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Frequently Asked NCLEX Questions

PLEASE REMEMBER: THERE ARE 50 STATES, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND 4 US TERRITORIES AND THEY ALL HAVE DIFFERENT LICENSING REQUIREMENTS FOR NURSES.
FOR ANSWERS ABOUT YOUR PARTICULAR CASE PLEASE CONTACT YOUR STATE BOARD OF NURSING OR OUR OFFICE.


I have a nursing diploma from my country, can I get a Registered Nurse (RN) license in the USA?

Yes. Every state has its own requirements for foreign-educated nurses, but in general if you have 2 or more years of regular nursing education, your diploma is accepted in the US and you are eligible for RN licensure.

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Is the licensing test (NCLEX) easier or harder in different states?*

No. NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) is a national test created by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and administered by the Pearson VUE. The level of difficulty of the test does not change from state to state or from one test location to another.

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How many times can I take the NCLEX test?

Most states will have some limitations when it comes to NCLEX testing. Some states limit the number of times you can take NCLEX, other states have limited the time period during which you must pass NCLEX, and some states have both.

But there are also states that have no such restrictions. You are welcome to contact our office for more detailed information.

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Where or how can I get the real NCLEX questions, and not just practice NCLEX questions?

The short answer is you can't, and probably should not try. NCSBN keeps NCLEX test questions secret for good reason - to prevent fraud on NCLEX exam. It is even illegal to debrief nurses who just completed the NCLEX test about their NCLEX exam questions. You may come across some message board posts claiming that questions from one source or another are just like on the test... before you believe the hype, ask yourself - if no one is supposed to know the real NCLEX questions, can you really trust those claims?

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Why can't I pass NCLEX when I get such good scores on the NCLEX practice questions?

Practice questions are created by people who have nothing to do with NCLEX development. NCLEX item writers and reviewers sign confidentiality agreements and can not participate in the creation of practice questions or NCLEX teaching process.
NCLEX is designed to test the full body of knowledge and a broad range of critical thinking skills, while practice questions are narrowly formulated to evaluate one or two particular skills or a small portion of the material. So, when you answer questions from an NCLEX manual, you are not evaluating your ability to pass the test, you are testing how well you've learned the material from that particular book. The questions often recycle words and phrases from the manual making them easy to answer and giving you false sense of security.

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I have failed NCLEX test and my State Board tells me to take refresher class. What do I do?

It is true that some states place restrictions on how many times an applicant can take the test, or give specific amount of time to complete your testing. In most cases these states will require some type of nurse refresher course before allowing you to take NCLEX again. The refresher course requirements vary from state to state and in some instances may even involve clinical training. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid having to take these expensive and time-consuming refreshers. Please contact our office for detailed information.

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Can I take NCLEX in any language other then English?

No. The NCLEX exam is given in English only. Regardless of the test center location or the Nursing Board, the NCLEX is always administered in English language.

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Do I have to apply for RN licensing in the same state where I live?

No, you do not. Nurses in the majority of states may apply for RN licensure with any state in the US.

However, nurses who live in one of the compact member states, may apply to their home state or to any state that is not a member of the "Nurse Licensure Compact".

Read more about "Nurse Licensure Compact" and "compact member states"

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If I sent my nursing application to another state, do I have to go to that state to take the test?

No. You may take the test at any test location that is convenient for you.

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Do I need to take the English language examination (TOEFL) to get my nursing license?*

No you do not. However, there are states that require the English language examination for initial RN licensing and even for licensure by endorsement. Please contact your State Board of Nursing or our office for detailed information.

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What is CGFNS?*

CGFNS (Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools) is not a government agency. It is a Pennsylvania-based corporation. In most states it serves as "pre-screening" agent for foreign-educated nurses.

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Do I have to, or need to take CGFNS examination?*

No you do not. If you have passed the NCLEX examination, you do not have to take CGFNS test.

CGFNS corporation is claiming that CGFNS exam is a "predictor test" for NCLEX. It was written to resemble NCLEX, but has nothing to do with the NCLEX test itself. Many State Boards of Nursing seem to think that CGFNS test is unnecessary, and have eliminated the mandatory requirement for CGFNS examination.

