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Changes to NCLEX-PN Test Plan

A “standard” is something set up and established by authority or general consent as a measure of excellence or quality ~ Merriam Webster Online Dictionary

I’ve already started getting emails from panicked students who are preparing to take the NCLEX-PN®. Basically, everyone wants to know if our review course will prepare them for the new exam.

And, my answer is yes and no — yes, it will prepare you for the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination), but no, it’s not a “new” exam.

Just like with the NCLEX-RN® last year, there are changes to the 2011 NCLEX-PN Test Plan that went into effect April 1.

Wondering exactly what this means?  Read on for clarification and for some tips for making the most of your preparation…

A higher passing standard

First of all, the passing standard has been raised slightly, which means that you may find the test just a bit more difficult to pass. Before you panic, understand that raising the passing standard doesn’t necessarily mean the test content is harder.  You just have to answer more questions correctly to pass.
You’ll be relieved to hear that the format of the Test Plan remains pretty much the same, with only a few minor adjustments. Here is an overview of some of these changes.

Give a little, take a little

With respect to the percentage of questions on the exam, there will be slightly more emphasis on some areas of the test plan, with a corresponding decrease in emphasis for other areas.
The following areas of the test plan now have slightly more emphasis on NCLEX:

  • Coordinated Care
  • Safety and Infection Control
  • Pharmacological Therapies

There is no change in the percentage of questions from the category Health Promotion and Maintenance. The remaining categories will have slightly less emphasis.

Other changes

Some of the other changes involve renaming things. For example, “Disaster Planning” has been changed to “Emergency Response Plan” and “Substance Related Disorders” is now “Chemical and Other Dependencies.”

You can read about some of the other changes in NCSBN’s Frequently Asked Questions About the 2011 NCLEX-PN Test Plan.

I like to think of these changes as a reflection of the standard of nursing care we aspire to year round – a standard of excellence and quality. And high standards benefit our profession and our patients!

Preparing for the new NCLEX… and a high standard of practice

My advice as you prepare for the NCLEX:

  • Move quickly! — Take the exam as soon as possible after graduation, while the information is still fresh in your mind.
  • Better prepare — If your school requires you to take an exit exam before you are allowed to apply for the NCLEX exam, use the results to identify areas of weakness.
  • Check out our Web site — See what other students are writing about NCLEX and how they are preparing for their big day!

And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t put in a plug for our PN Review course, which has over a thousand practice questions, including those dreaded alternate item type questions.

Now, It’s Your Turn!

Do you feel prepared for the new 2010 NCLEX Test Plan? What worries you the most?

  • Vitually all my questions were on EKG and EKG scripts which affected me because I could not read those scripts. What do I do?

  • @bbalogun: We've been hearing that a lot of people have been getting ECG strips on the NCLEX. Unfortunately, our course does not include ECG strips (but we are in contract discussions to include ECGs in an upcoming version of the course.) There are many excellent resources on the web and textbooks you could use to help you prepare for your next attempt.

    If you have additional questions about course content, please post them in the Ask the Instructor forum :)

  • Hi I need help. I'm currently lpn. I hv taken rn boards 7x. I hv done questions reviews and so on. I'm at a loss.