The National Council Licensure Examination for licensed practical nurses, or NCLEX-PN, is a difficult examination that only 83.04 percent of first-time test takers passed in 2013, according to Kaplan University. This was a 7.3 percent decrease from the 2012 pass rate of 90.34 percent.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing increased the passing standard for the examination again in April 2014, making the exam more difficult and lowering the expected pass rate.
The exam is computerized and requires test-takers to answer between 85 and 205 questions. Questions are designed to test the nurse's analytical thinking ability as well as her knowledge of nursing. Some multiple-choice questions are tricky because the nurse must select the most correct answer when more than one answer might be correct.