What Is The NCLEX Passing Score In 2024 (Exact Numbers)

NCLEX Passing Score - 2400Expert

As a nursing graduate on the brink of embarking on your professional journey, the NCLEX holds immense significance.

According to recent data, the national average pass rate for first-time NCLEX test-takers in the United States is around 87.7%.

This article is a complete guide to NCLEX passing score, including its significance, factors influencing it, and strategies to achieve success. 

By gaining insights into the passing score, nursing graduates can approach the NCLEX with confidence and a clear understanding of the expectations for licensure.

Let’s dive into it.

What Is The NCLEX?

NCLEX serves as a licensure examination for nurses in the United States and Canada. It is designed to ensure that individuals appearing for the nursing profession meet the minimum competency standards required to provide safe and effective care.

The exam evaluates the knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary for entry-level nursing practice across various healthcare settings.

So, the NCLEX is definitely tough, but you got this! Trust me, with some solid preparation; you can crush it. 

NCLEX Passing Score  - Overview

You are in good luck! There are many resources available to help nursing students prepare for the NCLEX, including review books, practice exams, and online courses. Don’t sweat it; you’ve got this in the bag!

What Is NCLEX Passing Score

The passing score for the NCLEX is 0.00 logits. To pass the NCLEX exam, you must correctly answer at least 50% of the questions on the test.

The NCLEX is a computerized adaptive test (CAT), which means that the difficulty of the questions you are asked is based on your performance on previous questions. 

This means that the more questions you successfully answer, the more tough the questions will get. The test will continue until the computer is 95% certain that you have passed or failed the exam.

If you do not pass the NCLEX on your first try, you may repeat the exam. However, you must wait at least 45 days before retaking the exam.

What Is The Passing Rule?

You need to meet the NCLEX passing rule, which is a collection of requirements. 

1. 95% Rule: 

The NCLEX uses the 95% rule to assess whether or not a candidate has passed the exam. 

If the computer is 95% sure that the test taker has passed or failed, it will end the exam. 

This implies that even if there are questions left on the exam, the computer will halt the exam if the test-taker has answered enough questions correctly to pass.

In other words, if a computer is 95% sure that a test-taker has passed the test because they have answered 75 questions correctly, the test will terminate. 

There are no more questions that the examinee must answer.

2. Maximum-Length Rule: 

The maximum-length rule states that the exam will be 145 questions long for the NCLEX-RN and 75 questions long for the NCLEX-PN. 

If you have not answered enough questions correctly to pass the exam after 145 questions for the NCLEX-RN or 75 questions for the NCLEX-PN, the computer will continue to give you questions until the maximum number of questions is reached.

3. Run-Out-Of-Time Rule: 

According to this guideline, you risk failing the exam if you don’t complete enough questions in the allocated time.

Depending on the NCLEX exam you are taking, you will have a set amount of time to finish it. You have a total of 4 hours and 55 minutes to finish the NCLEX-RN exam. This time span includes the tutorial, practice questions, and breaks.

You have a total of 2 hours and 55 minutes to finish the NCLEX-PN. This time span includes the tutorial, practice questions, and breaks.

What Is The NCLEX Examination Format?

It’s essential to remember that the NCLEX examines a broad range of nursing specialties, including pediatric nursing, mental nursing, and obstetric nursing. 

You’ll have 4 hours and 55 minutes to finish the NCLEX-RN and 2 hours and 55 minutes to finish the NCLEX-PN if the exam is timed. 

What Is The NCLEX Examination Format?

There are no consequences for guessing, so don’t worry about it! Take your best guess and move on if you’re ever unsure of an answer to a query. 

You’ll find multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, drag-and-drop, and hot-spot questions on the NCLEX, so make sure you’re ready for them all.

Factors Affecting The NCLEX  Score

Many factors influence the determination of the NCLEX passing score. 

Let’s understand these factors tha will provide valuable insights into the examination process and how to prepare effectively.

1. Difficulty Level Of The Exam

The NCLEX is a computerized adaptive test, meaning it adjusts the difficulty of questions based on the test taker’s responses. The goal is to identify the test-takers level of competence accurately. 

If the test-taker consistently answers questions correctly, the exam will present more challenging items. Conversely, if the test-taker struggles with specific questions, the exam will offer less difficult items.

