Every time a candidate answers an item, the computer re-estimates their ability based on all the previous answers and the difficulty of those items. The computer then selects the next item that the candidate should have a 50% chance of answering correctly. This way, the next item should not be too easy or too hard. The computer's goal is to get as much information as possible about the candidate’s true ability level. Candidates should find each item challenging as each item is targeted to their ability. With each item answered, the computer's estimate of their ability becomes more precise.
The computer decides whether you passed or failed the NCLEX using one of three rules: