What Is the NLN Exam?


The National League of Nursing has created a series of examinations that serve as gateways to various levels of the nursing profession. The NLN Acceleration Challenge Exams certify nurses who are looking to move from one level to another, such as from registered nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The Pre-NCLEX Readiness Tests help prepare students for the licensing exams for the licensed vocational nurse and RN degrees.

Pre-NCLEX Readiness Tests

  • These tests help candidates prepare for the NCLEX licensing tests for registered nurses and licensed vocational nurses. For both levels, the NLN offers diagnostic readiness tests and comprehensive practice tests, both for online and pencil-and-paper administration. All of these tests are four-option, multiple choice exams. The NLN practice tests offer a detailed report summarizing the items that candidates get correct and miss, as well as sub-scores focusing on specific learning objectives that candidates should review before taking the real NCLEX exam.

Acceleration Challenge Examinations (ACE)

  • Nurses seeking to move from the LPN/LVN program to the RN program, or from the RN program to the BSN program, can take the ACE I or II, respectively, to demonstrate sufficient learning to justify the upward move. The ACE I exam covers foundations of nursing, nursing care during childbearing and nursing care of the child. ACE II is a bit tougher. Topics include care of the adult client, care of the client during childbearing and care of the child.

Study Materials

  • While the NLN does sell some practice tests, other vendors offer study guides as well. The more practice you can get beforehand, the better you will do on testing day. Practice materials are available online for interactive completion or for printing.


  • The NLN provides a copy of your exam results to you, and also to the faculty of your nursing school. The school also receives a report about the entire testing group's results to enhance the school's pedagogy.

  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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