the individual test-taker's performance. It is important to be aware that the CAT is designed to challenge the test-taker, so be prepared for questions of varying difficulty. Additionally, the CAT is designed to measure critical thinking and the application of knowledge to new situations. Therefore, it is important to practice problem-solving and critical thinking skills in order to be successful on the exam. Additionally, it is important to be familiar with the exam format and the types of questions that will be asked in order to be best prepared for the exam.

Comprehending the NCLEX

The NCLEX is designed to assess the skills and abilities necessary for safe and effective entry-level nursing practice. The CAT format of the exam allows it to adjust to the test-taker's performance, providing questions that are tailored to their level of knowledge. The exam is based on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) test plan, which outlines the topics and content that are covered in the exam. This test plan is regularly updated to ensure that the NCLEX is up-to-date with the latest advances in nursing practice.

How Hard is the NCLEX?

NCLEX's difficulty can fluctuate among test-takers but is generally regarded as a formidable examination. It scrutinizes your aptitude for critical thinking, application of nursing acumen, and formulation of safe and efficacious decisions within a clinical context. Several factors contribute to its perceived complexity:

  • Diverse Content: The NCLEX spans an extensive array of nursing topics, encompassing pharmacology, medical-surgical nursing, pediatric nursing, obstetrics, mental health, nursing theory, and clinical practice. Proficiency across these domains is essential for success.
  • Critical Thinking: The NCLEX appraises your capacity to analyze intricate situations, prioritize care, and make swift decisions. It necessitates more than mere memorization, demanding the application of knowledge in real-life scenarios, including questions requiring you to prioritize patient care, assess situations, and make decisions under pressure.
  • Computerized Format and Adaptive Testing: Its CAT structure adjusts the question difficulty based on your responses, intensifying the challenge as you answer correctly. This adaptability can heighten the difficulty as the test tailors itself to your performance.
  • High Stakes: Attaining a passing score on the NCLEX is a prerequisite for obtaining a nursing license in the United States and certain other countries. The high stakes associated with this examination contribute to the pressure and perceived difficulty.
  • Time Constraint: The NCLEX imposes a time limit, which can induce stress in some test-takers. Efficient time management is crucial for completing all questions within the allocated timeframe. 

To enhance your likelihood of success on the NCLEX, comprehensive preparation is indispensable. In addition, you'll want to utilize The Princeton Review's NCLEX-RN QBank and free resources. Familiarity with the exam format and practice with sample questions can enhance your comfort with the test-taking process.

Is the NCLEX hard? Undoubtedly, the NCLEX poses a formidable challenge. Nevertheless, with The Princeton Review's guaranteed resources and a dedicated study plan, you can bolster your prospects for success. Keep in mind that thorough preparation is pivotal as this will enable you to amass the knowledge and confidence necessary to conquer the NCLEX and embark on your nursing career. Best of luck on your journey towards becoming a licensed nurse!


How hard is NCLEX
Is NCLEX really that hard