The NCLEX Guide

About the NCLEX

Why the NCLEX

In January 2015, the Canadian Council of Registered Nurse Regulators (CCRNR) made the decision to transition from using the Canadian Registered Nurses Exam (CRNE) to using the National Council Licensure Examination-RN (NCLEX-RN) to evaluate graduate nurses’ eligibility for licensure. The decision to make this transition was based on a number of considerations, including a desire to make the exam accessible to students year-round, to shorten the turn-around on exam results for students, and to move to a computer-adaptive testing format. The NCLEX-RN was thoroughly reviewed against Canadian standards and “entry to practice” competencies prior to its adoption in Canada, and was accepted as an appropriate licensure examination for all nurses in Canada (1).  

NCLEX Format

The NCLEX-RN is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) that uses an algorithm to select each subsequent question based on the testees answers to previous questions.  The algorithm estimates the testees ability, and chooses questions that it 'expects' the testee will have a 50% chance of answering correctly; because of the adaptive nature of the test, the test is slightly different in length and difficulty for each testee.  Broadly speaking, the NCLEX-RN can range in length from 75 questions to 265 questions, based on the ratio of correct-to-incorrect answers given by the test-taker (2).

For more information about the CAT and how it works, NCSBN's Examinations Department provides this 6 minute streaming video.

A list of CAT and other NCLEX-related FAQs have also been provided by the NCSBN here.

Registration - New NB Graduates

The Nurse's Association of New Brunswick's (NANB) website provides detailed instructions on the process of application to practice nursing in New Brunswick.  The full details of this process can be found on the NANB website here.  In general, however, the process is as follows:

1.  Complete the NANB online Application for Registration form.

  • Complete the form
  • Pay the NANB processing fee online.
  • Submit proof of legal name.
  • Submit a current criminal record check through CSI Screening.
  • Submit an official final school transcript.

2.  Apply to Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX

  • Apply
  • Receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) from Pearson VUE
  • Schedule an appointment to take the exam
    • Coming exams offered in Fredericton
      • February 2016
      • June / July 2016
      • October 2016
    • Other times are available from out-of-province test centers.

3.  Obtain a Temporary Registration from NANB


NOTE: Students with UNB Nursing degrees who wish to work in a different province (or state) must complete the registration processes specific to that province/territory or state.  For information about those processes, visit their local nursing association websites.

Official Resources

1.  NCSBN: NCLEX and Other Exams

2.  NANB: Registration Examination

3.  2015 Examination Candidate Bulletin












Sources Cited:
1.  College of Nurses of Ontario: Q&As about the NCLEX-RN for exam writers
2.  NCSBN: Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT)

Online Study Aids

E-Book Study Guides

Hargrove-Huttel, R., & Colgrove, K. C. (2014). Prioritization, delegation, & management of care for the NCLEX-RN® Exam. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.

Waide, L., & Roland, B. (2004). The Chicago Review Press NCLEX-PN practice test and review. Chicago, Ill: Chicago Review Press.

Rinehart, G. W., Sloan, D., & Hurd, C. (2011). NCLEX-RN exam cram. Indianopolis, Ind: Pearson Education.

Beare, P. G. (2001). Davis's NCLEX-RN review. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.


Some Free Online Resources

There are a number of free online tools to help RN-candidates prepare for the NCLEX exam.  This is actually one of the major benefits of transitioning to the US-based test: the sheer volume of resources that are now available to prepare for it (that were simply not sustainable with our own testing system).  I have provided a few suggestions about the available resources.

Kaplan: Free NCLEX Practice Questions

Kaplan provides 4 NCLEX-style quizzes with 5 questions each.  Kaplan will provide you with your score out of 5, although access to the justifications and explanations for each answer seem to be restricted in some cases.

Brilliant Nurse: 75 Free NCLEX Review Questions

Has NCLEX style review questions with rationales for correct answers (does not provide explanations for incorrect answers).  Annoying non-ad pop ups distract slightly from the material.

Khan Academy: NCLEX-RN Practice Questions

An extensive bank of practice questions that are grouped by question topic.

