Pre-licensure Testing Policy

This policy applies to the core prelicensure nursing courses – N305, N306, N307, N311, N314, N315, N401, N402, and N406 only. Adherence to these guidelines is not required in other prelicensure nursing courses but is strongly encouraged as the content reflects the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines for assessing student learning in prelicensure nursing programs.

All core nursing curriculum courses will include a minimum of three course exams – two content-specific examinations and a comprehensive final examination. At least one course exam must be administered, with grades released to students before midterms.  Core nursing courses are defined as follows:

    • N305, N306, N307, N311, N314, N315, N401, N402, and N406

Each core nursing course exam shall consist of a minimum of 50 items.  The final comprehensive examination will consist of a minimum of 75 items. The final examination may include a maximum of ten (10) items total from previous exams deemed relevant to the essential course content.

Within a reasonable time frame — recommended two weeks but at least seven [7] days prior to the scheduled assessment — faculty will provide the students with the following information:

  • Exam delivery method
  • Number of items on the exam
  • Points per exam and percentage of the overall course grade
  • Type of items (example: multiple choice, bowtie, fill-in-the-blank, select all that apply, case study, etc.).
  • Date and time of exam — time allotted to take the exam – begin and end times

Exam items will be derived from the course Learning Outcomes, which support overall BSN (Prelicensure) Program Outcomes and Nursing Competencies. Each semester is designed to expand upon the knowledge gained in the previous semesters; therefore, questions may reflect outcomes and expectations from previous courses within the Nursing Program and pre-requisite courses, such as Anatomy and Physiology.

Course Exams administered in nursing courses will maximally account for 80% of the total course points. Weighting of exams and other assignments is established in the criteria for grade determination found in each course syllabus. Grades will not be rounded up.  Students must achieve an overall course exam straight (not weighted) average of 75% or higher to pass the course. Grades will not be rounded up.  Grades from other assignments will then be calculated to obtain overall course grade.  All nursing course examinations should be given in a manner and style consistent with the 2023 NCLEX-RN Test Plan (available at NCSBN.org) and consists of a minimum of 90% NCLEX-RN style questions.

Nursing exams are modeled after the current NCLEX-RN Test Plan (https://www.ncsbn.org/testplans.htm ). All question types may include exhibits of multimedia, tables, graphics, sound, and video. Question types may include but are not limited to:

  • Multiple Response
  • Multiple Choice
  • Fill-in-the-Blank
  • Calculation
  • Hot-spot
  • Drag-and-drop/Ordered Response Item
  • Next Gen NCLEX-RN questions

All exams in core nursing courses must be administered on the computerized examination platform adopted by the PLU SoN.  Use of computerized exams is recommended for all nursing courses. In the event of software or equipment failure, alternative delivery methods may be used but should be the exception, not the norm.

Students are responsible for ensuring their personal devices are equipped to access exams prior to exam start time. Faculty are encouraged, but not required, to provide a simple quiz for students to use to test their devices at the beginning of the course.

Computerized Examination Software Settings

Randomizing exam items, answers, and distractors is required with the exception of items containing unfolding case study scenarios with sequencing of questions related to the item stem.

In the Senior I and Senior II semesters, exam items should be presented to the student one at a time without the ability to navigate to the previous items (backtracking). The rationale for this setting is to prepare students for the NCLEX-RN examination.

All exams will have a clearly defined time limit (minimum of 1.5 minutes per item). Additional time will not be allowed.  No answers provided after the time limit has expired will be considered in grading of the exam.

N305 – Dosage Calculation examination:  A twenty-item dosage calculation examination will be conducted during N305. Students must achieve 100% on this examination to pass the course. Students who are unsuccessful on the first attempt must meet with the NCLEX-RN Success Coach for training/remediation and may be referred to open lab for hands-on dosage calculations practice as appropriate. Students will then be provided a second attempt to pass this exam. This process will be repeated up to a maximum of four total attempts. Students must pass the dosage calculation exam demonstrating safety within the Junior I semester or repeat N305.

Study Guide – It is at the faculty’s discretion if a study guide or test preparation review is provided. The format, depth, duration, date, and time are also at the faculty’s discretion.

Exam Administration and Exam Security

Additional student items are not allowed in the testing room unless approved by the instructor. Any items brought into the testing area should be placed in the designated area away from the student’s computer.

