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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
    • 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













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.

Other e-books available through UNB Libraries

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.

Print Study Aids

Print Study Guides

The majority of the NCLEX Guides available in print at the HIL (Fredericton) and the HWK Commons (Saint John) are part of the Reserves system. These books are marked with location codes stating HILRESERVE or HWKRESERVE, and can be borrowed for a period of three days. This is meant to maximize book availability to all students. Some of the older NCLEX review guides are also available from our general collection (HIL-STACKS and HWK-STACKS) and can be borrowed for a full two-weeks as needed.

Click here to view the list of guides available at HIL and HWK Commons


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.)



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Subject Specialties:
Nursing, kinesiology, and psychology.