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Below I'll go over everything you need to know about when the NCLEX may shut off on you.

Spoiler Alert: There's really only a handful of reasons why that would happen.

Can the NCLEX Shut Off at Any Time?

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The NCLEX will shut off for 3 reasons. When you run out of time or questions. Or when the computer determines with 95% confidence, if it keeps asking you questions, you'll stay above the passing line (PASS) or below the passing line (FAIL).

NCLEX Prep Academy
Check out the comprehensive NCLEX prep review that I recommend. Don't bother with other NCLEX preps that overpromise and underdeliver. Did I mention they have a 99.86% NCLEX pass rate?

How is the NCLEX Scored?

I've written several articles about how the NCLEX is scored and what score you need to pass the NCLEX.

Check out those linked articles for a more detailed answer. In short, the NCLEX uses what's called computer adaptive testing (CAT) to determine when you'll pass or fail the NCLEX.

Because of that, the NCLEX itself is very unique in how it works. With that said, there are some guidelines that the NCLEX follows to determine when it could shut off the exam on you.

When Will the NCLEX Shut Off

1. When You Run Out of Time

You only have so long to take the NCLEX. As of this writing, the time limit to take the NCLEX is 5 hours.

This means that if the computer hasn't made a determination within 5 hours, the exam ends, and other scoring rules are used to determine whether you pass or fail.

2. When The Computer Determines You Passed or Failed

When the computer can determine with 95% confidence whether you'll stay above or below the passing line with continuous questions, the exam will end.

NOTE:
This only comes into play AFTER you've answered the minimum number of questions on the NCLEX.

At the time of this writing, the minimum number of questions is 75. This is for both the NCLEX-RN and the NCLEX-PN.

If you're wondering what happens if you don't answer the minimum number of questions before running out of time, check out the linked article above that explains how the NCLEX is scored.

3. When You Reach the Maximum Number of Questions

If the computer can't determine your passing status before you answer the maximum number of questions at that point, the NCLEX will shut off.

A different set of rules will come into place to determine whether you'll fail or pass the NCLEX.

How to Be Successful on the NCLEX

There are many things you can do as a student to help you be more successful on the nursing licensure exam.

One of the best ways is to get a good NCLEX prep course. Check out the one I'm currently recommending.

NCLEX Prep Academy
Check out the comprehensive NCLEX prep review that I recommend. Don't bother with other NCLEX preps that overpromise and underdeliver. Did I mention they have a 99.86% NCLEX pass rate?

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Frequently Asked Questions

There's a 5-hour time limit on the NCLEX. This time limit includes the scheduled breaks and any other breaks you may take.