What Happens if You Fail the NCLEX-RN?


About the test

  • The NCLEX-RN is a licensing test that allows nursing graduates to work professionally as registered nurses. Candidates apply to the Board of Nursing for authorization to take the test, and once the application is accepted, the candidate can then take the exam. The NCLEX-RN is computerized and is scored twice. The pass rate for the NCLEX exam for first time test takers is 90%, and there are some who fail the test when they take it the first time.


  • Without passing the test, a candidate is not eligible to work as a nurse legally in the U.S. The test is a way to measure a candidate's level of proficiency and competency in the profession. Some work in other positions in the health care industry such as nursing assistants. If you fail the licensing test, you may want to retake it. Those who fail the test may be able to take it again after 45 days of the failed examination, and they may take it eight times in one year. If retaking the test, you may have to pay test fees of $200. Many students enroll in exam preparation classes specialized for nurses, which are provided by test prep companies such as Kaplan.


  • Another test administered by the Board of Nursing is the NCLEX-LVN, which is a licensing test to be a vocational nurse. Some candidates take this step before becoming an RN to develop their professional skills. You may want to take the NCLEX-LVN test, which may be easier to pass than the NCLEX-RN, and gain work experience as a vocational nurse first. This may help you do better on the NCLEX-RN test next time you take it.

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  • Photo Credit Syringes and Vials, royalty-free image by zeathiel
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