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NCLEX RN Exam: How to Get Authorization and Pass the Test

November 1, 2021

What is NCLEX RN Exam?

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX RN) is an exam all nursing students must pass to become licensed registered nurses in the United States.

While nursing school exams are knowledge-based, the NCLEX RN exam tests application and analysis using the nursing knowledge you learned in school. You will be tested on how you can use critical thinking skills to make nursing judgments.

If you are an international nurse preparing to take the NCLEX RN exam, here are five steps to sit for the NCLEX exam:

STEP 1: Prepare for the NCLEX Exam

Prepare diligently for the NCLEX RN exam. Our international nursing agency offers a special NCLEX scholarship for eligible candidates to cover an NCLEX review program's costs.

STEP 2: How to Get Authorization to Test for NCLEX RN?

Before you can take the exam, you’ll need an Authorization to Test for NCLEX (ATT). To get this, you’ll need to apply to a NRB and then register for NCLEX with Pearson VUE. You’ll want to start this process well in advance of your target date for taking the NCLEX exam. Do not wait until your NCLEX ATT is close to expiration to schedule your exam.

Start the application process at least 6 months in advance. This will give the Board of Nurses (BON) time to approve your application and send you an ATT code. It is also enough time to fix any issues or errors that may come up during the application process.

Find an application on your state’s BON website. In your search engine type “_______ State Board of Nursing” (for example Texas). Click on your state’s BON website in the results list. On the website, click “Applicants” or “Applications and Forms.” You will be redirected to a page that contains access to the application, and instructions on how to fill out the application.

Fill out an application online if you have a computer. Fill out all of the required information, including your personal identification information and information about your education. You will also need to provide your school’s 10-digit code. Before submitting your application, review the information to make sure it is correct. Then pay the licensing fee with a credit card or an electronic check. You can ask your school of nursing for its 10-digit code, or you can obtain it from the this handy NCSBN spreadsheet.

Or, you can also download and fill out a paper application from your state’s BON website. Complete all of the required information. To pay the licensing fee, make a check payable to your state’s BON. Once you complete the application, mail it with the check to your state’s BON address.

Important Tips to Keep in Mind:

  • Some states require more exhaustive educational and English language certifications (even if your nursing program was in English) before authorizing an international nurse to sit for the NCLEX exam. Choose wisely
  • Bear in mind you should choose a Board issuing an actual license and not just a pass letter. Initially, it really doesn’t matter which license you receive. It can be endorsed into the state where you end up working. AVOID filing through states that won’t issue a license without a social security card! You can endorse your nursing license to a different state at a later date. It’s not uncommon for a U.S. nurse to hold three, five, or even 10+ licenses for different states.

STEP 3: Register and pay the NCLEX Exam fee to Pearson Vue

Visit the Pearson VUE website to register for the NCLEX exam online. Click “Register” on the webpage. Fill out the registration application. Include a valid email address and your school’s 10-digit code. Pay the $200 registration fee with a VISA, MasterCard, or American Express credit card.

Call Pearson VUE NCLEX candidate services to register over the phone. If you are American or Canadian, call toll-free at 1-866-496-2539. Make sure to have your credit card ready to pay the $200 registration fee over the phone. The center is open Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 7 PM Central Standard Time.

  • Asia Pacific regions, call +852-3077-4923 (not a toll-free number)
  • Europe, the Middle East, or Africa, call +44-161-855-7445 (not toll-free)
  • India, call 91-120-439-7837 (not a toll-free number)
  • For those who live in a country not listed, call 1-952-905-7403 (not a toll-free number)

Re-register after 365 days if you are denied eligibility. After you register with Pearson VUE, your account will remain active for 365 days. This gives you time for the BON to approve that you may take the NCLEX exam. If the BON does not approve your application before 365 days, you will need to re-register. You will also have to pay the exam fee again.

  • If the Nursing Jurisprudence Exam (NJE) and Pearson VUE registration are not complete when the BON reviews your application, they may not approve it
  • Do not re-register before your current account expires. If you do, the second registration is processed and denied

STEP 4: Wait to schedule the NCLEX Exam until you receive the Acknowledgement

If the BON approves you, you will receive your ATT through the email that you used to register with Pearson VUE. The ATT contains your authorization number, candidate number, and an expiration date. ATT’s are typically valid for 90 days, but some may expire before or after 90 days. You must test within the time period BON specifies. ATT validity dates cannot be extended for any reason. If you do not test within the timeframe of the ATT, you will need to re-register and pay the registration fees again.
If the BON approved you, but you did not receive your ATT, or if you lost your NCLEX ATT, call Candidate Services at 1-866-496-2539.

STEP 5: Schedule your NCLEX Exam with Pearson VUE

Schedule your exam appointment online if you have a computer. Go to the Pearson VUE's website and sign in with your username and password. Request a date and time to take the NCLEX exam at your preferred testing center. First-time test takers are offered an appointment within 30 days. Repeat candidates are offered an appointment within 45 days.

  • If your original time or date is unavailable, you will be offered an alternative time or date. If the new date or time does not work for you, you can decline it and schedule an appointment later than 30 to 45 days
  • Do not wait until your NCLEX ATT is almost expired to schedule an appointment.

Call NCLEX Candidate services to schedule an exam appointment. Make sure to have your ATT and Passport or other identifying information on-hand. Request a date and time to take the NCLEX Rn exam at your preferred testing center:

  • U.S. or Canada, call toll-free at 1-866-496-2539
  • Asia Pacific regions, call +852-3077-4923 (not a toll-free number)
  • Europe, the Middle East, or Africa, call +44-161-855-7445 (not a toll-free number)
  • India, call 91-120-439-7837 (not a toll-free number)
  • If you live in a country not listed, call 1-952-905-7403 (not a toll-free number)

Check your information once you receive your confirmation email. After scheduling your NCLEX exam appointment, you will receive a Confirmation of Appointment email. Make sure all of your information is correct in the email. Additionally, check online to make sure your NCLEX exam appointment is scheduled.
*If you do not receive a confirmation email, or if any of your information is incorrect, call Pearson VUE NCLEX Candidate services.


For more information ON NCLEX EXAM DAY, click here

For more information AFTER THE NCLEX EXAM, click here