How is the SIMCLEX passing standard determined?

I was above the passing line, why didn't I pass SIMCLEX?


SIMCLEX® is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) and simulates the NCLEX-RN®, using similar algorithms to determine that you're either going to Pass or Fail, based on the Passing Standard - this can happen anywhere between 75 and 145 questions.

Your exam starts off with a random question and depending on how you answer that question, the following question will either be more or less difficult. It will continue to adapt based on how you answer each question until it can determine, with 95% confidence, you'll either Pass or Fail. Likewise, everyone starts off with a wide Confidence Interval and as you answer the questions, that Confidence Interval will continue to narrow. This Confidence Interval must remain above the Passing Standard in order to Pass.
Check out our What is the NCLEX? Lesson for a deeper insight into these

If you are hovering close to the Passing Standard line, the Confidence Interval may be straddling the line when you run out of questions, before the test can determine with 95% confidence that you would pass. In that case you will receive a result of Fail.

As frustrating and time consuming as it is, it's important to break down your SIMCLEX, question by question, digging into the rationales, to determine where you went wrong on the questions you missed:

  • Did you fall into a test taking trap?
  • Were you just not sure what the question was asking?
  • Are you struggling with SATA, Opposites, Absolute Words, etc.?

If you find that it a content related issue, go to the Courses and review the material.
If you find that you're struggling with specific types of questions or having trouble with testing taking traps or anxieties, go to our Test Taking Course and review those specific lessons.

Lastly, I would recommend going back and taking practice questions on your weakest categories (anything below 55%-60%) to build your knowledge and confidence in answering those tricky questions that you'll see on your SIMCLEX and NCLEX.

Now go out and be your best self today!

Feb 6, 2021

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