How to Retake NCLEX Examinations

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The NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN are standardized exams required for nursing licenses. The tests are scored pass/fail and every nursing candidate must achieve a pass before a nursing license can be issued.


In the event that you do not pass the first time around, it is possible to retake the exam. If you need to retest for either NCLEX, read below to make sure you meet the guidelines.

Things You'll Need

  • NCLEX Study Guide
  • If you've already taken the NCLEX once, you know the registration process is much more complicated than for other standardized tests. The first step is to contact the board of nursing where you wish to be licensed. Each nursing board sets the guidelines for how frequently nursing candidates can take the NCLEX. Typically, you must wait 45-90 days before a NCLEX retake.

  • While you have them on the phone (or email), ask if you must resubmit your licensure application when you re-register. If they already have it on file, they may just resend the confirmation document you need to register for the NCLEX.

    Once you have re-registered (through Pearson Vue again), you will be given an "Authorization to Test" (ATT) that shows the window in which you may schedule a testing appointment. Once you have received the ATT, select the day you wish to retest. First-time NCLEX test takers have scheduling priority over retakers.

  • After you have gone through the hassle of re-registering for the NCLEX, you must set to the task of studying. You won't know which types of questions you answered incorrectly, so it's up to you to figure out what your weak areas are.

  • Come up with a study schedule that gives you adequate time to study for the NCLEX at least several hours a week. You should try to fit in time for one or two practice tests to build up your confidence. Many nursing candidates fail the NCLEX the first time due to test anxiety and jitters. Doing many practice tests will help you overcome this!

  • Have a positive attitude when you retake the NCLEX. Many successful and skilled nurses fail the test on their first try, and the vast majority of those who retake the NCLEX pass the second time.

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