UPDATED 2021

CGFNS Test Guide

The CGFNS Test Summary
What: An exam for foreign nurses looking to practice nursing in the United States.
Who: Nurses who have been educated outside of the U.S. and who qualify to practice as registered nurses in the U.S.
Where: The CGFNS Qualifying Exam is offered at over 50 testing sites worldwide.
When: Tests are offered three to four times each year.
How: The qualifying exam tests individuals on knowledge and experience the field of nursing.
Type: Tests are given in pencil and paper format.
Why: CGFNS certification is required of internationally educated nurses to take the NCLEX-RN licensure exam by a majority of U.S. states.
Time: 4 1/2 hours
Language: The test is offered in English.
Preparation: Review courses and CGFNS exam prep books are useful study tools.
Cost: Varies.

By Jessica McNally, Tests.com

The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Certification Program is designed exclusively for general, first-level registered nurses who have been educated and licensed outside the United States and who are qualified to practice as registered nurses in the United States. The certification program consists of three parts:

  1. A review of credentials, which includes an assessment of secondary education as well as nursing education, registration, and licensure.
  2. The CGFNS Qualifying Exam which tests applicants on their nursing knowledge.
  3. An examination in English language proficiency.

The Test

The Qualifying Exam

The CGFNS qualifying exam tests one's knowledge and understanding of nursing as it is currently practiced and taught in the United States. The CGFNS qualifying examination is also designed to help an individual predict the likelihood of passing the NCLEX-RN exam in the future. The exam uses multiple-choice, objective, and alternate item questions.

The CGFNS examination is divided into two distinct parts: Nursing Part 1 and Nursing Part 2. Two hours and thirty minutes are allotted to the completion of Nursing Part 1, which consists of 150 questions. Nursing Part 2 is composed of 121 questions and testers are granted two hours to answering the questions in this section.

English Language Proficiency

An English language proficiency test is required to verify that the applicant demonstrates competency in both written and oral English. Applicants educated in certain countries in which English is the native language are exempt from having to take the English proficiency test.

Nurses going through the CGFNS Certification Program must successfully pass both the CGFNS Qualifying Exam as well as the English language proficiency examination within a two-year time frame.

Do you need preparation materials for the CGFNS? Check out our CGFNS Directory to find helpful study aids.