Can I Challenge the NCLEX-RN Results?

The NCLEX-RN is a high stakes exam. Without a passing score, you are not able to practice as a registered nurse. Because there is so much riding on this one exam, what should you do if you receive a failing score and think that you should have passed or if you felt a test item was incorrect? You might be wondering if there is a way to challenge the NCLEX-RN.

Challenging Your Results

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), challenging the exam or exam items depends completely on the board of nursing for the state in which you test.  In order to conduct a challenge of your results, you would need to contact the board of nursing for that state. There may also be fees associated with a formal review and challenge of the exam or exam items.  For example, the Oregon Board of Nursing states that a formal review of the entire exam will incur a $400 fee. For exam item challenges, there is a $90 charge plus $110 for each item challenged.  These fees must be accompanied by formal challenge paperwork submitted to the board of nursing according to their policies.

The NCLEX-RN test is designed and updated regularly to reflect very rigorous standards. As you can see, the process of a challenge to the exam or a test item is quite costly and there is no guarantee that it will change the results. But, the good news is that challenging the exam isn’t your only option for achieving your goal to be a RN.

Proceeding with a Retake

With the high costs involved with challenging the exam, you might consider proceeding with a retake exam (subject to the retake policy). Registering for a retake exam will cost you too, so make sure you are figuring out the time and costs associated with this option. Currently, the exam fee is $200. I know it can be daunting to think about the process of taking the exam all over again, but you can’t let that stand in your way.  Now is not the time to give up. When you fail the NCLEX-RN, the NCSBN will also give you a Candidate Performance Report.  This report will show you what content areas of the exam you struggled with.  Use this report to help you focus your studies.  Be honest with yourself about your study habits and make changes to your study plan, if needed.
While it can be heartbreaking to fail the NCLEX-RN, it doesn’t have to stop you from reaching your goals. Many very good nurses report not passing the first time. If you really feel that something on the exam was incorrect, investigate the challenge procedures of your state and weigh your options. Look at the time and costs associated with the challenge vs. proceeding with a retake and be sure to make the decision that best fits your circumstances and gets you on the path to success!