What's the deal with the 25 test items that aren't scored?

Students NCLEX


Hey all, I just took my NCLEX-PN Wed 6/17. It was a nightmare. Yeah I started the out of body experience around 50 or 60. They state in the literature that the amount or number you shut off at doesn't give anyone an accurate outcome of passing or failing. We knew that going in. Although some of us (definitely me) felt that I did not pass this exam. About 5 mulitple choices, 5 med calc math, and the entire remainder of my exam was all SATA. What could be worse than that scenario? I don't think I got enough of the SATA correct at all, and know I did poorly on the peds drug calcs. I walked out of the testing center doing what felt like a Thorazine shuffle. Got into the car and pulled right out in front of a taxi cab. My mind was bent.

Question: The NCLEX booklet (now that I have actually read it thoroughly) states that there are 25 pretest items that are not scored. (not the same as thrown out?) How does that factor in to your exam if you feel you did poorly. All I could think after the test was that I got most or so many of them wrong, and then started bargaining with myself all night about what if some of the 25 not scored were just plain wrong answers on my part. Would this help us or makes no difference at all? Any thoughts?

Specializes in NICU.

25 test questions that aren't scored? I've never head of that, but then maybe they've changed it since I took it 4 years ago :confused:


6 Posts

Specializes in Urgent Care,Urology,Mental health.

I haven't heard of this before. My only guess is that the 25 questions that are not scored are intended to help you relax before you have to answer the real questions. I know I have test anxiety, if the 25 unscored questions were really easy then I think it would help me relax and answer the real questions better. Just an opinion.

newtress, LPN

431 Posts

Specializes in med surg ltc psych.

Well, according to my 2009 NCLEX Examination candidate bulletin booklet given to me to register for the exam, I came across the information under the bold heading "Pretest items" on pg 15 of the booklet, first paragraph upper right hand corner. Hundreds of students have this very same booklet issued to us. I don't want to overstep any boundries by requoting this printed material if I shouldn't, but it does state that there are 15 pretest items on EVERY NCLEX-RN examination, and 25 on EVERY NCLEX-PN examination. It is explaining how the Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) is scored and says the difficulty of each item must be known in advance. Because the difficulty of these pretest items is not known in advance, these items are not included when estimating the candidates ability or making pass-fail decisions. When enough responses are collected, the pretest items are statistically analyzed and calibrated. If the pretest items meet the NCLEX statistical standards, they can be administered in future examinations as scored items. Well, this did leave me with some food for thought, and other classmates tried to make me feel a little better about testing by mentioning this very subject to me. I certainly don't know if this has any bearing or meaning on our final results, and by no means I am no statistical expert; only what I read from official material from NCSBN.

Cheri234, BSN

74 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac PICU, PICU, NICU.

Those test items have no bearing at all on whether or not you pass or fail. They are just questions that are being tested out to determine if they should be used on future NCLEX test as actual test questions. Everyone who takes the test gets the same amount of pretest questions but no one ever knows which ones they are or where they appear in the test. So you just do your best and answer every single question to the best of your ability!

Silverdragon102, BSN

1 Article; 39,477 Posts

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC.

Good answer Cheri They are tested to see if they are suitable for future tests and have no bearing on your score.

I'm so lost what does SATA mean? I've never heard of it and I'm scheduled to take the NCLEX-PN next month.

newtress, LPN

431 Posts

Specializes in med surg ltc psych.

Select all that applies.


62 Posts

I took the NCLEX-PN on June 19th. I had TONS of SATA as well.

newtress, LPN

431 Posts

Specializes in med surg ltc psych.

Whippoorwill, how do you think you did? Did you feel that you were successfully getting most of those SATA questions answered without feeling like you may have had one too many selected or some lacking on your responses? That's where I don't feel my exam was any reflection on what I truly and honestly know to be knowledge. Plus none of mine had any diseases, all of mine were a theme of what your patient's replies back to you would be for self medicating after discharge. No pre op or post op interventions were asked of me either. It was as if it was not even a nursing exam to me. So... I don't think I could have successfully met the minimun requirement on an exam that was 80% SATA, the rest med math calculations including pediatric, and about 4 or 5 multiple choices. It made me look real bad the way the pattern was on mine. What's your gut feeling on yours?


38,333 Posts

I would not be concerned with the extra test questions since they have no bearing on your score and you can not identify which ones they are.

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