NCLEX-RN: What does it mean to pass with 75

  1. I am finishing up my first year of nursing school and all I hear from professors and older students is "passing NCLEX with 75 questions". What does that even mean?
    I know the test has 75-265 question, but that is can cut off anytime after 75. How do you pass at 75, if you have not even answered half of the possible questions? HELP!
  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   seaofclouds21
    "Pass at 75" most likely means that their exam shut off after they answered their 75th question and that they passed the exam. The exam is designed in a way that it will give you questions that get harder each time you get the answer correct (allowing it to accurately measure your knowledge) or stay at easier level questions/drop down a level if you get the answer incorrect.
  4. by   registerednutrn
    It's cuts you off anytime after the 75th question if you are clearly failing or clearly passing
  5. by   caliotter3
    If a person does not pass at 75, the exam keeps giving questions to give the person another chance, up to a maximum number of 265 questions. That is the cutoff. You can show the test that you know your stuff at 75 questions or you can go all the way to 265 questions, and then, either pass, or fail. As previously stated, this is controlled by the algorithms of the test.

    Some people like to state that they passed their test at 75 questions as a way to garner respect from the person they are talking to. They are no more an NCLEX passer than the person who passed taking 265 questions. Your instructors and others, when they say "pass with 75 questions" are alluding to the fact that a person who passes at 75 questions really has their stuff together. HTH
  6. by   Sour Lemon
    According to your credentials, you already have a BSN.
  7. by   Meriwhen
    The testing program keeps giving you questions until it is confident that you have--or lack--the knowledge to pass the exam. It needs a minimum of 75 questions to make this determination...60 questions, actually, as 15 random questions are "experimental" and do not count. The test will go up to 265 questions if it has to. Everyone gets different test questions, so the questions you had may or may not have been on another person's test.

    And no, passing or failing doesn't depend solely on whether you correctly answered #75, #265, or whatever number turns out to be your last number. The test looks at your overall performance over the last group of questions.


    Completing it in 75 questions doesn't mean you are any smarter than the person who needed 265 questions. All it means is that you did it with 75 and they did it with 265. I had classmates with low GPAs pass in 75, while ones you'd consider "stronger" students needed 100, 150, 200, or even all 265 to pass. The number you pass with is inconsequential: everyone who passes ends up with the same nursing license.

    Nor does the number of questions you needed to pass with act as any indicator of how successful you will be as a nurse. One of the 265-ers I wrote about is currently doing very well as a FNP.
  8. by   Everline
    It means you get to go home sooner.
  9. by   Lil Nel
    Passing NCLEX in 75 questions means you passed by answering the fewest questions possible, and so you get to leave the testing center and distress ASAP.

    That may not seem like a big deal, but when you are sitting in the hot seat, you will appreciate the computer turning off at 75 (provided you passed), and reclaiming your life.