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Seasoned with Sage
The Nurse Who Failed the NCLEX 6 Times


So how many times will you take the NCLEX?  Most all of you will surely answer at least once.  But for some of us-those select few who no matter how hard we try just can't excel at a nursing exam-it might be a few more.

I'm fessing up: I did not pass the NCLEX the first time.  I had heard from teachers and nurses alike that the exam could potentially shut off at 75 questions, 240 questions or somewhere in between.  If it shut off at 75, you either passed with flying colors or you failed miserably.  If it shut off at 240, you barely passed or barely failed.  Mine shut off at 75 on the dot.  Two days later I found out that I failed the NCLEX exam.

The days that followed, I was disgusted, disappointed, depressed, and any other "d" verb you can think of.  I seriously wondered, Am I cut out to be a nurse?  Have I just spent all this time in school and still don't know or understand enough to be a nurse? I despaired.

That's when my aunt, who was a nurse, offered a story about a nurse she once knew.  This particular nurse was one of the best she had ever seen as it pertained to the care of patients.  An example to follow, emulate. Someone who understood the dynamics of health care and what it took to be not only a nurse, but one of the best.

Then my aunt laid the bombshell: This nurse had failed the NCLEX SIX TIMES!  Here I was fretting over one bad exam, and this poor nurse had to take it SIX TIMES before she got it right.

That story was motivation enough for me to reconcile my differences with a teacher of mine in college and ask for help.  I can honestly say my time spent with this teacher tutoring me made the difference.  It gave me motivation to strive for a goal that obviously I wasn't able to achieve on my own.  The second time around I was ready. And this time the test went to question 76.  After 120 questions the test ended.

A seemingly infinite two days later I found out I passed!

The best advice I could offer anyone out there who has yet to take this exam isn't fresh; it's as old as the advice your 9th grade geometry teacher gave you: Study your hind end off!  Don't listen to those who tell you how the test was that have taken it, or those who took it years ago and speculate what it might be like today. Expect your case to be unique; expect it to be tough.

So, study hard, set a goal, partner with a tutor, and always remember that nurse who failed six times. Because if she can succeed after that many failures, you can too.


Read more Seasoned with Sage articles

61 Responses to “The Nurse Who Failed the NCLEX 6 Times”

  1. Krys Beyerle Student nurse Says:

    i wish you could tell my nursing school about this they kick you out if you fail two classes and make you quit and come back. they feel that one who fails a class or two will never pass the nclex or become a good nurse. HA!

  2. Anne – nursing prof and practicing RN Says:

    Krys

    Passing a class and failing/passing the NCLEX are two very different things. It is clear that you do not understand that concept.

    If you fail 2 classes, you deserve to have to restart. Very good long term information shows that students who do not pass nursing classes with a minimum grade of at least a C+ do poorly on the NCLEX AND do poorly clinically. Nurses need to be very smart and need to do well in classes to be safe patient care providers.

    To let a failing student continue is doing nothing more than soaking the student for money.

    Some of the best nurses I know failed the NCLEX once. But these were also people who had done well in school and needed a little help taking a standardized exam. My guess that is what happened to Jason (congratulations by the way!)

    It is important to note that in some states, you only have 2 tries on the NCLEX before you have to take formal remediation classes and even clinical. So it is important that students have solid knowledge to begin with.

    Oh- Krys, if you worked a little more on your writing (particularly grammar and sentence structure) you might be better in school…

  3. buttons Says:

    Hello,

    I will share the secrets of being successful on the NCLEX. Do not think you are a nurse after graduation from the college, university, technical college or diplomacy program. You are not a nurse until the color of the gown and cap is toss into the drawer for memories. The true graduation and certification of becoming a nurse will be applying for a date and time to sit for the NCLEX.

    The NCLEX will decide your faith of becoming a Registered Nurse in your home state and to given recognition by nurses throughout the USA.

    The two –four years of preparatory educational classes were the foundation for the NCLEX and the clinical rotations, too. In the theoretical and clinical phases of learning, each person should be able to demonstrate, understand and apply critical thinking to the concepts taught by the instructors. Therefore, the NCLEX will be able to measure the learning taught within the institution one attended.

