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RN Exam

The 10 provincial/territorial RN regulators have chosen the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) as the provider of the Canadian RN entry-to-practice exam, starting in 2015. The last administration of CNA’s exam, the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE), was October 1, 2014. The new entry-to-practice exam in Canada being provided by NCSBN is called the NCLEX-RN.

Please consult your provincial or territorial regulatory body and NCSBN for additional information on the new NCLEX-RN.

FAQs

For candidates who wrote the CRNE on October 1, 2014
For candidates writing the RN exam in 2015 and beyond

Q. How long does it take to receive my CRNE results?
Q. What is the pass mark for the CRNE?
Q. What is a scaled score? Why is the CRNE using scaled scores?
Q. I failed by only a few points. Why can’t it be considered a pass?
Q. How are the questions marked?
Q. Does each question have equal weight on the exam?
Q. Do I get penalized for guessing if I do not know the correct answer?
Q. How do I request a hand score?
Q. How do I interpret my Performance Profile?
Q. What if I was unsuccessful on the CRNE in 2014?

Q. How long does it take to receive my CRNE results?

A. Your CRNE result will be sent to your provincial or territorial regulatory authority four to six weeks after the examination. The regulatory authority will then mail your result to you; the length of time it takes for you to receive your result from the regulatory authority varies, depending on the jurisdiction.

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Q. What is the pass mark for the CRNE?

A. A final scaled score of 550 or higher is a pass. A final scaled score below 550 is a fail. The range of the scaled scores is 200 to 800.

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Q. What is a scaled score? Why is the CRNE using scaled scores?

A. A scaled score is a transformation of a candidate’s raw score (i.e., total number of questions correctly answered) on an exam to a common scale. This scale remains the same for all CRNE examinations no matter when they are administered. Therefore, scaled scores permit comparisons across administrations of the CRNE.

A final scaled score of 550 or higher is a pass. A final scaled score below 550 is a fail.
Important: If a candidate’s raw score is a passing score on the exam, the candidate’s final scaled score will also be a passing score. If a candidate’s raw score is a failing score on the exam, the candidate’s final scaled score will also be a failing score.

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Q. I failed by only a few points. Why can’t it be considered a pass?

A. The pass mark of 550 for the CRNE is set to represent the minimum criteria (standard) to practise safely, ethically and effectively as an entry-level registered nurse. If the final scaled score is the same as or higher than 550, the candidate has met this standard of practice. If the final scaled score is lower than 550, the candidate has not met this standard of practice.

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Q. How are the questions marked?

A. The answer sheet that you submit after taking the examination is scored by a computer. The computer first tallies the total number of correct answers that you obtained and then compares this number with the number of correct answers needed to meet the standard (the pass mark). Your total score and the pass mark are then converted to a common scale. If the final scaled score is the same as or higher than the pass mark, the computer assigns a pass result. If the final scaled score is lower than the pass mark, the computer assigns a fail result. If your score is near the pass mark, your answer sheet will be re-marked manually (hand scored) to ensure that no computer error has been made.

Important: If a candidate’s raw score is a passing score on the exam, the candidate’s final scaled score will also be a passing score. If a candidate’s raw score is a failing score on the exam, the candidate’s final scaled score will also be a failing score.

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Q. Does each question have equal weight on the exam?

A. Each examination question has equal weight.

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Q. Do I get penalized for guessing if I do not know the correct answer?

A. Your score is not negatively affected if you guess an answer and it is incorrect. Therefore, if you do not know an answer to a question, it is better to guess than to leave it blank.

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Q. How do I request a hand score?

A. If you did not pass the CRNE, you can, through your regulatory authority, request that your examination answer sheet be re-marked by a person (hand scored). There is a fee for this service. Refer to your regulatory authority for deadlines on submitting a hand-score request.

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Q. How do I interpret my Performance Profile?

(See sample) [PDF, 79.7 KB]

A. If you did not pass the CRNE, you will receive a profile of your performance on the examination. The Performance Profile shows the final scaled score you obtained, as well as the scaled score needed to pass (i.e., the pass score). Your final scaled score compared with the pass score (listed at the top of the Performance Profile) determines whether you passed or failed.

In addition, the Performance Profile breaks the content of the examination down into two categories. These categories are defined in the Blueprint for the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination and are explained on the back of the Performance Profile.

  1. Competency categories (Professional Practice, Nurse-Client Partnership, Health and Wellness, Changes in Health)
  2. Classification of questions (Knowledge/Comprehension, Application, Critical Thinking)

Note that you do not have to pass each competency/classification within each category to pass the CRNE.

To interpret your result, it is important that you look at:

  1. the scaled score that you obtained separately in each category (“how you scored” column);
  2. the percentage of questions in each category that appear on the exam (listed on the second page of the performance profile); and
  3. how passing candidates scored in each of the categories (“average scaled score of passing candidates” column).

The first step to interpret your result is to compare your scaled score (“how you scored” column) with the range of the scale, which is 200 to 800. This will indicate your strengths and weaknesses and help focus your preparation for your next writing of the CRNE. For example, if your scaled score for a category is towards the upper end of the scale, this indicates an area of strength. If your scaled score for a category is towards the lower end of the scale, this may be an area of weakness.
This interpretation can be further refined by looking at the percentage of questions in each category that are included on the exam; some have fewer questions whereas others have many. Before deciding where to place your study emphasis, consider the contribution (percentage of questions) each category makes to your overall score.

For instance, you may have scored poorly in the Nurse-Client Partnership category; however, this category has the lowest percentage of questions on the examination (9-19%). Hence, doing poorly in this category is less likely to affect your overall result. On the other hand, there is a large percentage of questions in the Changes in Health category (40-50%). Consequently, if you are at the lower end of the range in the category, improving your knowledge in this category would make a significant difference to your overall result the next time you write the exam.

The second step to interpret your performance profile is to examine the right-hand column, “average scaled score of passing candidates.” This shows how you scored in each category compared with candidates who passed the exam. Generally, the areas in which you obtained scores that were lower than the average passing candidates are the areas you should focus on.

For example, in the candidate performance profile, the sample candidate scored about the same as the average passing candidates in the Knowledge/Comprehension category and scored better than average in the Application category. However, in the Critical Thinking category, the sample candidate scored much worse than average and should thus focus his or her study in this area.

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Q. What if I was unsuccessful on the CRNE in 2014?

A. The last administration of the CRNE was October 1, 2014. Candidates who need to write the RN entry-to-practice exam after this last administration should contact their provincial or territorial regulatory body.

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Q. What exam will candidates write in 2015?
Q. Who chooses the content for the exam in 2015 and beyond?
Q. Where can I find information on the exam in 2015 and beyond?

Q. What exam will candidates write in 2015?

A. Starting in 2015, the provincial and territorial nursing regulatory bodies (except Quebec), have contracted NCSBN to provide the NCLEX-RN as the entry-to-practice exam in Canada. For more information on this new exam, contact your provincial or territorial regulatory body and NCSBN.

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Q. Who chooses the content for the exam in 2015 and beyond?

A. In 2015, CNA will no longer be involved in the entry-to-practice exam. For more information on the content and structure of the NCLEX-RN, contact your provincial or territorial regulatory body and NCSBN.

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Q. Where can I find information on the exam in 2015 and beyond?

A. Because CNA is not the provider of the NCLEX-RN, you will need to contact your provincial or territorial regulatory body and NCSBN for further details on the exam starting in 2015.

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