Best Free Online Next-Gen NCLEX-RN Study Guide

This free online study guide will help nursing students prepare to take and ace their Next-Gen NCLEX-RN. Resources

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The NCLEX-RN is a computerized adaptive test (CAT) designed to determine if nursing candidates meet minimum competency for entry into nursing practice. Minimum competency means that test-takers can make safe and sound nursing judgments and apply what they've learned in nursing school.

It measures their ability to make careful decisions through the application of nursing knowledge, as well as analyzing data that is presented in each test question.

Many nursing students and new grad nurses have expressed difficulty getting started with their NCLEX prep journey. As a result, we created a study guide that will help you focus your time and energy on what's most important, so you can be on your way to passing the NCLEX.

Sections for Next-Gen NCLEX-RN Study:

NCLEX-RN Background

The NCLEX went live in 1994 after the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) spent seven years conducting numerous studies and trials to ensure the computerized NCLEX was meeting the needs of keeping the public safe.

This new way of testing helped to increase candidate academic integrity, improved accuracy in scoring, and made the process for recording results and issuing nursing licenses much easier for the State Boards of Nursing.


The Next-Gen NCLEX-RN is the most recent version of the exam by the NCSBN, launched on April 1, 2023. The Next-Gen NCLEX-RN aims to ensure that the exam reflects the evolving healthcare landscape and the changing demands of nursing practice.

As per NCSBN, one of the critical areas of focus and updates in the Next-Gen NCLEX-RN is their clinical judgment measurement model, "developed as a framework for the valid measurement of clinical judgment and decision making within the context of a standardized, high-stakes examination. While clinical judgment and decision-making have been important elements in most prelicensure education programs for many years, significant research and development were required to isolate and measure these traits with psychometric rigor."

The clinical judgment measurement model follows multiple layers, "starting from the broadest layer 0 defining the context of the clinical situation to the most specific contextual layer 4. It's recommended that test-takers carefully review the information provided by NCSBN and their sample questions and exam preview before testing.

Next-Gen NCLEX-RN Format

The Next-Gen NCLEX-RN includes a minimum of 85 and a maximum of 145 questions, including 15 pre-test questions that don't count toward your final pass, with a maximum test time of 5 hours. It's computerized adaptive test (CAT) format will stop administering questions once it is 95% sure whether a student will pass or fail.

Overall, the Next-Gen NCLEX-RN is intended to prepare nurses for the complex healthcare environment better and ensure that newly licensed RNs are equipped with the necessary competencies to provide safe and quality care to patients.


Q: If you fail the NCLEX-RN, when can you retake it?

If you fail the NCLEX, the exact time frame for when you can retake the exam depends on the policies of the regulatory board or nursing authority in the state or jurisdiction where you plan to be licensed. Generally, the waiting period can vary from a few weeks to several months. Check with your state board of nursing for exact rules.

Q: How many times can you take the NCLEX-RN?

The number of times you can take the NCLEX-RN depends on the policies set by the regulatory board or nursing authority in your state or jurisdiction. Generally, there is no limit on the number of attempts allowed to take the NCLEX-RN, but certain jurisdictions may have specific rules. Check with your state board of nursing for exact rules.

Q: What happens if you don't pass the NCLEX-RN?

It can be disheartening, but it is important to remember that you have options and opportunities to try again. Typically, those who do not pass will receive a notification of exam results in a report or letter, including an analysis of performance. Use the waiting period to review and target your study focus before retaking the exam.

It's also essential to change your study plan before retaking the exam. For example, if you first completed a self-study exam prep course, try finding a nurse specializing in one-on-one or small-group exam prep. The individualized attention and feedback from these courses can be just what you need to pass the exam.

Editorial Team / Admin

Julia Liou has 3 years experience as a RN and specializes in Postpartum/Public Health.

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