NCLEX-RN versus NCLEX-PN

  1. I am an RN student and just finished my 3rd semester in the program which made me eligible to sit in for the NCLEX-PN/LVN to get my license as an LPN/LVN. Here's my question: What is the difference between the 2? I mean as far as depth of the questions. I've known people who are RN graduate but challenged the NCLEX-PN and passed it on the first try versus at least 2-3 tries in passing the NCLEX-RN. Can someone give me an idea of what kind of questions they give on the NCLEX-PN?
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   RainbowzLPN
    Quote from mye614
    I am an RN student and just finished my 3rd semester in the program which made me eligible to sit in for the NCLEX-PN/LVN to get my license as an LPN/LVN. Here's my question: What is the difference between the 2? I mean as far as depth of the questions. I've known people who are RN graduate but challenged the NCLEX-PN and passed it on the first try versus at least 2-3 tries in passing the NCLEX-RN. Can someone give me an idea of what kind of questions they give on the NCLEX-PN?
    Hi there! I had 85 questions on my test. Many were priority... 4 different pts, with different diseases/conditions, which would you give prioity attention to? I had some maternity, peds (you hav a child of a certain age, which of the answers would be an expected/unexpected findin for this age?) I only had 1 I & O quesion, it gave you a meal & how much of certain foods, & you had to figure out what the input was.

    Jennifer
  4. by   Fiona59
    The exam is geared towards the LPN's skills and responsibilities. Having said that its a lot of common sense. I remember having quite a few IV questions, rates, solutions, condition of site (infilitration). There were also questions on morals, ethics, basically covered life to death.

    I just love it when PN's in the States say "I only had 85 questions". In Canada we still use the booklet test. One booklet in the morning and one in the afternoon. I would have loved to have been able to leave after 85 questions...

    Good Luck, nursing isn't rocket science just know your stuff.
  5. by   Dorito
    Quote from Fiona59
    The exam is geared towards the LPN's skills and responsibilities. Having said that its a lot of common sense. I remember having quite a few IV questions, rates, solutions, condition of site (infilitration). There were also questions on morals, ethics, basically covered life to death.

    I just love it when PN's in the States say "I only had 85 questions". In Canada we still use the booklet test. One booklet in the morning and one in the afternoon. I would have loved to have been able to leave after 85 questions...

    Good Luck, nursing isn't rocket science just know your stuff.
    When I took my boards in 1979 it was also an entire day of testing. To be honest, I think the old paper and pencil is a better way to test knowledge than the computer tests that may not even ask any pediatrics/ geriatrics questions.
  6. by   mye614
    I'd like to thank everyone who replied to my original message about the difference between NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN. You guys have given me some ideas on what to expect. I'm still deciding as to whether I should challenge the NCLEX-PN or just wait until I finished my RN ( this coming May '05). I guess the only reason why I am thinking of challenging it because it seems like NCLEX-PN exam is a lot easier than the NCLEX-RN. I mean at least if I pass the NCLEX-PN, I am guaranteed to find a nursing job and use my education while getting ready and reviewing for the NCLEX-RN exam. What do you guys think? Should I just wait or should I challenge it? Helpppppppppppp!!!!!
  7. by   SKM-NURSIEPOOH
    Quote from mye614
    i'd like to thank everyone who replied to my original message about the difference between nclex-rn and nclex-pn. you guys have given me some ideas on what to expect. i'm still deciding as to whether i should challenge the nclex-pn or just wait until i finished my rn ( this coming may '05). i guess the only reason why i am thinking of challenging it because it seems like nclex-pn exam is a lot easier than the nclex-rn. i mean at least if i pass the nclex-pn, i am guaranteed to find a nursing job and use my education while getting ready and reviewing for the nclex-rn exam. what do you guys think? should i just wait or should i challenge it? helpppppppppppp!!!!!
    why not just wait until you graduate from your rn program? you are doing o.k....right? i wouldn't take that on unless you absolutely must (for financial reasons)...you'll get plenty of experience from clinicals & of course...once you've graduated & started in some sort of internship. why stress yourself with becoming a lpn now when you're soooo close to finishing your rn program?

    i don't know how much your sbon charges for a lpn license, but wouldn't it be rather costly to obtain your lpn license only to work (i'm assuming here) part-time while still in school?