CGFNS test does not give any special privileges to those who have taken it (whether they pass or fail), nor does it provide any certain indication that you will pass the NCLEX examination.

Moreover, NCLEX test will always supersede CGFNS exam, even for "CGFNS Certificate" or  "CGFNS Visa Screen".

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Is there a different way to prepare for NCLEX for international nurses?

No, NCLEX has the same standard for all nurses and everyone requires the same level of preparation.

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What other types of nursing licenses are there?

Generally speaking, there are three main types of nursing licenses in the US: Licensed Practical (Vocational) Nurse (LPN or LVN), Registered Nurse (RN) and Nurse Practitioner (NP). Differences among them are in the levels of education and the scope of duties and responsibilities. Although each state has its own licensing requirements, usually LPN's have the lowest educational requirements and the narrowest range of duties and responsibilities. The scope of practice and the level and content of education for an RN is wider than for an LPN. NP is a registered nurse who has completed advanced nursing education (generally a master's degree) and passed complex examinations in a particular specialty.

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I was told that I must (should) get LPN license before applying for RN license. Is it true?*

Not true. LPN is a completely separate license; it is not a “step” on the way to an RN license. Some states even have separate boards for RN's and LPN's. If you choose to become an LPN before applying for an RN license, you will have to: a) send 2 separate licensing applications; b) meet 2 separate licensing requirements; c) pass 2 separate licensing examinations, NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN. Also, while working very hard, an LPN will on average make only half as much money as a typical RN.

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What is Licensure by Endorsement?

Licensure by endorsement is a procedure for obtaining a license in another state for Registered Nurses (RN) and Practical Nurses (LPN or LVN) who have passed NCLEX test and are licensed in one of the states. After completing the endorsement process nurses receive a license of another state, and do not have to surrender their original license. So, a nurse may have valid licenses from several states at the same time. Endorsement requirements vary from state to state, please contact your State Board of Nursing or our office for detailed information.

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If I want to endorse (exchange) my nurse license to another state, do I have to take the NCLEX test again?

No. After you have passed the NCLEX test in any state you will never have to take it again.

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Can I work in any state after I get my RN license?

In a majority of states (such as NY, NJ, CT, PA, CA, etc.) RN license gives you the right to work only in the state that issued your license. Some states have entered into "Nurse Licensure Compact" which allows nurses licensed and residing in one compact member state to practice in other compact member states. NOTE: Even if you are licensed in one of the compact member states, but you do not live in that state, you are not eligible for a "compact" license.

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How can I get the “Compact” license and how does it work?

In order to have a "compact" license you must live in one of the compact member states. For example, if you have Maryland RN license and happen to live in Maryland, close to Virginia border, you may work in Virginia with your Maryland RN license. However, if you move to Virginia permanently, you must get Virginia RN license in order to work there. Another benefit of the "compact" is for traveling nurses who may get short term work assignments (usually up to 13 weeks) in any compact member states and they only need to have "compact" license from one of them.

The drawback of the Nurse Licensure Compact is for nursing applicants who live in one of the compact member states and do not have an RN license in any state: these nurses can only apply to their home state or to any state that is not a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact, but can not apply to other compact member states for initial (first time) RN licensing.

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Where can I work when I get my RN license?

RN license gives you the right to work at any healthcare facility. There are some advanced positions that may require additional training.

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Is the nursing license from one state "better" than the nursing license from another state?

No. All licenses are equal. For example, New York State RN license gives you right to work in the State of New York only. Also, when applying for licensure by endorsement to another state, there are no special privileges for people with licenses from a particular state .

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Do you have group rates or discounts for your NCLEX review program?

Yes, we do offer discount rates. The group rates start from 5 people and are determined by the group size. Please contact our office for full details and incentives.

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Do you offer incentives if I refer a friend to your services?

Yes, we have a referral program and offer real incentives for all client referrals. Please contact our office for complete details.

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*Trademark notice: NCSBN, NCLEX, NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN are registered trademarks of the National Council of the State Boards of Nursing;
CGFNS, Visa Screen and CGFNS Qualifying Exam are registered trademarks of Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools;
TOEFL is a registered trademark of the ETS corporation.