What Are the Different Types of NCLEX-PN® Questions?

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  • Written By: Jami Yontz
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2019
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The National Council Licensure Examination for Practical/Vocational Nurses (NCLEX-PN®) tests people in the United States who wish to become licensed to practice nursing in their state. It is a computer adaptive test, which means that the test questions change depending on the applicant’s answer to the previous question. There can be anywhere between 85 and 205 questions on the exam, which are broken up into four sections titled Health Promotion and Maintenance, Safe and Effective Care Environment, Physiological Integrity, and Psychosocial Integrity. Each of these subjects include sub-topics. The test is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), which only reports exam scores as pass or fail.

Health promotion and maintenance NCLEX-PN® questions present topics that test the person’s understanding of preventative care and how to present this information to a patient. The test makes sure that the person understands what information needs to be related to the person he or she is caring for, and also tests the ability of the person to recognize that a patient has fully understood the risks of procedures and medical exams. Topics such as heart health, family planning, lifestyle changes, and risk behaviors are covered.


Safe and effective health care NCLEX-PN® questions cover concepts concerning both coordinated care and safety and infection control. Questions in this section test the person’s knowledge of preventing accidents, patient confidentiality, hospital emergency plans, documentation, and work-related codes of conduct. Environmental hazards and poison control issues are also covered. Each question is listed along with four possible answers, from which the test taker has to choose the correct one.

Physiological integrity NCLEX-PN® questions cover basic care and comfort, reduction of risk potential, pharmacological therapies, parental therapies, and physiological adaptation. Many of these questions test the person’s knowledge of medicinal doses, such as how many milligrams of a pain reliever can be given in a certain amount of time. This section of the NCLEX-PN® also tests knowledge of prevention and awareness of complications in a patient.

The fourth section of NCLEX-PN® questions present information related to psychosocial integrity. These questions test the person’s knowledge of patient emotional care. Dealing with stressful occurrences, emotional events, and family dynamics is a large part of the nursing profession. These questions showcase the person’s ability to assist patients in coping, understanding, and moving forward after a medical emergency or illness.


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