If you are considering or pursuing a career as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), passing your LPN test will require your dedication and absolute focus. Although your examination for licensure may vary slightly according to your state board of nursing requirements, the LPN test questions are universally similar and a passing score ultimately awards you with a nursing license.
What is on the LPN Exam
The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is designed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) for testing a prospective nurse’s ability and comprehension to practice as a licensed nurse. The LPN and licensed vocational nurse (LVN) are interchangeable and follow the same steps to licensure. Traditionally, multiple-choice questions include areas of nursing care such as:
- Medication route, purpose, precautions, dosage calculation and actions
- Management of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disorders
- Surgical nursing that includes the proper care of patient pre-operatively and recovery
- Basic nursing care of patients across the lifespan
- The steps performed in emergency medical interventions and safety
Steps to Passing the Examination
Passing your NCLEX-PN licensure examination goes beyond studying and memorizing course material. Nurses are required to possess critical thinking and reasoning skills that require scientific knowledge, intuition based on facts and decisions that quantify the act of caring for your patient’s well being.
The questions on the LVN and LPN test are constructed with evidence-based research to predict your ability to function as a safe, knowledgeable and compassionate entry-level nurse. Awareness of applying for the test, preparation for the exam day and understanding your test results is an important part of becoming an LPN.
Application for Testing
After successful graduation of your state-approved LPN program, you may be eligible to request an application from your state board by mail or from downloading a pdf copy from the official website for Authorization to Test (ATT). Ensure your application is complete by providing requested items indicated by your state board such as:
- Application fees (vary by state)
- Transcripts from your LPN program
- Background check and fingerprint cards
- Completed application forms
After receiving permission to test by the nursing board, ensure that you check your validity dates and avoid the expiration of your ATT from the state board. Most states allow an average period of 90 days to accomplish testing. Next, register for the NCLEX with a Pearson VUE computerized testing center at a location near your residence. According to Pearson VUE in 2013, testing fees are $200.
The Day of the Exam
Ensure that you reduce your stress by sleeping the night before, eating a nutritious breakfast and dressing comfortably on the day of your computerized test. With up to five hours to complete approximately 85 to 205 questions, you have plenty of time to relax and pace your responses. As reported by the Pearson VUE testing centers in 2014, requirements and tips for testing day include:
- Arrive 30 minutes early for instructions
- Provide acceptable identification with a photo
- A calculator and note paper is provided on your screen
Although your testing center cannot give you the results of your nursing exam, your state board of nursing may offer a result in 48 hours after you complete your test as a fee-based service. Otherwise, most state boards provide you with results by mail in seven days to six weeks.
If you have not correctly answered the required LPN test questions accurately, you can retake the test at a future date. Candidates who have not passed receive a performance report that outlines the areas of nursing they need to review and may be a helpful study tool.
When you feel prepared to retake your LPN licensure exam, notify your state board of nursing and find out the exact fees, applications and information you require to retake your LPN exam.
Tips to Pass the LPN Exam
Perhaps the most important component to passing the NCLEX to become an LPN is the completion of an accredited certificate program from a school that is dedicated to providing you with the necessary knowledge and skills to pass the LPN test and succeed as a licensed nurse.
Other tips that may help you pass the LPN exam include strategies such as:
- Gain an understanding of the NCSBN testing process and format as a part of test preparation
- Review your program course work, textbooks and notes from the classroom and skills training
- Organize or join a study group that shares information, study tips and tests your knowledge
- Use official practice exams that focus on the NCLEX format, questions and content
Preparation for your LPN license exam includes your dedication to studying course material, adhering to your state board of nursing application process and researching the requirements and format of the NCLEX examination. As a nurse candidate, use your training to approach the LPN test with confidence, perseverance and diagnostic rationale.