    To be successful of defeating the NCLEX is the following:

    A. Do not study any more notes….too late…..use them as a guide when you answer the
    study question incorrectly. Overall, it’s too late to study your 50 textbooks and 50
    notebooks and old exams, Sorry….well not really.

    B. Average 4,000 questions per day. Yes, 4,000 questions per day and more if you can.

    C. I highly recommend searching for NCLEX reviews. Yes, they are pricey, some offer
    financial assistance, plead to your family and friends for donations and most of all,
    its worth it.

    D. Do not work unless you have too and I am very serious. If you do, work do not work
    more than you have too. The employer does not have to pass this test because you
    do. The employer knows three things – 1.A graduate nurse who is easily distracted
    by money 2. Cheap labor as a graduate nurse if failed the NCLEX demoted to CNA
    & humiliation to the graduated nurse 3. Last resort, dismissed as a future nurse and
    a hurtful pride. Do not take on more than you can handle. NCLEX, First.

    E. Think NCLEX and Relax. Do not go out Partying the night before and act cocky.
    On any given day, any one can be defeated by a test and no one is exempt.
    Remember the NCLEX does not care one is a 4.0, 3.5, 3.0, 2.5, 2.0 student.
    One must maintain above the average level for a period of time, 75 questions is
    the minimal and 250 is the maximal (if you get the extra questions or it will be
    240).

    F. This is your career and you worked so hard to be at this point. Now, it is your turn to produce and make it work.

    G. If you have learning or physical disabilities and need special accommodations. It is your responsibility to get the paperwork completed.

    I know this works because I did the routine above and more. I passed with an 82 questions and I did it in 45 minutes. I thought the computer died and I was slapping, hitting the top of the computer and punching the key board. Can you believe I had to wait 10 days? Ten days and I lost my hair, 35 lbs, depressed and looked like death had my butt. The reason for the long wait to received the results – I took the exam on a Sunday and holiday was the week previous week. The State Board of Nursing was behind 6 days and four days and I was the only one on Sunday. I was so happy to pass and I tried to eat but I vomited. I made myself sick over the NCLEX and it is not a National examination….that sucks lol.

    Good luck…..

  4. Anneliese,(Not a good student and failed the NCLEX) Says:

    This is a reply to the professor. There are exceptions to every story. When I was in college my professors worked with me. At least in my hometown college. At first, I would to a 4 year nursing school and the professors where all very standoffish and did not take anyone under their wing. I failed a nursing class one time by one point and LOST A 4 YEAR SCHOLARSHIP!

    Disgusted, disappointed, depressed, I came back home and got married that year and together we bought a new house as my husband made $10.00 and hour and I made $7.25.

    After a year I went back to my 2 year local college and found some EOF (Equal Opportunity Fund) Money and some type of working scholarship but I also worked for HOSPICE at night and went to college during the day as a full time student.

    I did wonderful in clinical and I did wonderful when I wrote a paper. I did great in teaching patients and I did great when we had to stand up and give a speach to the class but where I did terrible was taking the actual test.

    I had to take math for meds two times but I did pass. Some classes I would take the test and the teachers asked me if I was joking? I said no. I was being considered to get kicked out of my Nursing II class after having trouble with my Math for Meds class.

    She looked at me and asked me questions that I got wrong from my exam and I told her the answers verbally and she told me, “You know the answer, why didn’t you pick B”? Because of my college, I was able to stay in college. Never the A student. As a matter of fact all I ever got in Nursing was C’s.

    I graduated, barely, perhaps out of likability for me, if that is a word, but nevertheless, I passed … Thank You Mary Anne Hoy, Director of Nursing from Cumberland County College, Vineland NJ. Yes, I graduated because of you.

    I went on to get my BSN at another college who once again were standoffish and I felt like I was just a number. I graduated.

    I took the NCLEX, failed. I felt like Jason. Took the NCLEX again, failed. Took the NCLEX again and passed.