2. Test-Taker’s Preparation

The level of preparation plays a crucial role in achieving a passing score on the NCLEX. A comprehensive and structured study plan, combined with sufficient practice and review, can significantly enhance the test-takers chances of success. 

Familiarity with the exam format, content, and test-taking strategies are essential components of effective preparation.

3. Individual State Requirements

Each state’s nursing board establishes its own requirements for licensure, which may include specific passing score criteria. It is important for test-takers to research and understand their state’s requirements to ensure they meet the necessary standards for licensure.

4. Adaptive Testing

The adaptive nature of the NCLEX means that each test-taker will have a unique set of questions tailored to their individual abilities. The exam dynamically adjusts the difficulty level based on the test-takers performance, ensuring a more accurate assessment of their nursing knowledge and skills.

What Is The NCLEX Scoring System?

Understanding the scoring system of the NCLEX is vital in accurately interpreting your performance on this significant exam. 

Behind the scenes, a sophisticated algorithm works diligently to analyze your responses and tailor subsequent questions to your individual capabilities. Let’s take a closer look at how the NCLEX scoring system operates::

What Is The NCLEX Scoring System
  1. Question Difficulty: At the beginning of the exam, you’ll encounter questions of moderate difficulty. As you navigate through the test, the algorithm closely observes your performance and adapts the difficulty level of subsequent questions accordingly. 
  1. Minimum Competency: The NCLEX scoring system is designed to determine whether a test-taker meets the minimum competency standards required to practice safely as an entry-level nurse. The algorithm assesses the test-takers ability based on the difficulty level of the questions answered correctly.
  1. Passing Standard: The passing standard is the minimum level of competency that a test-taker must demonstrate to pass the NCLEX. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) establishes and periodically reviews the passing standard to ensure it aligns with current nursing practice and knowledge. 

The passing standard is not a fixed score but a variable standard based on the difficulty level of the questions answered correctly.

  1. Maximum Number of Questions: The number of questions a test-taker receives during the NCLEX can vary. The minimum number of questions is 75, and the maximum number is 145. The test will end when one of the following criteria is met:
  • The test-taker has answered enough questions to reach a statistically reliable determination of their ability.
  • The test-takers performance clearly indicates that they have achieved either a passing or failing level of competency.
  1. Cutoff Point: The NCLEX does not follow a predetermined cutoff point. Instead, the exam dynamically adjusts the difficulty level of questions to determine the test-takers ability. Therefore, it is not possible to identify the exact score required to pass the NCLEX.
  1. Scoring Categories: The NCLEX questions are divided into different content areas or categories, such as safe and effective care environments, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity. The scoring system assesses the test taker’s performance in each category and provides an overall evaluation.

Related Read:

Conclusion: NCLEX Passing Score (2024)

Passing the NCLEX is a significant milestone for nursing graduates, opening doors to a fulfilling career in healthcare. 

Understanding the nuances of the NCLEX passing score, preparing diligently, and implementing effective study strategies are essential steps toward success. 

By investing time and effort into comprehensive review, practice, and self-assessment, aspiring nurses can position themselves for a passing score and embark on a rewarding journey as registered nurses.


What happens if I don’t pass the NCLEX?

If you don’t pass the NCLEX, you can retake the examination. However, it is important to review your performance, identify areas of weakness, and make appropriate adjustments to your study plan before attempting the exam again.

Can I retake the NCLEX if I fail?

Yes, you can retake the NCLEX if you fail. However, there may be specific waiting periods and restrictions imposed by your state’s nursing board. Be sure to check the guidelines and requirements for retaking the exam in your jurisdiction.

How often can I take the NCLEX?

The frequency with which you can take the NCLEX varies by state. Some states allow unlimited attempts, while others have limitations on the number of retakes within a specific timeframe. Consult your state’s nursing board for precise information regarding exam retakes.

Are there different passing scores for different nursing specialties?

No, the passing score for the NCLEX is the same regardless of the nursing specialty. The examination evaluates general nursing knowledge and skills applicable to all practice areas.

Can the NCLEX passing score change over time?

Yes, the NCLEX passing score can be adjusted periodically by the NCSBN to reflect changes in nursing practice, knowledge, and healthcare demands. It is important to stay updated with the current passing standards by referring to the official NCSBN guidelines.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top