New Next Gen NCLEX: What You Need to Know

Back in 2019, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) announced format changes and test updates to the NCLEX. Here’s what you need to know about the Next Gen NCLEX being released later this year. 

Why is the NCLEX changing?

The updates aim to test critical thinking, judgement, and decision-making skills in addition to technical knowledge.

When does it start?

The NCSBN confirmed that the Next Gen NCLEX will begin on April 1, 2023. Students who began nursing school during or after the Fall of 2021 will be the first to test it.

Concept Changes

The Next Gen NCLEX will aim to measure clinical judgment ability. 

Students will be tested on “the observed outcome of critical thinking and decision-making…an iterative process that uses nursing knowledge to:

  1. Observe and assess presenting situations
  2. Identify a prioritized client concern
  3. Generate the best possible evidence-based solutions to deliver safe client care”

Format Changes

New item types have been added to the test format, including: 

Extended Drag & Drop Items

This item asks you to pair items from two columns. For example, you may be asked to pair room assignments with patient scenarios.

Matrix Grid

Matrix items outline a scenario and patient data, then ask you to make judgments about the findings by checking appropriate boxes in a supporting matrix.

Cloze (Drop Down)

These questions present a narrative case study, then ask for up to six responses regarding the proper course of care.

Enhanced Hot Spot

These items also present a scenario with patient data. You’ll be asked to highlight specific sections in the scenario to answer questions.

Extended Multiple Choice

This video explains three item types within the extended multiple choice interaction grouping: Select all that apply (SATA), Multiple response select N (a specified number) or MR-N, and Multiple Response Grouping. 

Standalone Items: Bow-Tie & Trend

Case Study information is presented in the form of medical record tabs. There are 6-question sets which progress you from recognizing and analyzing findings, then making clinical judgments to provide appropriate care and evaluate the client’s response.

How to study for it?

Make sure you understand and comprehend (not just memorize) the material. Finding a tutor, mentor, or study group to help you simulate real-world situations and practice critical thinking is also a good idea.