About the Exam
The CNL Certification Exam is a computer-based three-hour exam. The exam items reflect the CNL Job Analysis Study conducted by CNC and Schroeder Measurement Technologies, Inc.
To maintain the quality of the CNL Certification Exam administration process, CNC’s Board of Commissioners annually reviews feedback from examinees, faculty, and the testing agency.
CNL Exam Scaled Score
CNC reports candidates test results as pass or fail. Individuals who fail the exam will receive their score and a score report indicating levels of performance on the exam based on the content areas: Deficient (percent correct is 69% or less), Marginal (percent correct is 70%-76%) and Proficient (percent correct is 77% or greater). Candidate performance is not compared to other exam candidates to determine the pass or fail status.
The CNL exam is reported on a scale between 150-500. To pass the CNL exam, a candidate must achieve a minimum passing scaled score of 350 or greater.
The exam is comprised of 140 questions of which 130 are scored. The remaining ten questions are pre-test items to be used on future exams.
New CNL Exam Content Outline
“The CNL Certification Program is governed by the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC), the autonomous certifying arm of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The CNC Board of Commissioners and CNC staff are not involved in the development of any preparatory resource, and no preparatory resource is endorsed by the CNC nor is a prerequisite to earn the CNL certification. The CNC and its staff is solely responsible for the policies and administration of the CNL Certification Program. Learn more about CNL certification.”