How Many Times Can You Take the NCLEX?

The NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) is a standardized exam designed to assess the knowledge and skills needed for entry-level nurses to provide safe and effective care. It’s the exam nursing students have to pass to become an RN. Of course, for one reason or another, not all students will pass the exam. This is understandably disappointing, and some common questions students have if they don’t pass include “Can I retake the NCLEX after failing?” “How many times can I take the NCLEX?” or “How long do I have to wait before retaking it?”

If you didn’t pass the NCLEX and have been asking yourself these questions, you’ve come to the right place! We’ll provide you with answers to them in today’s post. We’ll also give you a five-point plan for what to do if you’ve failed the NCLEX . (Spoiler alert: it’s not the end of the world!) 

Let’s get started. 


Top FAQs About Retaking the NCLEX

1. Can I retake the NCLEX if I fail it? 

In short, yes! You can absolutely retake the NCLEX if you’ve previously failed it. There’s just a few things you’ll want to know about retaking the exam. For example, there are stipulations regarding how long you have to wait before trying again and how many times you can take it, but you can absolutely retake it! 

2. How many times can I take the NCLEX exam?

The NCSBN (National Council of State Boards of Nursing) allows candidates to take the NCLEX up to six times in 12 months. However, there are a few other factors to consider. For example, some states also require students to perform remediation after three unsuccessful attempts. So where you live plays a role in all this. Each state’s board of nursing has individual regulations for taking and retaking the NCLEX exam. Be sure to check with your state board via their official website or call them for the most accurate and up-to-date information. 

3. How long do I have to wait before retaking it?

The NCSBN requires 45 days between each attempt, but again, check your state for specific requirements, as it may vary!


What to do If You Need to Retake the NCLEX 

If you failed the NCLEX, don’t worry! Here’s a plan of action that will get you back on track: 

1. Realize that failing isn’t the end of the world. 

Coming to terms with retaking the NCLEX can be disheartening, but it’s essential to remember that setbacks are a natural part of any challenging journey! 

Failing the NCLEX is not the end of the world, and it certainly doesn’t define your abilities as a future nurse. You can still do this! 

Many variables factor into failing, including stress, anxiety, and the pressures of a high-stakes exam. It isn’t a reflection of your ability to do the job. 

2. If test anxiety was an issue, learn how to mitigate it. 

The pressure we put on ourselves can sometimes lead to increased levels of anxiety, which can affect our concentration and performance. Heading into your next attempt at the exam, consider strategies to manage stress, like mindfulness and deep breathing exercises. 

For more information on test anxiety reduction, join our Facebook group for added social support!

3. Review your candidate performance report. 

When preparing to retake the NCLEX, it’s essential to identify areas where you need improvement. . Use your previous NCLEX experience to your advantage!

 Candidates that didn’t pass the NCLEX will receive a candidate performance report (CPR). Use your CPR to improve your study plans. Review the areas where you struggled and focus your efforts on them. Whether that means focusing on content or test-taking strategies, addressing areas that need improvement can boost your confidence and increase your chances for success the next time. 

4. Consider taking a review course. 

Another thing to consider is taking a course that includes structured studying! At Blueprint Nursing, we provide a passing guarantee! Yep, your eyes are not playing tricks on you, a passing guarantee! If you don’t pass on the first try after taking this course, we’ll stand behind you and give you course access again for FREE if you complete the entirety of the program! 

We offer a live review course that you can take from the convenience of your own home! The course consists of four live Zoom sessions with our expert NCLEX instructors, a day-by-day study calendar, and interactions with our team of board-certified RNs who will lead you through practice questions and discussions in a private community just for you!

If you’re nervous about retaking the exam, you should definitely give our course a look. We guarantee you’ll pass the NCLEX next time around! 

5. Believe in yourself.

Finally, understand that failing the NCLEX is not the end of your journey to become a nurse. Many successful and accomplished nurses have faced setbacks along the way, which included failing the NCLEX. 

Remember, this experience is an opportunity to develop resilience and a deeper understanding. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to seek our support here at SMNP, and reach out to your friends, family, peers, and mentors. Expressing your feelings and fears can provide valuable insight, alternative perspectives, and support, helping you navigate this challenging time. 

Remember to believe in your potential! Success in nursing school was not defined by one exam, and success in nursing is not based solely on this exam either. There are resources out there for you, so seek them out! Embrace your passion for nursing, believe in yourself, and remember you can provide safe, competent, and compassionate care. 


Final Thoughts

Retaking the NCLEX requires self-reflection, resilience, a commitment to hard work, and personal growth. Although failing is a temporary setback, it’s just that, temporary. Take the time to address the variables that may have contributed to the initial failure and work to resolve them moving forward. 

Through this process, you can emerge stronger, more confident, and better prepared to be a successful nurse who provides exceptional client care. This probably isn’t the first obstacle you’ve faced in your nursing journey and it likely won’t be the last! So remember, you can overcome obstacles and fulfill your dreams of becoming a nurse. And you’ll do it. You will become a nurse. You will be successful. You will make a meaningful difference in the lives of others and the field of nursing. You’ve got this! 

For more (free!) content to help you pass the NCLEX-RN, check out these other posts on the Blueprint Nursing blog:

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