How to Become Eligible for the Nclex-Rn

Written by eric feigenbaum
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How to Become Eligible for the Nclex-Rn
Becoming a nurse means passing the NCLEX-RN exam. (lovely doctor 2 image by Paul Moore from

The NCLEX-RN is a nursing examination unique to the United States. This dynamic computer-administrated exam changes the difficulty of the questions based on the examinee's answers. Correct answers are met with more difficult questions and the exam runs until a potential nurse answers enough difficult questions to pass. Incorrect answers are met with easier questions and too many incorrect answers results in a failing grade. In order to qualify for this challenging exam, potential nurses have to go through the license-application and exam-registration processes.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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  1. 1

    Graduate from an accredited nursing school with a degree suitable for registered nursing. If you graduated from a foreign school, you will need your credentials evaluated by one of the professional foreign-nurse-credentialing services such as CGNFS or IERF. Check with the nursing board of the state in which you wish to work to find out which credential services' reports it accepts.

  2. 2

    Apply to your state nursing board for licensure by examination. Each state has its own application procedures, but some of the more common ones include submitting fingerprints for a background check, ordering official transcripts from your nursing school and paying application fees.

  3. 3

    Receive your Authorization To Test from the nursing board. Until you have this important document, you cannot register for the NCLEX-RN exam. Check the time window the ATT gives you. Most states limit your testing window to 30 to 90 days per ATT. If you do not use the ATT in this time, you will have to resubmit your application.

  4. 4

    Visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website for updated information on the NCLEX-RN, testing procedures and how to use your ATT to arrange an exam. Rules change from time to time, so always make sure you have the current year's bulletin.

  5. 5

    Register for your examination from Pearson VUE, the company which administers the computerised testing. They accept registration on their website, by phone or by mail. They will need the information on your ATT to be able to book you a testing date. Pearson charges fees separately from boards of nursing.

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