1 NCLEX-RN detailed Test Plan Effective April 2016 NCLEX-RN Examination Detailed Test Plan for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses
2 Mission Statement The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN ) provides education, service and research through collaborative leadership to promote evidenced-based regulatory excellence for patient safety and public protection. Purpose and Functions The purpose of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is to provide an organization through which boards of nursing act and counsel together on matters of common interest and concern affecting the public health, safety and welfare, including the development of licensing examinations in nursing. The major functions of NCSBN include developing the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN examinations, performing policy analysis and promoting uniformity in relationship to the regulation of nursing practice, disseminating data related to NCSBN s purpose, and serving as a forum for information exchange for NCSBN members. Copyright 2015 National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN ) All rights reserved. NCSBN, NCLEX, NCLEX-RN, NCLEX-PN, NNAAP, MACE, Nursys and TERCAP are registered trademarks of NCSBN and this document may not be used, reproduced or disseminated to any third party without written permission from NCSBN. Permission is granted to boards of nursing to use or reproduce all or parts of this document for licensure related purposes only. Nonprofit education programs have permission to use or reproduce all or parts of this document for educational purposes only. Use or reproduction of this document for commercial or for-profit use is strictly prohibited. Any authorized reproduction of this document shall display the notice: Copyright by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. All rights reserved. Or, if a portion of the document is reproduced or incorporated in other materials, such written materials shall include the following credit: Portions copyrighted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. All rights reserved. Address inquiries in writing to NCSBN Permissions, 111 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 2900, Chicago, IL Suggested Citation: National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
3 i National Council of State Boards of Nursing Effective Date April 2016
5 iii Table of Contents I. Background...1 II NCLEX-RN Test Plan....3 Introduction...3 Beliefs...3 Classification of Cognitive Levels...4 Test Plan Structure...4 Client Needs...4 Integrated Processes...5 Distribution of Content...5 Overview of Content...6 Safe and Effective Care Environment...6 Health Promotion and Maintenance...7 Psychosocial Integrity...7 Physiological Integrity...8 III....9 Safe and Effective Care Environment...10 Management of Care...10 Safety and Infection Control...15 Health Promotion and Maintenance...18 Psychosocial Integrity...22 Physiological Integrity...27 Basic Care and Comfort...27 Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies...31 Reduction of Risk Potential...35 Physiological Adaptation...39 IV. Administration of the NCLEX-RN Examination...43 Examination Length...43 The Passing Standard...43 Similar Items...43 Reviewing Answers and Guessing...44 Scoring the NCLEX Examination...44 Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT)...44 Pretest Items...45 Passing and Failing...45 Scoring Items...45 Types of Items on the NCLEX-RN Examination...46 NCLEX Examination Terminology...46 Confidentiality...46 Tutorial...46 V. Item Writing Exercises...55 VI. References...58 APPENDIX A...59
6 1 I. Background The Item Writer/Item Reviewer/Nurse Educator Detailed Test Plan for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN ) was developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc (NCSBN ). The purpose of this document is to provide more detailed information about the content areas tested in the NCLEX-RN examination than is provided in the basic NCLEX-RN Test Plan. This booklet contains the: 2016 NCLEX-RN Test Plan; Information on testing requirements and sample examination questions (items); Item writing exercises; and Bibliography and Appendix. About the NCLEX-RN Test Plan (Section II) The test plan is reviewed and approved by the NCLEX Examination Committee every three years. Multiple resources are used, including the recent practice analysis of registered nurses, and expert opinions of the Examination Committee, NCSBN content staff, and boards of nursing (NCSBN s Member Boards) to ensure that the test plan is consistent with state nurse practice acts. Following the endorsement of proposed revisions by the Examination Committee, the test plan document is presented for approval to the Delegate Assembly, which is the decision-making body of NCSBN. About the NCLEX-RN Detailed Test Plan (Section III) The detailed test plan serves a variety of purposes. It is used to guide candidates preparing for the examination, to direct item writers in the development of items, and to facilitate the classification of examination items. Two versions of the detailed test plan have been created: Item Writer/Item Reviewer/Nurse Educator version and Candidate version. The Item Writer/Item Reviewer/Nurse Educator version that is provided in this document offers a more thorough and comprehensive listing of content for each client needs category and subcategory outlined in the test plan. Sample items are provided at the end of each category, which are specific to the client needs category being reviewed in that section. There is an item writing guide along with sample case scenarios which provide nurse educators with hands-on experience in writing NCLEX style test questions. The Candidate version of the detailed test plan provides the same comprehensive listing of content and sample items for each client needs category and subcategory outlined in the test plan, however, it does not offer an item writing guide or section with case scenarios. For up-to-date information about the NCLEX-RN examination, visit the NCSBN website at
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