As a nursing school graduate, one of the most important tests you’ll ever take is the NCLEX exam. This test, which is the national standard for getting a nursing license, takes all the knowledge (both clinical and textbook) you have acquired and ensures that you are ready to handle nursing in a real-world, professional capacity.
Ideally, you’ll pass the NCLEX with flying colors and move on to the next step in your nursing career without a hitch. However, a passing score isn’t guaranteed, even if you attend the best nursing school in the country and spend weeks studying for it. If you do fail the NCLEX, you can take it again. And again. And again—as many times as it takes to get your license and start working.
If you don’t pass the NCLEX, you will be required to wait three months before you can take it again. Use this time to brush up on your studying and take test preparation classes so that you are even more ready next time around.
According to estimates, roughly 15 percent of nursing students in the United States and 48 percent of RN candidates who were educated internationally fail the NCLEX the first time. Although no one likes to talk about these numbers, they can and do happen. The best thing you can do is chalk it up to experience and try again.
Like any test, the NCLEX gauges not only how well you know the material, but how good you are at taking tests. Some people get flustered when faced with a series of multiple choice questions, and it has nothing to do with their intelligence or knowledge base. Fortunately, the more you take the test, the more comfortable with it you’ll be. Oftentimes, simply knowing what to expect can help you direct your studying and to feel less flustered the next time around.
Consider your circumstances, as well your educational shortcomings. Life often gets in the way of our professional goals, and that’s okay. Whether you waited too long after graduation to take the test, or if a family emergency made it difficult for you to concentrate, your circumstances will be different the second time you take the test. Try to schedule ut for a time when you know you’ll be able to study and rest up before the big day.
Realize that failing the NCLEX isn’t the end of your career. Chances are, your future employer isn’t going to care how many times you took the NCLEX—in fact, they probably won’t even think to ask. As long as you earned your degree from an accredited program and you’re dedicated to always learning and growing as a nursing professional, you can succeed in this field. Play up your strengths (maybe you have a great bedside manner or you think fast on your feet) and remember that the test is only a small portion of your skills and dedication as a nurse.
You will have to pay for your NCLEX test each additional time you take it, and adhere to the same rules regarding location and test time. For more information, please visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing at https://www.ncsbn.org/nclex.htm.