Effective January 2015, STFX nursing graduates are eligible to write the NCLEX-RN entry-to practice exam for the purpose of establishing initial nursing registration in Nova Scotia. The NCLEX-RN exam is designed to test knowledge, skills and abilities essential to the safe and effective practice of nursing at the entry level.

STFXU has a strong nursing program and Faculty and Nurse Educators at the School of Nursing have been proactive in preparing the first cohort of students for the NCLEX-RN exam:

This year, during their final year of studies, all fourth year nursing students will have access to three NCLEX practice exams and online software that gives them feedback on their performance on the practice exams as well as targeted resources for areas where they may need to do more work. They were also given information through information sessions. There were information sessions for all students on how to best use the HESI resources to support their preparation for NCLEX. There were also 2-hr workshops provided that reviewed NCLEX content areas as well as NCLEX format.

Additionally, Faculty and Nurse Educators within the School of Nursing have had the opportunity to attend NCLEX question writing seminars. Staff also attended information sessions about how to use HESI resources to support student learning.

St. Francis Xavier University is committed to nursing excellence and will continue to regularly review its curriculum to ensure the curricular integration of all entry-to-practice competencies articulated by the NSCN, that students are prepared to be successful on the new exam and that graduates are prepared to meet the health care needs of Canadians.

For more information on the NCLEX-RN test and registration process, please refer to page 1 of the NCLEX Examination Candidate Bulletin.

Important links for nursing students:

Students with questions about the new exam and how they can best prepare for it, can contact:

Angie Glenn

Question and Answer

How do students apply for the exam?

Candidates requesting accommodation to take the exam must do so in writing to the regulatory body before applying to Pearson VUE. Please skip to the following question for more details.

NCLEX-RN exam registration is now open for both NSCN and Pearson VUE. There are two steps exam candidates must complete before being eligible to write the NCLEX-RN exam:

Step One: Apply to NSCN

Step Two: Apply to Pearson VUE

Exam candidates will not be given an exam date by Pearson VUE until Pearson VUE receives confirmation from NSCN that candidates have completed their nursing program. Therefore it is encouraged that exam candidates wait until they have received graduation notice before applying to write the exam. For more information on the registration process overview, please visit the NSCN website and page 3 of the NCLEX Examination Candidate Bulletin.

Who do students contact and what is the process for submitting an exam accommodation request?

Exam candidates, who believe the administration of the NCLEX-RN exam discriminates against them on a ground prohibited by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act, may request in writing that they be provided accommodation to eliminate or reduce the effects of the prohibited discrimination during the exam.

Exam candidates are responsible for submitting a written request for accommodation to NSCN either before or on the date that they apply to NSCN to take the exam. Contact NSCN Registration Services at if requesting an exam accommodation.

What topics do students need to know for the exam?

The 2014 and 2015 NCLEX-RN Test Plan focused on four major client needs categories:

  • Safe and Effective Care Environment
  • Health Promotion and Maintenance
  • Psychosocial Integrity
  • Physiological Integrity

The NCLEX-RN exam has been modified from its original format, as all exam questions have been reviewed by Canadian nursing peers to ensure it reflects Canada’s current entry-level nursing practice.

For more information on exam content, test development and test plans, please visit page 13 of the NCLEX Examination Candidate Bulletin.

What is a computer adaptive test?

The NCLEX-RN exam uses Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) to administer the exam questions. CAT is able to produce exam results that are more stable using fewer questions by targeting questions to the candidate’s ability.

The computer’s goal during the exam is to determine the ability of the candidate in relation to the passing standard. Every time the candidate answers a question, the computer re-estimates the candidate’s ability. With each additional question answered, the ability estimate of the candidate becomes more precise.

For more information on CAT, including the benefits of this type of testing, please read page 14 of the NCLEX Examination Candidate Bulletin.

Where can students find more exam information?

The NCLEX Examination Candidate Bulletin is integral as an NCLEX-RN exam preparation guide. The bulletin has information on:

  • Registering for the Exam
  • Scheduling Your Exam
  • What to Bring to the Test Site
  • Test Site Rules and Regulations
  • The Day of the Exam
  • NCLEX Content, Test Development and Test Plans
  • NCLEX Psychometrics

Exam candidates are strongly encouraged to visit the NSCN website frequently for new and updated information on the exam.

When and where can students write the NCLEX-RN exam?

Beginning in January 2015, NCLEX-RN exam appointments are available year around at Pearson VUE Professional Centers. The following two locations are available in Nova Scotia.

Permanent Test Center:
Pearson Professional Centre
6960 Mumford Road
Suite 220
Mumford Professional Centre
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3L 4P1

Temporary Test Center:
Hampton Inn Sydney
60 Maillard Street
Sydney, Nova Scotia B1S 3W3
Six days in June (dates to be confirmed)

When are exam candidates notified of their results?

Although the exam is scored as the candidate completes each item, no results are released at the test center. In fact, test center staff do not have access to the exam results.

Examination results are available only from NSCN. At this time, NSCN anticipates that exam results will be released to candidates within 2 weeks of their exam.

What resources are available to students who do not pass the exam?

Students who are not successful on their first writing have the opportunity to re-write the exam 45 days later. When a candidate fails, NSCN sends the candidate a Candidate Performance Report (CPR). This report identifies among a number of things, a summary of the candidate’s relative strengths and weaknesses based on the test plan. This CPR is intended for unsuccessful candidates to use as a study guide before retaking the exam.

During the interim, students are encouraged to get in touch with Michelle MacNeil if they have any questions or concerns about how to prepare for the exam.

Do you expect there to be any impact on pass rates?

St. Francis Xavier University School of Nursing has worked proactively to ensure that the first cohort of NCLEX writers is adequately prepared for the exam. It is important to note that these students will not know the difference between the CRNE and NCLEX, since they have been working with NCLEX-based material in the past year.

The School of Nursing has confidence in the high quality of its nursing education program, however, it is difficult to predict how the first cohort of students will fare in any exam.

Currently, there is no fixed percentage of successful candidates for the NCLEX-RN exam. For more information on NCLEX’s decision rules for individual exams, please read page 15 of the NCLEX Examination Candidate Bulletin.

If students have additional questions, who do they contact?

The NCLEX-RN exam is administered in collaboration with CRNNS, Pearson VUE and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Contact NSCN for questions regarding:

  • NSCN NCLEX-RN Registration
  • Licensure/Registration
  • Name or Address Change
  • Name Corrections
  • Testing Accommodation
  • Approval to take examination

Contact Pearson VUE for questions regarding:

  • Pearson VUE NCLEX-RN Registration
  • Methods of payment
  • Authorization to Test Email
  • Scheduling/Re-scheduling of Exam Appointment
  • Acceptable Forms of Identification
  • Comments about the Test Center

Contact the National Council of State Boards of Nursing for questions regarding:

  • NCLEX Development
  • General NCLEX Information
  • General Questions/Inquiries Relating to Examination Administration

The St. Francis Xavier University School of Nursing has worked to prepare students for the exam, and may also be used as an exam resource when appropriate.

Contact information for any of the above organizations is on page 1 of the NCLEX Examination Candidate Bulletin.