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Question Types on the NCLEX-RN

I’m sure we can all agree that when preparing for an exam, it is not enough just to know the content on the test. It is also helpful to know what types of questions you will see. This is true on the NCLEX-RN too. While you might think it’s just multiple choice, it’s not! There are several question types on the NCLEX-RN. Knowing how questions will be asked can help you develop strategies to effectively and efficiently answer the questions and pass the test. Here is a look at the questions types on the NCLEX-RN.

Question types on the NCLEX-RN -Magoosh

Multiple Choice/Multiple Response

Multiple choice might be the test question type that you are most familiar with.  If your education has been anything like mine, you’ve been seeing this kind of question since kindergarten. This type of question presents a question or scenario and test takers select the correct answer from those listed that best answers the question.

Multiple response is very similar to multiple choice.  In this kind of test item, the question is presented in a way that asks the test taker to select multiple responses from those given.  Think something like “Select all that apply” or “All of these except.” They aren’t always worded this simply but the fact remains that the test candidate isn’t choosing just one but all the possible answers to the question.

Fill in the Blank

Before you get too scared, this doesn’t mean short answer or essay.  The fill in the blank question type on the NCLEX-RN is reserved for calculations. Test takers will be asked to calculate a dosage of medication or drip rate for IV administration.  Then, the answer is recorded as a fill in the blank.  The test will provide specifics on rounding so that test takers have the best opportunity to provide the right response.

Hot Spot

Hot spot questions ask test takers to identify areas on pictures or graphics.  An example might be to highlight the areas of the chest where heart sounds are assessed. The test taker must be able to identify the correct “hot spot” given the information provided in the question.

Order Response

Order response question types on the NCLEX-RN asks test-takers to put selections in order.  For example, the item may present a scenario where CPR is needed and the test candidate will have to order the steps listed to show what he would do first, second, third, and so on. The question might present the nurse with several patient situations and the test-taker will have to prioritize the patients to demonstrate proper management of care. Bottom line, in this question type, you are putting the responses in some kind of order.


Audio items will ask that test-takers listen to a recording of some type and then select their answers based on what they hear. The recording might be something like a recording of lung sounds and then the test-taker will have to select what action to take based on what is heard.

Graphic items will present a scenario or question and then an answer must be selected by choosing the appropriate graphic from those provided.

Chart or Exhibit

Lastly, there may be chart or exhibit items.  In this question type on the NCLEX-RN, candidates will have to use the information presented in a chart or exhibit to answer the question(s) presented. You might be familiar with this type of question from other tests where bar graphs or pie charts are used to choose the appropriate response.

There are many myths when it comes to this exam but luckily these question types on the NCLEX-RN aren’t one of them.  Besides being listed here, the question types and examples are also provided in the test plan.  The best part, this resources is free and available to all test-takers! Happy Studying!!!

About Stephanie

Stephanie is a contributor to the NCLEX-RN Blog at Magoosh. She has been a registered nurse for 13 years. She earned her AAS in Nursing from community college before enrolling as an online student at Grand Canyon University, where she completed both her BSN and MSN with an emphasis in Nursing Education. Student success is her top priority and she is committed to working with her students to see them thrive. When she isn’t teaching the nurses of tomorrow, Stephanie enjoys traveling with her family to warm, sunny places.

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