COVID-19 Impact to NCLEX Candidates

    After making a number of changes to enhance the safety of those taking the test as well as the staff working in the centers test delivery at U.S.-and-Canada based Pearson VUE test centers, the NCLEX test administrator, resumes on March 25th at a limited number of test centers in major metropolitan areas across the United States and Canada. Please see below for important changes to the delivery of the NCLEX examinations:

    To ensure social distancing measures are in effect, as well as increase the number of candidates that can test daily, the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN, effective March 25, 2020 until July 2020, will be administered as follows:

    • Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) will still be used
    • The minimum number of test items will be 60
    • The maximum number of test items will be 130
    • The maximum testing time will be 4 hours
    • The difficulty level and passing standard has not changed
    • The Next Generation NCLEX Special Research Section will NOT be included

    Version 3 (updated 03/27/2020)

    Important Notice: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and measures imposed by the federal, state and local governments, candidate testing has been interrupted. NCSBN worked with Pearson VUE to reopen a limited number of testing centers as of March 25. The decision to reopen these centers speaks to the unprecedented need for nurses and their importance in the health care system during this time of global pandemic. Some changes will be made to our testing program to enable testing to resume. Key changes are addressed in the NCLEX FAQs that can be found below. To the extent that information elsewhere on the NCSBN website, including the Candidate Bulletin, may differ or be in conflict with the FAQs, the FAQs shall control. We are working as quickly as possible to update the NCSBN website, Candidate Bulletin and other materials. In the meantime, any questions may be directed to

    FAQs for NCLEX Candidates

  • Can I schedule my NCLEX appointment?

    Pearson VUE is opening a limited number of test centers in major metropolitan areas across the United States and Canada. Please visit Pearson VUE to schedule your appointment.

  • When can I test?

    Starting March 25, 2020, there will be a limited number of test sites delivering the NCLEX. Please log into your Pearson VUE account to check availability.

  • What if I didn’t have an appointment scheduled during March 17-April 16, can I still schedule my NCLEX?

    Starting March 25, 2020, there will be a limited number of test sites delivering the NCLEX. Please log into your Pearson VUE account to check availability.

  • Will all test centers be opened?

    Not all test centers will be immediately open due to factors such as local government guidelines and processes required in some jurisdictions for approvals to operate, staff availability and the availability of a sufficient supply of cleaning and disinfectant materials.  More test centers will be opened as soon as possible based on volunteer staff, solving supply logistics and navigating government guidelines.

    Additionally, appointment availability will be limited at open test centers by social distancing requirements and by the advice that any gatherings of individuals should be limited to 10 people.

  • Can I take any breaks?

    Yes. Candidates will still be given the opportunity to take scheduled breaks after 2 hours and again after 3 and a half hours of examination time, as well as any unscheduled breaks. Please note all breaks count against testing time.

  • When will I receive my results?

    NCLEX results are only available from nursing regulatory bodies (NRBs). Please contact your NRB with questions regarding your NCLEX results.

  • Will candidates be allowed to wear any PPE during the exam?

    Yes, medical face masks and gloves are considered a comfort aid and do not require pre-approval. Rest assured that Pearson VUE is thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting their open test centers, including all objects that candidates interact with, including scanners, keyboards, and locker fobs with increased frequency and certainly between each test taker.

  • Can I still request accommodations for my NCLEX?

    Yes, you can still request accommodations. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and limited availability of test centers, certain accommodations may not be available at this time. We will work closely with Pearson VUE to make these accommodations available over the coming weeks as additional test centers are opened.

  • Due to the higher volumes of calls and email inquiries, please consult Pearson VUE’s COVID-19 webpage and this page frequently, as both are continuously updated with the latest information.

    For any other NCLEX questions/concerns, you may contact NCSBN at

    FAQs for Educators and Nursing Regulatory Bodies (NRBs)

  • What should NRBs do with new registrants?

    NRBs should continue to process new applications and approve candidates to test who are eligible.

  • What is the impact of a shortened exam?

    To ensure meeting social distancing requirements and maximize the number of candidates that can test each day in test centers, the NCLEX examination will be shortened to 4 hours. To achieve this, no pretest items will be included in the examination and the Next Generation NCLEX Research Section will be discontinued. Extensive analysis indicates these changes will not affect the necessary measurement characteristics, difficulty of the examination, the pass rate, or the candidate testing experience.

  • Will candidates be able to test in a safe environment?

    Pearson VUE is following government guidelines for social distancing and limiting the number of individuals, including staff, in the test center at any time. As a result of these measures, appointment availability will be extremely limited. NCSBN is working with Pearson VUE to increase availability but, need to maintain the imperative health and safety factors, including the availability of cleaning supplies and proper staffing.

  • Is there information I should share with my students and/or candidates?

    Yes, please have them visit as well as this FAQ page as they will have the most updated information related to the NCLEX testing centers.

  • How should the NRBs process candidates with testing accommodations?

    NRB’s should follow the current process for testing accommodations.

  • NCSBN will continue to update this FAQ page and communicate pertinent information to Nursing Regulatory Bodies and Nursing Programs. For any NRB specific concerns/questions, please contact Exams Operations at