NCLEX Review

Nursing NCLEX RN Review Video: Exam Components

Nursing NCLEX RN Review Video: Fundamentals of nursing


In this video I am going to talk about the structure and concepts about the actual nursing NCLEX RN exam. Visit my website for more NCLEX content review and a free E-BOOK where I shared my study schedule for passing the NCLEX. 


Taking the NCLEX exam is not like any other exam you will most likely have written. Therefore it is important to understand information the National Council of State Boards of Nursing gives you to help guide you on how the exam works. Make sure you look at their website describing all of this in detail which will be in the description box down below.  However in this video I have summarized what I believe are the key components of their document.


Components of the NCLEX are made up of the same segments every year. This diagram summarizes all the various components of the exam. This is important as it helps guide you on what to focus on studying while you are reviewing concepts. For example, knowing that the management of care and pharmacological therapies make up the highest percentage of the exam, you know to focus more on studying and remember those contents more.

The rest of the document mentions various algorithms that it uses to identify how you are doing on the test. This is also important because while you are writing the test you want to know how the questions will be asked and how does the test identify that you are meeting the passing standard. The most important terms that you should familiarize yourself with and understand about the NCLEX exam is:


  1. Computer Adaptive Testing
  2. The 95% Confidence Interval Rule
  3. Maximum-Length Exam
  4. Run-Out-of-Time Rule (R.O.O.T.)


Before explaining these, take a moment to like this video if you found it useful. This helps me decide whether I should make more videos like this. Thank you.


Computer Adaptive Testing is a method of test delivery that uses computer technology and measurement theory. Each test is unique and is based on the needs of the test taker. If the test identifies you are weaker in a section then it will keep asking you questions on that section until you meet the threshold of passing for that section. Then it will move onto the next section until you meet the threshold for that section etc.. until you eventually pass the exam.

  • The 95% Confidence Interval Rule
    • Basically the rule states that it will test you on other areas of the exam when it is 95% certain that you have the knowledge needed to pass that section. Essentially what we talked about, it will test you until it is 95% you will pass that section next time it asks you a question.
  • Run-Out-Of-Time Rule (R.O.O.T)
    • If the candidate has not answered the minimum number of required items, the candidate automatically fails.
    • If at least the minimum number of required items were answered, the computer looks at the last 60 ability estimates
      • If the last 60 ability estimates were consistently above the passing standard, the candidate passes
      • If the candidate’s ability estimate drops below the passing standard even once over the last 60 items, the candidate fails. This does not mean that the candidate must answer the last 60 items correctly. Each ability estimate is based upon all previous items answered.
    • This provides emphasis on answering questions that you TRULY have a good chance at getting right. Do not answer if you are completely unsure, make an educated guess, think of stuff you know that MIGHT be able to help you answer.. Think of nursing content that you could use to rationalize picking a correct answer.


This is how each test is so unique and why you must know all nursing content. It makes sure that you have no “weak” areas, which makes sense… Imagine being weak in the cardiac section and you go into a clinical setting and a patient of yours has a heart attack.. That would be horrible for you and the patient.


Currently the NCLEX-RN and the NCLEX-PN examinations can be anywhere from 75 to 145 items. Regardless of the number of items administered, the time limit for this examination is five hours.


Breaks during the exam

You will have up to five hours to complete the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN Examinations; total examination time includes a short introductory screen, two pre-programmed optional breaks and any unscheduled breaks you may take.

  • The first optional break is offered after two hours of testing. The second optional break is offered after three and one half hours of testing.
  • The computer will automatically tell you when these scheduled breaks begin.


That is going to be the end of the fundamental nursing video, if this was helpful consider giving the video a thumbs up.

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