What Is the Passing Score on the NCLEX Nursing Exam?

Candidates pass or fail the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, nursing exam based on computer-tested competency levels instead of scores. The NCLEX exam uses Computerized Adapted Testing, or CAT, technology, to achieve fairer and more accurate test results.

Instead of a passing score, the NCLEX exam uses a computerized system that adapts to a candidate’s ability level. As long as candidates achieve a competency level above the passing standard, they pass the exam. For each correctly answered question, a candidate’s ability level increases by a step while each wrong answer brings it down a step. The questions increase in difficulty as a candidate answers correctly.

In addition, there is a minimum number of questions that a candidate must answer to pass the exam. For the Practical Nurse, or PN, test, candidates must answer at least 85 questions, while those undertaking the Registered Nurse, or RN, test should attempt at least 75.