  • Head coverings (hats/hoodies/scarves) are not allowed in the testing area, with the exception of religious head coverings.
  • Students may provide their own ear plugs, which must be approved by the proctor prior to the beginning of the exam.
  • All documents or items brought into the testing area must be pre-approved by faculty prior to the day of the exam.
  • All non-approved items, such as cell phones, smartwatches, and all other electronic devices may not be used during the test and must be turned off and stored in the designated area.
  • Written, electronic, or any other materials are not allowed to be used during the exam unless specified by the instructor.
  • If a scratch paper is needed for the exam, it will be provided by the faculty and the student must clearly write their name on each sheet. All scratch papers MUST be turned into faculty when the exam is completed prior to the student leaving the testing room.
  • Verification of submission of tests conducted in-person using electronic software is required prior to the student leaving the classroom.
  • If the test is not administered electronically, test packets and answer sheets MUST have student name and ID clearly written on the first page, be turned in to the instructor at the end of the test period, and be accounted for prior to students leaving.
  • Calculators, if necessary, must be provided within exam software or by proctor.
  • All borrowed laptops and/or calculators must be returned to the instructor and accounted for prior to student dismissal.
  • No exam assistance (answering questions or clarifying test questions or answers) by the instructor and/or proctor is allowed.
  • Computer and technical assistance are allowed for computerized exams. Students are responsible for ensuring electronic devices (laptops, tablets, etc.) are fully charged and in good working order prior to the exam. Students should complete the mock test to verify that the software is properly installed prior to the class exam. The time allotted to complete the exam will not be adjusted.
  • Scheduled tests and pre-announced quizzes must be taken on the scheduled date at the scheduled time. A student may take any exam or test one time only. It is the responsibility of the student to be prepared for all testing. Please see the excused absence and make-up procedures below.
  • Public communication about test questions is a violation of the Academic Code of Conduct, and the rules governing this violation will be upheld. This includes discussion in public venues or on social media. In the event that a student who has taken the exam discusses the exam with a student who has not taken the exam, both parties will be found to be in violation of the Academic Honesty Policy, and the rules governing this violation will be upheld.
  • Grades will be entered and calculated based upon the formatting of the LMS. The nursing program does NOT round grades.
  • The student will be required to come to campus for all exams.
  • Most quizzes and exams will require the use of online testing software. While using testing software, students are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications. Once an exam has been started, it must be finished in the same session.
  • Students are expected to adhere to the academic standards and policies set forth in the Student Handbook.
  • All exams are to be proctored.
  • In the event of an unexpected situation that is beyond the student’s control (serious illness, accident, death of an immediate family member, etc.), the student must notify faculty using the preferred method of contact as specified on the course syllabus prior to the beginning of the scheduled examination to request an excused absence prior to the exam.
  • If an exam is missed and the absence is excused, students must be prepared to take the examination that was missed on or before their first day back in class. Make-up exams are scheduled outside of class time. Students are expected to arrange their work and family schedules accordingly.

Exam review is at the instructor’s discretion and may include as a group in class, in small subgroups, or individually.  Students are not allowed to make notes or access electronic devices (phones, tablets, etc.) during the exam review to prevent threats to exam item integrity.

Testing Environment expectations when remote proctoring is required due to extenuating circumstances (i.e. pandemic)

  • A quiet, secure, fully lighted room. Overhead lighting is preferred.
  • Clean desk or table (not on a bed or sofa). Do not have anything except computer and external cameras (focused on the individual test taker) on the desktop or tabletop. Remove all books, papers, notebooks, or other materials, unless specifically permitted in written guidelines for a particular exam.
  • Students are not allowed to use the following unless specifically approved by the instructor prior to the test date: Excel, Word, PowerPoint, calculator, textbooks, notes, pen and paper, and other websites.
  • There should be no writing visible on the walls, desk, or table. No other people are allowed in the room during testing.
  • No talking out loud or communicating with others by any means during testing, with the exception of a proctor or instructor if necessary.
  • No leaving the room for any reason.
  • Do not play music and/or television.
  • Do not have any other computers or digital devices running in the room where test-taking will take place.

Grading Policy
The specific objective to be attained by the student and the method of calculating the final course grade are written in each course syllabus. Students are responsible for reading each course syllabus to apprise themselves of the particular objectives and grading system for each course. While the overall course grade may consist of exam points combined with other course assignment points and/or extra credit points, the average of the designated course exam scores must be at least 75% before other scores are added to determine the final grade for the course. This 75% average will be calculated by averaging the scores for all course exams. Failure to obtain a 75% average for course exams will result in course failure regardless of the number of points earned for other course activities.


The SoN honors accommodations as outlined in the PLU accommodations policy of the Office of Accessibility and Accommodations.

Students scheduling an exam under the PLU OAA accommodations policy must ensure the exam is scheduled within 48 business hours of the original exam date.  Students are responsible for arranging their own accommodation testing plan and communicating this plan with the course instructor.  Students intending to use accommodations will discuss their plan with the course instructor within one week of the beginning of the semester or within one week after accommodations have been initiated.   All in-person exam security requirements also apply to assessments taken in the testing center.

Makeup Exams

Only one (1) makeup exam will be allowed per student per course. In emergency cases, exceptions to this policy will be considered on an individual basis by the course lead faculty.  Makeup exams must be completed within 72 hours of the missed exam or as scheduled per instructor discretion.  Makeup exams may be taken under individual instructor proctoring or in the test center.  All test security requirements also apply to makeup exams.

Students repeating a course

Evidence-based best practices indicate faculty should strive to offer different versions of examinations for subsequent semesters (i.e. versions A, B, C).