    The gentleman I was taking care of for Hospice passed away but before he did he wanted to know how to spell my name so that he could leave me money, knowing this was unethical I told hime to leave it to the college, and then I laughed because I thought he was just joking. He asked me what college? I said, Cumberland County College and Rowan University, which I did not go to Rowan in my own back yard, perhaps I should have but I did not. But George Boyd did leave these two colleges a 1M dollar endowment which to this day is still helping nursing students. The two critera were that they had to be from the county in which I lived, and they had to be willing to go into the nursing program!

    So professor, I would suggest have a little heart. Some of your greatest students are not good students but great people.

    And because of my trouble I had with the NCLEX I started a web site, Caring4you.Net

  5. Anneliese,(Not a good student and failed the NCLEX) Says:

    Oh and professor, stop giving out old information in regards to the NCLEX and don’t tell them you only have to get “60 Questions Right”.

    Dear Ms. Garrison:

    I am writing in response to your letter concerning Computerized Adaptive Testing for NCLEX.
    Perhaps I can explain how Computerized Adaptive Testing for the NCLEX works. The goal of Computerized Adaptive Testing or CAT, is to determine your competence, based on the difficulty of questions you can answer correctly, NOT how many questions you can answer correctly. This is a fundamentally different approach than is used on paper-and-pencil tests, where everyone receives the same questions. CAT examinations are individualized.
    We know the exact difficulty of each of the approximately 3,000 questions in the pool, because each has been taken as a tryout question by thousands of candidates and then statistically analyzed. Picture the questions all lined up, from easiest to hardest. If we asked you the easiest questions, you’d get most of them right. If we asked you the hardest, you would probably get most wrong. As we move from easy to hard, there will come a point where you go from getting more right…to…getting more wrong. This is the point where you are answering 50% correctly. Questions harder than that, you would probably answer incorrectly (you’d get some right, but more wrong); questions easier than that, you would probably answer correctly. That point is different for everyone. Nursing experts could probably answer at least one-half of the hardest questions we could ask. Whereas, we’d have to ask beginning nursing students the very easiest ones before they could answer even one-half correctly. You probably fall somewhere between those two points. The goal of CAT is to find that point for you. Your competence level is related to the difficulty level of the questions at the point where you can answer half of the questions correctly.
    First, the computer asks a relatively easy question, and if you answer it correctly, it asks a somewhat harder question. As you continue answering correctly, the questions get harder and harder. When you start missing questions, they get easier until you start answering them right again, then they get a little harder. Each time you answer one correctly, the next is harder. Each time you answer one incorrectly, the next is easier. This process continues as it zig-zags, narrowing in on the point where you answer 50% correctly, e.g., one right, then one wrong. That point represents your competence level. This is why everyone ends up correctly answering 50% of the questions they are asked.
    After you have answered the minimum number of questions, the computer compares your competence level to the passing standard amd makes one of three decisions:
    If you are clearly above the passing standard, you pass and the examination ends.
    If you are clearly below the passing standard, then you fail and the examination ends.
    If your competence level is close enought to the passing standard that it’s still not clear whether you should pass or not, then the computer continues to ask you questions.
    “Clearly” passing or failing is defined as when the “gray zone” around your competence level falls entirely above or below the passing standard. The gray zone is the region within which your competence level might vary if you answer more questions. The gray zone shrinks a little after each question because your competence level is based on more information.

