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​NCLEX-RN - General

Why is a registration exam required?
Registration exams such as the NCLEX-RN contribute to patient safety. Nurse regulators use these exam results to help assess whether an applicant meets the requirements for practising registration in B.C.
What will the NCLEX-RN test?
The exam will focus on testing entry-level competencies that are essential to providing safe care at the beginning of the candidate's RN career.
What format does the NCLEX-RN use?
The format of the NCLEX-RN is computer-adaptive testing (CAT). Using CAT, the system determines the difficulty of each question based on how well you responded to the preceding questions.
How many times can I take the exam?
There is no limit to how many times you can write the NCLEX-RN as long as you have a valid BCCNM application and continue to meet the current competency requirement. You must wait a minimum of 45 days between writings.
Why is there no limit on the number of times I can write the exam?
Each time you write the NCLEX-RN you will get a completely new set of questions, so each retake is assessing your true ability.
I am moving to another province, do I need to be registered in B.C.?
In order to work as a nurse in B.C., you must be registered with BCCNM.
Can I hold provisional registration while I am waiting to write the exam?
Yes, applicants can apply for provisional registration while waiting to write and pass the NCLEX-RN. Applicants are given up to one year to meet all conditions on their provisional registration, which includes passing the NCLEX-RN within two attempts.
I am a registered nurse in British Columbia, and I would like to write the NCLEX-RN. Can I apply through BCCNM?
No. The NCLEX-RN is only written through BCCNM as a registration requirement. As you have already met the exam requirement to become a registered nurse in B.C., you are not eligible to apply for the NCLEX-RN through BCCNM. In order to write the NCLEX-RN, you will need to apply through a state board of nursing and it will be up to that board to confirm your eligibility for the exam.
I am a registered nurse in British Columbia. Am I required to write the NCLEX-RN in order to renew my registration and maintain my RN status?
No. The NCLEX-RN is the entry to practice exam for initial registration in B.C. It is only written by new applicants seeking initial registration who have not yet met the exam requirement for registration with BCCNM.
​Can I request an accommodation?
Yes. Learn more on the Accommodations page​.

Preparing to write the NCLEX-RN

​How will I know what will be tested?
The NCLEX-RN tests your knowledge, skills, and judgement required to provide safe care. These competencies are covered in your nursing education. The NCLEX-RN test plan describes what will be tested and the type of questions on the exam, and provides some sample questions. The NCLEX-RN will not test knowledge of health care systems, history, or government policies and laws.

Visit the NCLEX-RN homepage​ for a list of resources that can help you prepare to write the exam.
Can I go back to a previous question and change my response?
No. Given the computerized adaptive test (CAT) format​ of the exam, you cannot go back to previous questions or skip questions. With a CAT, every time you answer a question on the exam, the computer re-estimates your ability based on all previous answers and the difficulty level of those questions. Using this process, the computer gets as much information as possible about the writer’s ability to provide safe care. With each question answered, the computer’s estimate of the writer’s ability becomes more precise.
How many questions do I need to answer correctly to pass?
Since the exam is a computerized adaptive test (CAT), this answer requires some explanation. A CAT is designed to measure the writer’s ability: their entry-level nursing knowledge, skill and judgment. Each question is rated at a different level of difficulty. Some questions are easier to answer than others.

Every time a writer answers a question, the computer re-estimates their ability level based on all previous answers and the difficulty of those questions. This gives the computer as much information as possible about the writer’s ability to provide safe care. With each question answered, the computer’s estimate of the writer’s ability becomes more precise.

As a result, there is no set number of questions to answer. A writer passes the exam when the computer determines they are above the passing standard: a cut point that marks the minimum ability level required to practice nursing safely and effectively as an entry-level RN in today’s health care environment. ​

Exam results and next steps

Will my results include a mark or percentage?
No. You will receive a pass or fail result.
How will I obtain full registration if I pass the exam?
If you have provisional registration and have met all other registration requirements, your provisional registration will be automatically converted to practising registration. If you have any outstanding requirements for registration, we will notify you by email. If you do not have provisional registration, but have met all other registration requirements, you will need to pay the registration fees for full practising registration or for non-practising registration.​
​I passed the exam and meet all of the registration requirements but I want to register at a later date due to vacation/pregnancy/extenuating circumstances. Do I have to apply for registration now?
After you passed the NCLEX and met all of the registration requirements, you have 90 days to finalize your registration. If you don't plan to work right away, you can apply for non-practising registration.​