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The NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses) is a standardized examination designed to test knowledge, skills, and abilities deemed essential for entry level nursing practice. Graduates of the BSN and ABSN program options must take this exam in order to practice as a registered nurse. The NCLEX-RN exam is administered by state boards of nursing, as well as boards in the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These boards have a mandate to protect the public from unsafe and ineffective nursing care, and each board has been given responsibility to regulate the practice of nursing in its respective state. The NCLEX is also referred to as “The Boards” or “State Boards.”

Graduates of the Nursing program must pass the NCLEX in order to practice as a registered nurse.


Social Media

The NCSBN Examinations department created official Facebook and Twitter pages to give the public information they need about the NCLEX, National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) and Medication Aide Certification Examination (MACE). Facebook and Twitter users can become fans of the Facebook pages and follow NCLEXInfo on Twitter to find current information about the examinations, updates and direct links to the Examinations websites.

NCLEX Review and Preparation

  • Each nursing school exam and ATI assessment is integral to helping you prepare for NCLEX. Do numerous practice questions during your nursing courses. Each time you take an ATI Content Mastery exam at the end of a course, be sure to do a “focused review” on the topics you missed.
  • During the last semester of study, students should begin to think seriously about intentionally preparing for the licensure examination. This is an ideal time to begin reviewing content from previous nursing courses and to do many practice questions throughout the semester (note: you need to do at least 4000 practice questions before you take the NCLEX exam).
  • When final exams are completed, it is time to begin an intentional and intensive review plan to increase the likelihood of passing NCLEX on the first attempt. The Academic Counselors have developed a review plan utilizing ATI resources and an NCLEX review textbook. Three week study plan_2013
  • Assessment Technology Institute (ATI)’s Assessment-Driven Review (ADR) Program is designed to increase student pass rates on the nursing licensing exam and to lower program attrition. All students enrolled in the BSN and ABSN program options have access to the ATI resources throughout the curriculum and for one year following graduation. Used as a comprehensive program, the tools can help students prepare more efficiently for NCLEX-RN as well as for course exams. As part of this program, students have access to review modules in the content areas of nutrition, fundamentals of nursing, pharmacology, maternal/newborn nursing, nursing care of children, mental health, community health, leadership, and medical/surgical nursing. The ATI program offers nonproctored on-line assessments that students can use to assess their knowledge in specific content areas; there are two on-line examinations for most courses and they can be taken an unlimited number of times. To access the on-line assessments through the ATI website (, students must enter the product codes provided by the School of Nursing Academic Counselors.
  • Additionally, at the conclusion of many of the courses in the School of Nursing curriculum, a proctored ATI Content Mastery assessment is completed by students to assist in identifying knowledge deficits. Information relative to the content mastery testing is provided in the course syllabi. During the final semester of study, students are required to take the ATI Comprehensive Predictor Examination. Results of this exam provide students with an assessment of their knowledge gaps and help direct NCLEX-RN review strategies.

Here are some current review materials to help you prepare for NCLEX. An NCLEX review book is a helpful tool to have throughout the curriculum as it provides additional practice with multiple choice test items.

  • Davis’s NCLEX-RN Success by Lagerquist, 3rd edition
  • HESI/Saunders Online Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination (1 yr) access
  • Kaplan NCLEX-RN Premier 2016 with 2 Practice Tests: Online + Book + DVD + Mobile
  • Kaplan NCLEX RN 2016: Strategies, Practice, and Review with Practice Test
  • Mosby’s Comprehensive Review of Nursing for the NCLEX-RN Exam, 20th edition
  • Lippincott’s Fast Facts for NCLEX-RN
  • Lippincott’s NCLEX-RN Review Made Incredibly Easy, 5th edition
  • Lippincott’s NCLEX-RN Questions and Answers Made Incredibly Easy, 7th edition
  • Lippincott’s NCLEX-RN Alternate-Format Questions, 6th edition
  • Lippincott’s Q & A Review for NCLEX-RN, 11th edition
  • Saunders’ Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN by Silvestri, 7th edition
  • Saunders Q & A Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination by Silvestri, 6th edition
  • Saunders Q&A Review Cards for the NCLEX-RN Examination by Silvestri and Silvestri, 2nd edition
  • Saunders 2016-2017 Strategies for Test Success – Passing Nursing School and the NCLEX Exam by Silvestri, 4th edition

Mobile Apps

  • ATI Mobile Mentor
  • Kaplan NCLEX-RN Mini Q-Bank
  • Mosby’s NCLEX-RN Exam Prep 2016
  • NCLEX RN Mastery 2016
  • NCLEX Success RN 2016
  • UWorld NCLEX

Tips for Buying NCLEX Review Materials

  • Purchase the most current edition. The NCLEX test plan changes periodically and your review book should be consistent with the latest test plan.
  • Many books have CD’s with extra questions or may provide links to extra questions on-line. The more practice questions you do, the better prepared you will be for the NCLEX exam.
  • Question and answer books should include rationale for each answer; look for resources that also include other helpful information with each question, such as testing strategies.


The Academic Counselors strongly recommend that all students take some type of NCLEX review course. The following are the best-known courses and ones that our students have used in the past with very good success.


Hurst offers live review courses lasting four days as well as online review courses.

Classroom or online NCLEX-RN review courses are available through Kaplan. Information on classes and on-line review are available through the Kaplan nursing website or the Chapel Hill Kaplan office (phone: 919-960-4600).

NCSBN offers an online self-paced NCLEX review course through the NCSBN Learning Extension. The course provides content review, practice questions, online review exercises, and instructor feedback through discussion boards and email. Students subscribe for a specific period of time ranging from 3 weeks to 15 weeks. The cost varies with the enrollment period.

Virtual ATI
ATI offers a web-based NCLEX review program in which students can utilize their current ATI products (review modules and on-line practice exams) along with individualized assistance and guidance from an experienced ATI instructor. The instructor assists students to develop and follow a detailed timeline for NCLEX preparation. Students have access to an additional 500 online practice questions.