NCLEX score range

Studying for the NCLEX is stressful but worrying about whether or not you will pass can be even more stressful. In order to officially practice and work as a nurse you must pass the NCLEX exam. Of course that leads to the question of what score you need to pass the NCLEX? To understand the NCLEX score range you have to first understand how the exam is scored.


The NCLEX will not give you a numerical value after taking the exam. You either get a pass or a fail. It seems a little harsh but I think it makes the exam a little less stressful not having a glaring 79% if you needed 80% to pass staring at you.. The NCLEX is scored by the computer as you are taking your test. The number of questions that you are asked range from 75-265 questions for the RN exam and 85-205 for the PN exam. The questions will get progressively more difficult as you are answering them. The first few questions you will be asked will be the easy ones, if you are mastering them then the computer confirms your mastery and bumps you up to a higher level of questions. This continues throughout the exam until the computer shuts itself off.

Why the exam shuts down

There are three reasons why your exam will turn off. You have reached the five hour time limit. You have answered and demonstrated that you have passed the exam and you have answered questions demonstrating that you have failed the exam. Of course the goal is to pass but if you do fail you can register and take the exam again. The second time around you will have a better idea of what to expect and where to focus your studying.

Finding out your score

Your exam is finished, the computer turned off and now you want to know what your score it. Unfortunately you get to stress out since the score is not immediate. Scores will be mailed to you from the Board of Registration of Nursing from your state about 6 weeks after completing the exam. Thankfully many states offer a quick view way of finding out your score 48 hours after you finished your exam. That means that you will obsessively check the website from the time you take the test until your score is posted in the hopes of finding out your score as soon as possible.