The NCLEX has changed! The Next Generation NCLEX® (NGN) is the latest version and is now required. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) explains that the Next Gen NCLEX is specifically designed to evaluate nursing candidates’ clinical judgment, placing a stronger emphasis on critical thinking in patient care for future nurses.

For nursing students and prospective nursing students, what does this mean? We answered some of the most frequently asked questions about the NGN.

When Did the Next Generation NCLEX Start?

The Next Generation (NGN) NCLEX went into effect on April 1, 2023.

Why Did the NCLEX Exam Change?

As client needs change, so do the responsibilities of healthcare workers.

The NCSBN conducts a practice analysis every three years to determine the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities for entry-level nurses and evaluate the test plan for the licensure examination. The latest analysis indicated that nurses now care for more critically ill patients than before, requiring them to make more complex decisions and judgments in patient care. Consequently, the NGN was designed to test these clinical judgments.

Are Both the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN Tests Changing?

Yes! The NCSBN made changes to both NCLEX exams.

What Will the NGN Look Like Compared to the Current NCLEX?

The NGN is similar in appearance to the current NCLEX. It will still have the same types of questions as the current NCLEX, but will also feature new item types like extended multiple response and matrix/grid multiple choice. The most significant modification is the split-screen layout for the new case study and stand-alone items.

How Will the Next Generation NCLEX Be Scored?

NGN scoring looks similar to the model of the existing NCLEX. However, one big difference in the NGN is the potential for partial credit. This polytomous scoring method allows test takers to earn credit for partial understanding of a subject.

For example, in the previous NCLEX, Select-all-that-apply questions are marked as correct or incorrect. Under the new polytomous scoring model, candidates can receive points for correcting part of a question.

What Types of Questions Are on the Next Generation NCLEX?

The NGN features a mix of current NCLEX question styles and new NGN items designed to demonstrate entry-level nursing skills, clinical judgment, and overall knowledge. The exam also continues to use computer adaptive testing (CAT) technology.

The following are the New NGN Question Formats:

  • Matrix multiple-choice
  • Matrix multiple-response
  • Multiple-response: Select all that apply
  • Multiple-response: Select N
  • Multiple-response: Grouping
  • Drag-and-drop: Cloze
  • Drag-and-drop: Rationale
  • Drop-down: Cloze
  • Drop-down: Rationale
  • Drop-down: Table
  • Highlight: Text
  • Highlight: Table
  • Bow-tie
  • Trend

How Can I Prepare for the Next Gen NCLEX?

While the format of the NCLEX is changing, the content covered is not. According to the NCSBN, “Any evidence-based curriculum that teaches clinical judgment effectively will provide students with the preparation necessary for the new components of the exam.”

More information about NGN changes can be found on the NCSBN website.

We hope that you found this blog post beneficial. If you have any questions about this post or related topics, please contact us anytime at +1 (301) 277-5580 | | We are always excited to hear from our readers and help them with any concerns they may have. Thank you for reading, and we hope to hear from you soon!
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