Why is the NCLEX Changing?

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The NCLEX is changing to the Next Generation NCLEX (NGN) exam to focus on critical decision making and providing correct care. Additionally, the NGN is attempting to protect the public and achieve the best outcomes possible (source).

Nurses have been faced with the NCLEX exam for decades. For those who don’t know, the NCLEX is changing. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is attempting to create an improved NCLEX exam that challenges test takers with a higher level of critical thinking.

Today I’ll be exploring why these changes are happening, and what you should expect with the new NCLEX.


What is the Next Generation NCLEX?

The Next Generation NCLEX is the new evolution of the NCLEX exam. The changes to the NCLEX focus on case studies that students would experience in the real world. Additionally, the NCSBN is expecting nursing school graduates to be able to reflect on critical decisions nurses have to make everyday.

These critical decisions will judge test takers abilities to respond during a critical thinking and response situation. Furthermore, it will focus on the interaction between the nurse and the client with the client’s specific needs and expected outcomes in mind.

They are attempting to hone-in on real world scenarios that nurses experience. These types of scenarios will help determine clinical judgement along with decision making during nursing practice.

What are the Changes to the NCLEX?

The main changes to the NCLEX include several phases of research to adjust the way that test takers experience the exam. However, there is not a lot of information out about what exact changes will be made.

Although there isn’t a lot of information, we do know that the NCSBN will be using a Clinical Judgement Measurement Model (NCJMM) (source). This model is the framework they will use to indicate whether the test taker can make solid clinical judgements and decisions.


What we do know is that the Next Generation NCLEX will have a lot of case studies and be significantly different from the current model.

Final Thoughts

In the end, we know the NCLEX is changing. They are adapting the style of test taking to further improve selection of nurse candidates. While this can be scary for some, it is important to remember the simple steps to ensure success of taking the NCLEX.

And remember, if you fail the NCLEX, it isn’t the end of the world. Make sure to get the proper study materials for your next try.

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Full Time Nurse

Striving to help nurses and nursing students succeed.

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