    the other thing i've learned while taking the kaplan course is the fact that lots of lpns don't pass the nclex-rn the first time out because they tend to answer questions based on what they see & do in the *real world*. the transition from l to r is rough once you've started in that role. in other words... one would have to stop thinking/functioning as a l (whom by law must report adverse conditions to the rns/mds in charge...ls have no autonomy whenever critical decisions must be made.) however, as a r...one has to not only have the knowledge base to report adverse condition...but they are also bound by law to think ahead & anticipate outcomes & make plans for such. it's frustrating as an l to have to defer...but one has to be able to stay in one's scope of practice (which in some states aren't clear). some ls do have some autonomy....again...it's based on your sbon, the facilities in which said ls work & their policies/laws. for example...some states will allow ls to do just about everything the rs do (including push certain iv meds, work with central lines, etc except hang blood & blood products as long as said l has had the proper training certificate. while other states won't even allow ls to accept verbal orders....go figure.

    you'll have to do some research on your part as to whether it'll be worth it or not for you to have to study (yes...you'll have to study for the nclex-pn...it's not a cake walk just cuz you're in a rn program...don't fool yourself into thinking that), pay for the exam, & licensure only to do it all again for your nclex-rn & rn licensure.

    hope this helps some ~ good luck ~ cheers,
    moe
    Last edit by SKM-NURSIEPOOH on Dec 27, '04
  8. by   rastanursern
    Quote from mye614
    I'd like to thank everyone who replied to my original message about the difference between NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN. You guys have given me some ideas on what to expect. I'm still deciding as to whether I should challenge the NCLEX-PN or just wait until I finished my RN ( this coming May '05). I guess the only reason why I am thinking of challenging it because it seems like NCLEX-PN exam is a lot easier than the NCLEX-RN. I mean at least if I pass the NCLEX-PN, I am guaranteed to find a nursing job and use my education while getting ready and reviewing for the NCLEX-RN exam. What do you guys think? Should I just wait or should I challenge it? Helpppppppppppp!!!!!
    My fndamentals prof. told me that the two tests are basically the same, the difference is the criteria to past. I hope this helps.
  9. by   mye614
    you've made a lot of good points and it actually hit me. yeah, i must say i'm doing good in school and as well as in clinical. i just found out today that it will actually cost me $135.00 for my application then another $200.00 for the actual nclex-pn exam. and yeah, that's alot of money considering the fact that i'm only getting it just to be licensed and incase i don't pass the nclex-rn the first time. i'm really overstressing myself over nothing (my husband says that as well). i don't know i'm just the kind of person who worries too much. thank you though for such enlightening response. and i 'm not even going to work until i'm done with school anyways. arghhhhhhhhhhh!!! i just need to someone to hit me on the head! :uhoh21:
    Quote from skm-nursiepooh
    why not just wait until you graduate from your rn program? you are doing o.k....right? i wouldn't take that on unless you absolutely must (for financial reasons)...you'll get plenty of experience from clinicals & of course...once you've graduated & started in some sort of internship. why stress yourself with becoming a lpn now when you're soooo close to finishing your rn program?

    i don't know how much your sbon charges for a lpn license, but wouldn't it be rather costly to obtain your lpn license only to work (i'm assuming here) part-time while still in school?

    the other thing i've learned while taking the kaplan course is the fact that lots of lpns don't pass the nclex-rn the first time out because they tend to answer questions based on what they see & do in the *real world*. the transition from l to r is rough once you've started in that role. in other words... one would have to stop thinking/functioning as a l (whom by law must report adverse conditions to the rns/mds in charge...ls have no autonomy whenever critical decisions must be made.) however, as a r...one has to not only have the knowledge base to report adverse condition...but they are also bound by law to think ahead & anticipate outcomes & make plans for such. it's frustrating as an l to have to defer...but one has to be able to stay in one's scope of practice (which in some states aren't clear). some ls do have some autonomy....again...it's based on your sbon, the facilities in which said ls work & their policies/laws. for example...some states will allow ls to do just about everything the rs do (including push certain iv meds, work with central lines, etc except hang blood & blood products as long as said l has had the proper training certificate. while other states won't even allow ls to accept verbal orders....go figure.

    you'll have to do some research on your part as to whether it'll be worth it or not for you to have to study (yes...you'll have to study for the nclex-pn...it's not a cake walk just cuz you're in a rn program...don't fool yourself into thinking that), pay for the exam, & licensure only to do it all again for your nclex-rn & rn licensure.

    hope this helps some ~ good luck ~ cheers,
    moe
  10. by   HangingInThere2
    Hi there.

