What To Wear To NCLEX? Allowed And Prohibited Checklist

Are you still uncertain about what to wear to NCLEX when your big day is so close? It may not be as important as equipping yourself with the necessary knowledge to pass the exam, but thinking about your outfit ahead of time can significantly reduce stress on your exam day. Continue reading my guide to learn more about the appropriate attire and items to bring into the NCLEX examination room.

What To Wear To NCLEX?

There’s no specific dress code involved. I personally recommend jeans and a t-shirt, flannel shirt, or sweatshirt. Be aware that coats, scarves, hats, or gloves are generally not allowed inside the exam venue, so consider wearing a sweater or bringing a coat to wear outside if it’s cold.

The exam doesn’t require a formal dress code, so just ensure you are comfortable during the exam. Of course, you shouldn’t put on your pajamas – just dress in casual clothes that you find comfortable instead. This allows you to concentrate solely on tackling the exam questions without distractions related to your outfit.

Comfort is key when it comes to what to wear to NCLEX.
Comfort is key when it comes to what to wear to NCLEX.

The NCLEX exam may take place throughout the year, so it’s essential to dress appropriately for the season. Just go with cool, breathable attire during the summer months and wear warm layers in the winter. Additionally, consider the testing venue’s temperature since it might not always align with your personal comfort level.

You’ll have two breaks, during which you can access your personal items or use the restroom. If you find the temperature in the testing room uncomfortable, use one of these breaks to remove or add a layer to ensure your comfort.

Uncomfortable clothing can become a significant distraction, potentially impeding your ability to think clearly and affecting your score. Being too hot or too cold can shift your focus away from the exam and onto your discomfort. Fidgeting and adjusting due to uncomfortable attire might distract those around you as well.

Items You Should Not Wear To The NCLEX Exam Venue

Some everyday items, like high heels and jewelry, are part of your regular attire. But it’s best to leave them at home on test day since they could become uncomfortable or problematic during the exam.

1. High-Heeled Shoes

I agree that high-heeled shoes can enhance your appearance as you enter the room, but their potential to create noise is a big deal. The sound of high heels can possibly disturb the concentration of other test-takers when you leave your desk for a restroom break or for any other reason.

Avoid high-heeled shoes since they can make noise.
Avoid high-heeled shoes since they can make noise.

2. Jewelry 

Jewelry like bracelets and bangles can produce a soft jingling noise that might disturb test-taskers around you. So, you should avoid wearing such items or putting them in your pockets or purse throughout the exam to prevent any potential distractions.

3. Loose Hair

Another thing that can potentially distract you from focusing on the exam is wearing your lovely long hair loose. The NCLEX exam is now conducted on a computer and might not require as much downward looking as the traditional paper format, but I think long hair can become a nuisance. 

When you lower your head, your hair will naturally fall forward, resulting in a motion to sweep it back with your arm. However, this temporary solution only holds for seconds before your hair falls forward once more time, potentially obstructing your view again.

You should tie your hair with a scrunchie during the test.
You should tie your hair with a scrunchie during the test.

I recommend securing your hair with a scrunchie or elastic band, either for the entire day or just for the duration of the exam. You may also want to bring a spare one in case the one you have breaks.

Dr. Cheryl Ross

4. Hats, Gloves, Coats, and Purse

According to the information from NCSBN, hats, gloves, and coats aren’t permitted in the testing room, so you’ll be provided a small locker to store these items. If you need them due to the cold weather outside, be prepared to remove them before entering the exam room. Wearing a watch is also prohibited during the exam.

Bringing a purse to the testing site is also not recommended. Even if you do bring one, the TA will require you to store it in the locker provided for personal belongings to ensure the integrity of the testing environment.

Source: NCLEX

Items Allowed In The NCLEX Testing Room

Items that are part of your religious beliefs can be exceptions. For instance, if you wear a habit, hijab, or turban as part of your religious practice, these items are permitted inside the exam room.

Religious items such as hijab are accepted.
Religious items such as hijab are accepted.

Likewise, there are comfort aid exceptions. For example, you are not only allowed but encouraged to wear a face mask during the pandemic for safety reasons. 

You can also bring items like earplugs, tissues, and noise-canceling headphones into the exam room for your comfort. If you bring your own, they might need to be inspected by the testing center staff to ensure they are not electronic or contain recording devices.

Additionally, items required for medical reasons, like water bottles and medical equipment not attached to your body, can be brought into the exam room. Communicate with the test administrator (TA) in advance for a smooth experience on your big day.

You must enclose electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets, in a bag provided by the testing center under the supervision of the TA. Once you have completed your exam and are ready to leave, you must show the unsealed bag to the TA. This ensured that you didn’t use them to search for answers.


The NCLEX is a crucial examination for nurses. So, when it comes to what to wear to NCLEX, comfort is key. Wear a T-shirt, a short-sleeved shirt, a light sweater, or anything that makes you feel comfortable so you can focus more on the test. Dress for comfort, and best wishes for your test!