Michael Linares: NCLEX-RN YouTube Channel





Please be aware that it is very difficult to evaluate the quality of these online resources. The major review material providers put a lot of work into the development of their materials, and they are (unfortunately) correspondingly more likely to be reliable.

Fredericton Campus

NCLEX Study Guides at the HIL

The majority of the NCLEX Guides available at the HIL are part of the Reserves system. These books will be marked with location codes stating HILRESERVE, and can be borrowed from the Access Services Desk for a period of three days. This is meant to maximize book availability to all students at the Fredericton campus. The guides that have been placed on reserve are:


Lippincott Q & A review for NCLEX-RN

Diane McGovern Billings & Desiree Hansel


Saunders comprehensive review for the NCLEX-RN examination

Linda Anne Silvestri

HILRESERVE RT55 .S483 2014

NCLEX-RN drug guide : 300 medications you need to know for the exam

Kaplan Publishing

HILRESERVE RM310 .N39 2013

Saunders strategies for test success : Passing nursing school and the NCLEX examination

Linda Anne Silvestri

HILRESERVE RT55 .S4875 2010


One copy of the NCLEX study review board game, RNtertainment, has also been placed on reserve in the library. This game is on a one-day reserve. When borrowing this game, please be prepared to give the Access Services staff call number provided below.


Mosby’s RNtertainment : An NCLEX examination review board game

Karen Trafton (Mosby, Inc.)



Some of the older NCLEX review guides are available from our general collection (in HIL-STACKS) and can be borrowed for a full two-weeks as needed. These books are:



Alice M Stein & Judith C Miller

HIL-STACKS RT55 .N73 2000

American nursing review for NCLEX RN

Carol J Bininger

HIL-STACKS RT42 .A43 1998

American nursing review for NCLEX-PN

Leona A Mourad

HIL-STACKS RT62 .M68 1995

Saint John Campus

NCLEX Study Guides at the HWK Commons

The NCLEX Guides available at the HWK Commons are part of the Reserves system.  These books will be marked with location codes stating HWKRESERVE, and can be borrowed for a period of two hours.  This is meant to maximize book availability to all students at the Saint John campus.  The guides that have been placed on reserve are:


Lippincott Q & A review for NCLEX-RN

Diane McGovern Billings & Desiree Hensel


NCLEX-RN exam prep

Wilda Rinehart Gardner & Clara Hurd

HWKRESERVE RT55 .R564 2014

Moncton Campus

NCLEX Study Guides at the Moncton Campus Library

The Moncton campus library has a large of NCLEX study guides available for general loan. Loan periods are two-weeks and can be renewed as needed (as long as the book has not been requested by another student).


Lippincott’s Q & A review for NCLEX-RN

Diane McGovern Billings & Desiree Hensel

MONCTON RT55 .B55 2014

NCLEX-RN exam prep

Wilda Rinehart Gardner, Diann Sloan & Clara Hurd

MONCTON RT55 .R56 2014

Saunders Q&A review for the NCLEX-RN examination

Linda Anne Silvestri

MONCTON RT55 .S487 2012

Prioritization, delegation, and assignment : Practice exercises for the NCLEX examination

Linda A LaCharity, Candice K Kumagai & Barbara Bartz

MONCTON RT55 .L33 2011

NCLEX-RN excel : Test success through unfolding case study review

Ruth A Wittmann-Price & Brenda Reap Thomspon

MONCTON RT55 .N35 2010

Stressed out about the NCLEX-RN

Patricia M Pierce

MONCTON RT55 .P545 2007

Mosby’s RNtertainment : An NCLEX examination review board game

Karen Trafton (Mosby, Inc.)

MONCTON RT55 .M67 2006


In addition to the NCLEX review materials, the Moncton library also holds two review books that were targeted at the previous RN examination (the CRNE).  The materials have the advantage of being Canadian in content, and using the metric measurement system (which will be tested in the Canadian version of the NCLEX).


Lippincott’s CRNE prep guide

Elaine Schow & Christina Murray

MONCTON RT55 .L55 2009

The Canadian registered nurse exam prep guide

Canadian Nurse’s Association

MONCTON RT55 .C38 2005



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