What is the Next Generation NCLEX (NGN)? 

nclex ngn

The NCLEX has changed! The Next Generation NCLEX® (NGN) is the newest version of the NCLEX required for all prospective registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the Next Gen NCLEX is designed to assess clinical judgment in nursing candidates, and test updates emphasize critical thinking in patient care among 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.  

Every 3 years, the NCSBN performs a practice analysis to determine “the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for entry-level nurses and to evaluate the validity of the test plan that guides content distribution of the licensure examination.” The results of the most recent analysis showed that nurses today are caring for more critically ill patients than ever before. As a result, nurses now need to make more complex decisions and judgments in patient care. The NGN is 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 does not look much different than the current NCLEX does. All current NCLEX question types will remain and will include some new item types such as extended multiple response and matrix/grid multiple choice. The biggest change is the new split-screen format found in 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 on 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 getting part of a question correct. 

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 preparation necessary for the new components of the exam.” 

The BoardVitals NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN Question Banks have been updated for desktop users with Next Gen questions to help you prepare for the exam. Elevate your NGN success with new question types, partial scoring, and updated adaptive testing (CAT) ranges.

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

Tags: NCLEXNursing

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