How Many Times Can You Take the NCLEX?

National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) exam

Before a fresh graduate nurse can practice or take up nursing jobs, they are expected to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) exam. A culmination of your nursing studies to this point, the NCLEX-RN tests students on their academic knowledge as well as their clinical practical skills to ensure they are up to a certain standard. Though it is not impossible to pass on the first attempt with adequate preparation and studying, what happens to students who fail their first attempt at this certification test? Just how many times can you retake this exam at all? Read this article to learn all this and more.

How many NCLEX-RN attempts is a student provided, within a year?

The NCLEX is fairly generous to students who want to retake the RN certification test. According to the official NCLEX-RN website, students are allowed to retake the exam up to 8 times within the calendar year, with a 45-day waiting period between each attempt.

Are there states with additional limitations on NCLEX-RN attempts?

Although the NCLEX themselves do not place a hard cap on retakes, individual state boards of nursing have the jurisdiction to place additional restrictions on NCLEX-RN attempts. An example of this is Colorado, which requires nursing students to pass their certification test in under three attempts within three years following graduation. If a student fails their test a third time, the state will require them to petition for a fourth attempt, take a refresher course, and “evaluate their deficiencies.” If they fail a fourth time, the students will have no choice but to start a nursing program from the beginning. Be sure to check with your  State Board of Nursing’s rules on retaking exams, if this is a concern to you.

Do I have to worry about failing the NCLEX-RN?

Statistically speaking, US-educated nursing students are 88.12% more likely to pass their certification tests on the first attempt. Provided that you adequately prepare for the material covered by the NCLEX-RN, you should have no issue passing it and obtaining certification. If you hit a snag or you need to retake the test for whatever reason, all it takes to pass is the right approach.

How do I prepare to retake the NCLEX-RN?

The NCLEX thankfully hands out a personalized NCLEX Candidate Performance Report (CPR) to students who did not pass, which offers a detailed breakdown as to how you performed in each section. Evaluate your CPR to see what areas you struggled with the most, ask yourself how you could have studied or prepared better, and adjust your preparations accordingly. Provided that you maintain both a critical self-assessment and a positive attitude, you will eventually pass the NCLEX-RN and begin your nursing career.

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