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Understand the details about the NCLEX-RN in Canada – Succeed with Lippincott

Understand the Details About the NCLEX-RN in Canada – Succeed with Lippincott

The U.S. National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX®) in Canada recently replaced the CRNE as Canada’s national examination for those applying to be a registered nurse. But you need to understand what exactly it is and how it is administered in order to effectively help your students prepare for and pass the exam. By partnering with Wolters Kluwer, you can boost your students’ NCLEX pass rates and better prepare them for real-world practice.

Aligned to the 2016 NCLEX test plan, Lippincott PassPoint is designed to meet the needs of both U.S. and Canadian students. Compared to the U.S. NCLEX passing average (83.04%), students who reported using Lippincott PassPoint during their final semester at nursing school had a 94.59% pass rate on the NCLEX.

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“There’s no comparison. PassPoint is the best product I have ever used.”

– Susan Snellgrove, PhD, APN,

Arkansas State University

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What is the NCLEX?

The NCLEX exam is a computer-adaptive test used to determine whether or not a candidate is prepared for entry-level nursing practice. The NCLEX uses CAT (computer adaptive testing) to administer the exam, which is designed to improve precision of measurement of the candidate’s ability and provides a valid and reliable measurement of his or her nursing competence.

The NCLEX is one component of the nursing regulatory licensure process; other requirements depend on the specific area in which the candidate is looking to practice. Candidates should contact their regulatory body or board of nursing for more information if needed.

What is the NCLEX format?

The NCLEX is computer adaptive and questions are selected based on each candidate’s ability and success in answering previous questions correctly. The more questions the candidate answers correctly, the harder the questions become, and the fewer he/she will have to answer to pass. Candidates answering more questions incorrectly will continue to be served easier questions, but will still seem challenging based on their performance up to that point. The exam ends when the computer system determines with 95% confidence that a candidate’s performance is either above or below the passing standard, regardless of the number of questions answered. Students cannot skip questions; they must answer in order to move on. RN candidates answer a minimum of 75 questions and a maximum of 265; the exact number will be determined by his or her test performance. NCLEX-RN candidates have six hours to complete the exam.

What are the test categories?

The NCLEX exam covers 4 major client needs categories:

  • Safe, effective care environment
    • Management of care
    • Safety and infection control
  • Psychosocial integrity
  • Health promotion and maintenance
  • Physiological integrity
    • Basic care and comfort
    • Pharmacological and parenteral therapies
    • Reduction of risk potential
    • Physiological adaptation

In the simulated exams, PassPoint pulls the same percentage of questions from each client needs category as does the actual NCLEX- giving students an authentic practice experience.

What is the passing standard?

After students have answered the minimum number of questions, the computer will attempt to assess their level of competence. If, at this time, students are clearly above the passing standard, they will pass. Students clearly below the standard after the minimum number of questions is answered will fail. If a student is too close to the standard, he or she will continue to answer questions until a final assessment can be made.

PassPoint works in the same way. We have a passing benchmark based on data from thousands of students who have answered these questions, and the system looks to see if students are staying above that benchmark during their simulated exams.


How to prepare: 

Educators should become familiar with the current NCLEX Test Plan, its corresponding content distribution and examination delivery methodology. Visit for more information.

NCLEX pass rates are a critical concern to nursing programs, and they dropped significantly in 2013 and 2014. Wolters Kluwer has proven results showing NCLEX pass rate of students using Lippincott PassPoint to prepare are 94.59%, more than 12% higher than U.S. averages.* Lippincott PassPoint is the only NCLEX exam preparation solution officially endorsed by the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association. 

Lippincott PassPoint is also the only solution available that provides students an authentic opportunity to take practice quizzes and to simulate the comprehensive NCLEX as if the student were actually taking the test; both experiences are adaptive, just like the NCLEX. And it gives you real-time insight into student performance, so you can identify at-risk students much earlier in the process. By utilizing PassPoint to prepare for the NCLEX, students won’t have any surprises on exam day; they will be thoroughly prepared and ready to succeed!

Lippincott PassPoint provides:

  • Formative Assessment – higher insight into student learning and performance than summative testing provides
  • Adaptive Quizzing – personalized learning to guide progress
  • Simulated Adaptive Exams – unlimited opportunity to practice in an authentic environment
  • Remediation to Evidence-Based Content – trusted content when and where students need more help
  • Real-time Reporting – insight into student and class performance

*An Investigation of Student Use of PassPoint and NCLEX Success, by Julia C. Phelan, PhD

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Answers for Canadian Educators and Students

Both Canadian and U.S. nurses now take the same NCLEX RN exam for entry to practice, with the same passing processes and scores. All questions are in accordance with the entry-level scope of practice in Canada, and questions include both metric and imperial measurement options. Cost to take the exam is $360 CDN. Candidates can take the exam three times if needed, and their respective colleges will receive the results within two weeks of taking the exam.

NCSBN FAQ’s for Canadian students/faculty

Adaptive Practice

The NCLEX-RN is a Computerized Adaptive Test (CAT) that interactively adapts, question by question, based on the candidate’s past responses.

Wolters Kluwer offers authentic practice with adaptive learning and testing with Lippincott PassPointPassPoint is powered by the adaptive learning platform, PrepU, which is already in use by thousands of students in the U.S. and Canada. PassPoint offers students practice with adaptive quizzing so they can increase their mastery, and also with simulated adaptive exams, students will be ready on exam day. PassPoint also gives you real-time insight into student performance, so you can identify at-risk students much earlier in the process. Your students will receive individualized learning, personalized feedback, and will improve their learning, retention, and NCLEX readiness every step of the way.

Ensure your nursing students get the evidence-based help they need while also gaining confidence through authentic NCLEX practice by incorporating Lippincott PassPoint into your curriculum.

Here's how 

NCLEX Prep Resources

To help prepare your students for the NCLEX, Wolters Kluwer offers the following print and digital resources, all aligned with the most recent test plan and appropriate for U.S. and Canadian students. These include:

Print Resources

  • Billings/Hensel: Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN, 12e, 2016
  • Cox-Davenport: Lippincott Fast Facts for NCLEX-RN, 2e, 2016
  • Rupert: Lippincott NCLEX-RN Alternate-Format Questions, 6e, 2016
  • Lisko: NCLEX-RN Questions and Answers Made Incredibly Easy!, 7e (publishing fall 2016)