COVID-19 and the NCLEX®

What you need to know   

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Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), there have been significant alterations to NCLEX-RN® and NCLEX-PN® testing dates and the exams themselves. UWorld is responding to help students and nursing programs continue to prepare for their exams in these unprecedented times. Here is what you need to know:

On March 11, 2020, COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. 

After some initial testing dates were canceled, NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN testing resumed on March 25, 2020, in a limited capacity. Exam candidates can identify testing sites by checking for available times in their Pearson VUE account.
Initial changes to Pearson VUE Testing Centers and the NCLEX exams went into effect on March 25, 2020.

About the testing site changes:

  • Testing center personnel will be screened for fever before administering the exam.
  • Palm vein scanners will be appropriately disinfected between every candidate, and identification will be held at arm’s length for touchless review by the Test Administrator.
  • During check-in, NCLEX candidates will be asked to confirm that within the last 14 days they 1) have not exhibited COVID-19 symptoms and 2) have not been in contact with anyone either diagnosed with COVID-19 or displaying related symptoms.
  • Testing workstations will be disinfected between each candidate, and all high touchpoints in common areas (door handles, lockers, etc) will be cleaned at least hourly.
  • Candidates will be seated at least 6 feet apart
  • Hand sanitizer and paper towels will be available for candidate use.
  • Candidates may wear a face mask and/or gloves during their exam (not provided).

About the NCLEX changes (for all RN and PN candidates):

Note: The following changes reflect the modifications announced by the NCSBN® that will go into effect on October 1, 2020.

  • A general guide and test-taking tips will now replace the NCLEX Tutorial. 
  • Pretest items are back. Candidates will see 15 pretest items on their exams.
  • The minimum number of items on the exam will now be 60.
  • The maximum number of items on the exam will now be 130.
  • With the addition of the 15 pretest items, the minimum length of the exam will be 75 items and the maximum length of the exam will be 145 items.
  • The maximum examination time for both the NCLEX-RN and the NCLEX-PN will be 5 hours.
  • The Run Out of Time (R.O.O.T.) scoring rule has been suspended due to changes in the maximum testing time and exam length.
  • Computerized Adaptive Testing will still be used (responses to all completed items will be computed to determine final ability).
  • Exam difficulty and passing standards have NOT changed.

According to the NCSBN, these changes have been made due to the “unprecedented need for nurses and their importance in the health care system during this time of global pandemic.” 

NCLEX is a registered trademark of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc (NCSBN), that neither endorses nor is affiliated with UWorld. For the latest information on the COVID-19 Impact to NCLEX candidates, please review the FAQs on the NCSBN web site.

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