5 Crucial Tips When You Failed the NCLEX

You failed the NCLEX. That is not a fun situation. You know what they say: if at first, you don’t succeed at passing the NCLEX…eat a cupcake (or two), have a good cry and then let it go! Is everyone going to pass the NCLEX on the first try? In a perfect world, the answer would be yes. Unfortunately, the inevitable answer is no. While this is a setback in your nursing journey, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. The key to getting past this is to recognize what you need to work on to improve your next attempt and pass. If you have found yourself in this position you can still be successful, you just need to break down what to do in order to have a positive outcome the next time.

1. You are not the only one!

Most nurses probably aren’t going to just volunteer this information unless specifically asked, but it is more common than one might think. Try not to get too discouraged, this is just a setback and you can overcome this! The NCLEX exam is measuring your ability to take a test, not your ability to become an amazing nurse!!!

2. Figure out your weaknesses.

Are your challenges due to content and understanding or were there outside factors in your personal life that affected the outcome of your test? Lack of sleep, sickness, personal issues, etc…are all factors that influence your test taking ability at any one time. Make it a priority to get a good nights sleep and eat a good breakfast prior to taking your exam.

3. Take time to review the Candidate Performance Report

You will receive this from the NCSBN. It will help you pinpoint the areas that you struggled with the most. Remember, you’re not relearning everything from nursing school…focus on your tougher subjects and don’t waste too much time reviewing the topics you know!

4. Take a little time before you jump back into study mode.

It is important to start fresh and without the stress of your first exam weighing you down. Once you've failed the NCLEX, you will be required to wait 45 days before you can test again. So give your brain a little reprieve from information overload.

5. When you go to take your test for the second time, walk in with confidence!

Your nursing career is going to be full of moments where you will have to overcome adversity and pull yourself back up. This is no different. Success is a mindset…make it yours!! -Daphne Neuhaus, RN