What is the Next Generation NCLEX (NGN)? 

The NCLEX is changing in 2023! The Next Generation NCLEX® (NGN) will be the new version of the NCLEX exam 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 will the Next Generation NCLEX Start? 

The Next Generation NCLEX will go into effect on April 1, 2023.  

Nursing candidates taking the NCLEX before this date may have the opportunity to take a “special research section” at the end of their test. This section does not count towards your overall score, but it helps NCSBN’s research team in testing new question formats.  

Why is the NCLEX Exam Changing? 

As patient 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 critical judgments. 

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

Yes! The NCSBN is making changes to both NCLEX exams in 2023.  

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

The NGN will not look much different than the current NCLEX exams do. 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 will look 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 current 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 will feature 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 will continue to use computer adaptive testing (CAT) technology.  

The following are the New NGN Question Formats: 

  • Extended Multiple Response  
    • Select All That Apply (SATA) 
    • Select N 
    • Multiple Response Grouping
  • Extended Drag & Drop 
    • Cloze 
    • Rationale 
  • Drop Down 
    • Cloze 
    • Rationale 
    • In Table 
  • Highlight (Enhanced Hot Spot) 
    • In Text 
    • In Table 
  • Matrix/Grid 
    • Multiple Response 
    • Multiple Choice 
  • Bowtie 
  • 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.” 

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

Tags: NCLEXNursing

The writing staff at BoardVitals is passionate about medicine, healthcare, and education. We’ve trained over 1.5 million physicians and work with more than 300 top teaching institutions. Learn more about our board review and continuing education products at boardvitals.com.

Try BoardVitals free for 10 days.

Free Trial. No credit card required.