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From the author of What is CAT?

What is CAT?

CAT stands for Computer Adaptive Testing. In 1994 the exam changed from the paper-pencil exam to a CAT exam style. This test is much better than the old way of testing since it asks questions at the candidate’s level of knowledge. In years past all candidates took the same number of questions as well as the same questions. This meant that some candidates received questions that were either too difficult or too easy. With the CAT exam, the candidate is asked questions dependent on the correctness or incorrectness of the previous answer. If the candidate answers the question correctly, a more difficult question appears next. If the question is answered incorrectly, an easier question will follow. The test continues until the candidate runs out of time or shows consistency above or below the passing standard.

In 2010, the test plan changed. The difficulty level of the passing standard increased and the categories changed. Below is a breakdown of Client Needs, one of the major components of the exam. The test plan can be seen by visiting the National Council of State Boards of Nursing web site at http://www.ncsbn.org.

  • Safe Effective Care
    • Management of Care 16-22%
    • Safety and Infection Control 8-14%
  • Health Promotion and Maintenance 6-12%
  • Psychosocial integrity 6-12%
  • Physiological Integrity
    • Basic Care and Comfort 6-12%
    • Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies 13-19%
    • Reduction of Risk Potential 10-16%
    • Physiological Adaptation 11-17%
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