    I just finished 4th semester. Took my PN boards on November 30th and passed. The main reason that I went ahead and took the boards is for two reasons.. #1- being able to actually gain hands on experience in the nursing field to make me more appealing once I become an RN... PLUS.. we have over 70 students in our class alone.. that is a lot of students who are going to try and sit for the RN boards upon graduation. Who KNOWS how long it will take before I will be able to sit. I'd rather be working and keeping everything sharp then sitting on my tush. and #2 - having the experience of taking the boards. Glad I did take the boards. I feel a little more prepared for what is to come in May.

    Difference between PN and RN.. more critical thinking involved. PN boards are your more general and basic knowledge item questions... which freakin' scares me to death because I was spazing out on whether or not I was going to pass the PN boards.

    I had to pay $285 to sit for the boards, but I felt that it was worth it.

    Best of luck to you in 4th semester!
  11. by   mye614
    Hi,
    Thanks for the reply. Do you still remember some of the questions you got when you took the PN exam? Can you share them withe me. Thanks
    Quote from HangingInThere2
    Hi there.

    I just finished 4th semester. Took my PN boards on November 30th and passed. The main reason that I went ahead and took the boards is for two reasons.. #1- being able to actually gain hands on experience in the nursing field to make me more appealing once I become an RN... PLUS.. we have over 70 students in our class alone.. that is a lot of students who are going to try and sit for the RN boards upon graduation. Who KNOWS how long it will take before I will be able to sit. I'd rather be working and keeping everything sharp then sitting on my tush. and #2 - having the experience of taking the boards. Glad I did take the boards. I feel a little more prepared for what is to come in May.

    Difference between PN and RN.. more critical thinking involved. PN boards are your more general and basic knowledge item questions... which freakin' scares me to death because I was spazing out on whether or not I was going to pass the PN boards.

    I had to pay $285 to sit for the boards, but I felt that it was worth it.

    Best of luck to you in 4th semester!
  12. by   busykim
    Quote from HangingInThere2
    Hi there.

    I just finished 4th semester. Took my PN boards on November 30th and passed. The main reason that I went ahead and took the boards is for two reasons.. #1- being able to actually gain hands on experience in the nursing field to make me more appealing once I become an RN... PLUS.. we have over 70 students in our class alone.. that is a lot of students who are going to try and sit for the RN boards upon graduation. Who KNOWS how long it will take before I will be able to sit. I'd rather be working and keeping everything sharp then sitting on my tush. and #2 - having the experience of taking the boards. Glad I did take the boards. I feel a little more prepared for what is to come in May.

    Difference between PN and RN.. more critical thinking involved. PN boards are your more general and basic knowledge item questions... which freakin' scares me to death because I was spazing out on whether or not I was going to pass the PN boards.

    I had to pay $285 to sit for the boards, but I felt that it was worth it.

    Best of luck to you in 4th semester!
    I don't know where you live but in many states new grads can get a interim permit- (that is good for 6 mos.) so you can start work while waiting to take boards. That should be plenty of time to get in to take NCLEX after graduation. I graduated in May and had no difficulty getting a test date in June, just have all your paper work ready for your State and pre-register with Pearson (if your state uses them) and STUDY!
  13. by   SKM-NURSIEPOOH
    originally posted by hanginginthere2
    hi there.

    i just finished 4th semester. took my pn boards on november 30th and passed. the main reason that i went ahead and took the boards is for two reasons.. #1- being able to actually gain hands on experience in the nursing field to make me more appealing once i become an rn... plus.. we have over 70 students in our class alone.. that is a lot of students who are going to try and sit for the rn boards upon graduation. who knows how long it will take before i will be able to sit. i'd rather be working and keeping everything sharp then sitting on my tush. and #2 - having the experience of taking the boards. glad i did take the boards. i feel a little more prepared for what is to come in may.

    difference between pn and rn.. more critical thinking involved. pn boards are your more general and basic knowledge item questions... which freakin' scares me to death because i was spazing out on whether or not i was going to pass the pn boards.

    i had to pay $285 to sit for the boards, but i felt that it was worth it.

    best of luck to you in 4th semester!
    originally posted by busykim
    i don't know where you live but in many states new grads can get a interim permit- (that is good for 6 mos.) so you can start work while waiting to take boards. that should be plenty of time to get in to take nclex after graduation. i graduated in may and had no difficulty getting a test date in june, just have all your paper work ready for your state and pre-register with pearson (if your state uses them) and study!
    your experience as an lpn will differ than that of a gn (rn), mye614....that's if you're still considering writing the nclex-pn.

    as an *new* lpn, you will not be allow to do certain (& in some states...depending where you are)...many things due to the scope of practice. however, as a gn (rn), you'll function as an rn under the direct supervision of your rn preceptor. you're given practically the same autonomy as the rn...but with some exception (you'll have to be checked-off on certain duties/tasks/didactic skills first). once you've been deemed *safe* as an gn (rn)...then you'll see your autonomy increase over time...much more than a lpn unfortunately. remember...even if you're successful writing the nclex-pn...you may not get hired in the area(s) of your interest as many lpns are restricted to ltc, home health, md offices...etc. some hospitals are just testing the waters of allowing lpns in sub-acute & acute units. just remember...you'll have more of a choice to choose units/facilities as an gn (rn) than an gn (lpn).

    again...whether you've written the lpn exam or simply choose to work as an gn (rn)... just remember though...take the nclex exam with the idea that all scenarios thrown at have the *perfect* situation. in otherwords...don't answers questions based on your experience in the "real world"...but answer them in the "perfect nclex world." what i mean is you'll have plenty of supplies, time on your hands to sit with your pts, have plenty of cooperating mds just sitting there at the ready to give you orders whenever needed. just watch that you don't pass the buck though! if there's a situation that requires further investigation or assessment, then you as the prospective rn must be able to have the necessary knowledge any prudent nsg would have in order to make decisions according to your scope of practice. if it's a situation where you as the rn did do everything possible, then follow your chain of command & then (& only then) do you pass the buck onto your charge nsg, nsg manager, & md.
    in the "real world"...you'll be shown the right way & then the "most efficient" way (which often times isn't the correct way).

    just be-careful in wanting "hands-on" experience in order to sit for the nclex-pn/rn. the best thing for passing the nclex is to know your content review & more important....know what is being asked! the biggest difference i think between the nclex-pn & the nclex-rn is the type of questions asked. if i remember the pn exam correctly, they ask a lot of comprehensive or recall questions as well as pharmacology, nutrition, & basic lab norms questions...but alas...that was over eight years ago. the nclex-pn could've also changed since then...like the nclex-rn did.

    now the nclex-rn asks mainly critical thinking questions where the answer(s) just doesn't jump out at you right way...like the comprehensive or recall questions do (they do have some of this types of quesitons...but they're considered below the passing competency level). most nclex-rn questions are priority based (who would you see first), delegation (what pt would get assigned to which staff...uap, lpn, rn), pharmacology, nutrition, & your standard labs levels (what is expected should the level be above or below the norms). you'll be given situational questions where the question itself doesn't fully give you a clue of what's being asked. you'll have to really read the question (is it asking me something negative or positive, does it have enough info in it..if not, will i need to assess further...if it does...will i just do an implementation?). just remember your basic nsg process & apply those to each question. if you're able to answer enough of those types of questions...then you'll do fine.

    if you're willing to shell out nearly $300.00 buck to prepare, take, & get licensed for your lpn...only to not use it....might i suggest you take that money & instead invest it with a nclex-rn prep course like kaplan. it helped me tremendously! as an lpn with over eight years of experience, i nearly didn't take the course. i thought...well with my experience coupled with my university knowledge base...i would do fine. i probably would have...but after reviewing their material...i can see clearly how many lpns (& gns(rn) for that matter) fail the first time out. i personally liked their nclex-rn review online + qbank being as i worked full-time & have a household to run! i simply worked at my own pace.

    hope this helps somewhat ~ cheers!
    moe
    Last edit by SKM-NURSIEPOOH on Dec 30, '04
  14. by   NursesRmofun
    Quote from mye614
    I am an RN student and just finished my 3rd semester in the program which made me eligible to sit in for the NCLEX-PN/LVN to get my license as an LPN/LVN. Here's my question: What is the difference between the 2? I mean as far as depth of the questions. I've known people who are RN graduate but challenged the NCLEX-PN and passed it on the first try versus at least 2-3 tries in passing the NCLEX-RN. Can someone give me an idea of what kind of questions they give on the NCLEX-PN?
    It was a long time ago and I took the NCLEX-PN when it was still on paper. However, my questions on the LPN test had more- "advise the RN", or "advise the MD" answers. I took the computerized NCLEX-RN test a couple years ago, and that was more priority focused (which patient do you see first), what do you do in response to this symptom/problem, and symptom recognition, as I recall.

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