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I failed the NCLEX RN: Help!

First don’t be hard on yourself if you do not pass the NCLEX the first time (or even the second time). Don’t think of yourself as a failure; you simply did not pass. The good news is that you are able to take the NCLEX many times to pass. The bad news is that it means you will have to wait a little longer until you can work as a nurse.


Don’t give up


Yes, it can be very disappointing when you do not pass your exam, especially if everyone knew you were taking it. You made it through nursing school and you will be able to pass the NCLEX. Maybe you were too anxious, distracted or even too cold on the day of the exam. These are all factors that can affect your ability to take a test. Don’t let yourself wallow in your disappointment too much. You are definitely allowed a day or two because it is a disappointment but then get back into your study routine. Register for the test again and try to evaluate how you can improve.


Study the questions


In nursing school, exam questions often focus on the content area. Your instructors want to make sure that you understand the material to take care of a patient. You really are learning a whole new nursing language and the exams want to make sure you are mastering this new language and new concepts. When you take the NCLEX, the questions test your critical thinking abilities: are you able to analyze the information and make an educated nursing decision. Make sure you spend your study time learning how to answer questions that are in the NCLEX style. Learn how to eliminate answers to give you better odds of answering correctly. The NCLEX wants to know that you will be able to answer the questions thinking like a nurse.


Be confident


Remember you are not alone. It might seem like you are the only one in your nursing class that did not pass the NCLEX but remember how many students are taking the exam nationwide. Not everyone passes. Use your first attempt as a learning experience and have confidence in your abilities to pass the exam. If you put in the time to study and prepare yourself mentally you will be able to pass and conquer the NCLEX. Remember that you made it through nursing school which has been preparing you for the NCLEX and life as a nurse. You would not be preparing to take the NCLEX if you could not hack nursing school. If you can’t give yourself the pep talk that you need to pass, find someone who will encourage you give you the confidence you need.


About Kiley

Kiley is a nurse who has worked in a variety of settings in the healthcare field. She is currently working as a remote chart reviewer while exploring the world. Kiley also has a background in education and wants to support and educate the next generation of nurses while they navigate the NCLEX. She is passionate about traveling and can often be found in a cafe somewhere in the world reading a book.

2 Responses to “I failed the NCLEX RN: Help!”

  1. Kim says:

    Hi Kiley,
    My daughter just found out an hour ago that she did not pass the NCLEX. Needless to say she is devastated.
    Can you offer any advice on how I can encourage her and help her prepare to take it again? Her father and I have suggested that she register immediately to take it in 45 days. What are your thoughts?
    Thank you,

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Kim,

      That’s a tough position to be in, for sure. Give her “permission” to take a few days off to just decompress and relax (often students find this hard to do, so reminding her that self care matters will be a good first step). Then, it’s time to crack down and make the magic happen!

      She needs to start getting her thoughts together and deciding where her deficiencies might be. Since her previous study approach didn’t get here where she needs to be, your daughter should look for tips online that represent new ways to study. She wants to shake up her approach so that this time she can pass the NCLEX. 🙂 She might want to sign up for a review class of some kind if she hasn’t done one already. My friend has told me that the key to getting through the exam season is to use nursing skills on yourself: “Is what you are doing working (and are you seeing results)? Do you need more time or less time doing a particular thing? Do you need to change something about the way you are studying, and if so what?”

      I think trying to register for 45 days out makes sense if she just barely didn’t pass and can definitely meet the challenge in 45 days, but if she feels or her score demonstrates that she may need longer, setting her up for another difficult period in 45 days may not be the best decision. Ultimately, that depends on her personal position, and you should let her make that call.

      Wishing your daughter luck from this side of the keyboard! 🙂

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