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Failed the NCLEX-RN: How to Read the CPR

Failing the NCLEX-RN feels pretty bad. You have invested so much time, energy, and money into this last step toward becoming a RN and now you find yourself faced with the news that you have failed the NCLEX. Before you pack it up and abandon your goal of becoming a nurse, take a minute to remember that you can retake the exam. Better yet, you now have a secret weapon: the Candidate Performance Report (CPR)!

Keep reading for tips on how to read the CPR and how you can use it to improve your studying and pass the NCLEX-RN the next time around.

What is the Candidate Performance Report and When Do I get One?

The CPR is a document that is given to all NCLEX-RN or PN candidates that fail the exam. The exam will include information on the total number of items tested and will break the scoring down into the main content areas of the test to show an exam candidate how he scored in each content area. Exam results are mailed to candidates from their state boards of nursing typically within 6 weeks of the exam.  The CPR will also be mailed.

Reading the Candidate Performance Report

The CPR lets candidates know how close they were to the passing standard in each content area. To read the CPR, the candidate will look at the content area and then note what the score report says about the candidates performance in that area. A candidate’s performance is reported as “below the passing standard,” “near the passing standard,” or “above the passing standard.  Also contained in the report will be a description of the content area, such as the percentage of test items that fall into that category and descriptions of the types of materials covered. For an example of the CPR, click here.

Use the Candidate Performance Report to Help You Pass

Of course it would have been fantastic if you had passed the exam but instead of focusing on what might have been, it is time to focus on what is. You get a retake! Time to make the most of studying using the CPR as a Guide:

  1. Thoroughly read the CPR and understand where your weaker areas are.
  2. Review the test plan for even more detailed information about the areas where you were below the passing standard or near the passing standard. (Don’t worry just yet about the areas where you met the passing standard. We will get to those in a minute.)
  3. Hit the books! Now is the time to get studying.  Did you go it alone before? Maybe you should check out an NCLEX review course.  Did you take a class last time? Try another review course or look for practice questions and books on your own. Focus your attention on the content areas where you did not meet the passing standard.
  4. Refresh yourself on the content areas where you met the passing standard. Just because you passed these areas before, doesn’t mean you won’t be tested on them again.  When you retake the NCLEX, you will have to achieve the passing standard on all of the content areas, not just the ones you did not pass before.

Failing the NCLEX-RN is a difficult and stressful thing to work through but it isn’t impossible to overcome.  Many successful nurses have to take the exam more than once.  Using the CPR as a guide to help you study can direct you in placing the most time and practice on the areas where you struggled the first time around. This can help you to better manage your study methods and time. While it isn’t the best news to hear you have failed the NCLEX, at least the CPR will help to get you back on track to achieving your goal.

About Stephanie

Stephanie is a contributor to the NCLEX-RN Blog at Magoosh. She has been a registered nurse for 13 years. She earned her AAS in Nursing from community college before enrolling as an online student at Grand Canyon University, where she completed both her BSN and MSN with an emphasis in Nursing Education. Student success is her top priority and she is committed to working with her students to see them thrive. When she isn’t teaching the nurses of tomorrow, Stephanie enjoys traveling with her family to warm, sunny places.

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