    If you can answer the difficult questions correctly, there’s no point in wasting your time giving you a lot of easy questions. Or, if you can’t answer the easy ones correctly, then you won’t be able to answer the difficult ones. In fact, the computer often could make a decision after less than the minimum of 60 questions, but 60 is necessary to ensure coverage of the NCLEX Test Plan. It is improtant you get the opportunity to answer several questions in each of the NCLEX Test Plan content areas in case you have particular strengths or weaknesses.
    After each question, your competence level and the gray zone are recomputed, adding your new response to all of your previous answers. When the gray zone in entirely on one side or the other of the passing standard, you’ve clearly passed or failed and the examination ends.
    Of course, some people’s competence level is very close to the passing standard. For some of these people, all 3,000 questions in the item pool still might not be enought to make it “clear” whether they should pass or fail. These are the people who take the maximum number of questions. At this point, the computer disregards the gray zone and simply looks at whether the final competence level, based on every question answered, is above or below passing. If you are above it, you pass. If not, you do not pass.
    Therefore, a candidate’s final competence estimate is not determined by the number of questions she/he can answer correctly. This is a fundamentally different approach than is used on paper-and-pencil tests, where everyone receives the same questions. CAT examinations are individualized. The examination continues until the difficulty level is found where you are answering about half of the questions correctly. This corresponds to your competence level. If the level is above the passing standard, then you pass; if not, you do not pass.
    Because the examination continues until it finds the level where you are consistently answering about 50% of the questions right, in the end everyone gets 50% right. What differs is the difficulty of the questions they were able to answer correctly half of the time. The pass/fail decision is based on the competence level corresponding to that difficulty, not on a percentange correct.
    Each examination is designed to meet all requirements of the NCLEX Test Plan with a certain percentage of questions in each Test Plan area. It is NOT designed to administer a rephrased questions for questions you answered incorrectly. Each question is selected randomly from the item pool and any similarity between items is a coincidence.
    You are not allowed to skip questions or go back to review or change previous answers because the heart of the CAT methodology, adaptive branching through the examination, makes skipping or revising earlier answers logically invalid. Once a answer is recorded, all subsequent questions administered depend, to an extent, on that response. If that response had been different, you would have received different questions. Skipping and returning to earlier questions my be appropriate stategies for taking a conventional paper-and pencil examination; they do not make sense for a CAT examination. You are not being disavantaged by the inability to skip questions or to go back to change previous answers. If you are uncertain of an answer and make an incorrect guess, your competence level is calculated to be slightly lower than it was just before the last question was administered. The next question presented to you will be easier, making it more likely you will answer correctly. Thus, you will not “dig yourself into a hole” from which you cannot return, since computerized adaptive testing has a built-in, self-correcting mechanism.
    Test anxiety is indeed a problem for many people. In fact, it was part of the motivation for going to computerized testing, where a candidate may test on the time and day of their choice, in a more private and peaceful environment than a crowded gymnasium with hundreds of other worried candidates. The sample questions give you an opportunity to “settle in” to the testing situation and to practice with the necessary keyboard strokes. If the first 10 “real” questions did not count towards your score,…{which you have suggested}…they would not be “real” anymore, and we would simply have 13 sample questions. The tutorial and sample questions provoide extensive practice with the system. Additional sample questions probably would not help.
    All legal and psychometric studies, and field test of computerized adative testing (CAT) methodology indicate it is valid, reliable, fair, and defensible. As series of studies were conducted on over 11,000 candidates before the decision was made to implement CAT. The studies consistently showed that NCLEX using CAT provided comparable candidate performance to paper-and-pencil NCLEX. In addition, pass rates from the first year of CAT were practically identical to those from the last year of paper-and pencil…..
    I hope this information will assist you….
    Sincerely,
    Ellen Julian, Ph.D. Psychometrician
    This letter was posted as a free public service. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the NATIONAL COUNCIL of STATE BOARDS OF NURSING, INC for their role in my personal success.

    The NCLEX changes every 3 years so be sure to upgrade your same old review if you offer one at the end

  6. Anne – nursing prof w/a heart Says:

    Anneliese
    Believe me, I do have a heart about students and I work like crazy (as does almost every nursing prof I know) to support students in passing a course and standardized exams.

    An excellent clinical student with difficulty in course work needs an assessment by the learning center since that student (like me) may have a learning disability that can be easily accomodated once identified.

    One of my best students clinically couldn’t write a paper that made any sense or pass a standardized exam. I sent her to be evaluated and she had multiple forms of dyslexia. Once she had the skills to compensate for the dyslexia, she excelled. She was so successful she attended a prestigious school, received a masters and is now nationally know for her expertise.

    That being said, I also believe that my FIRST obligation is to patients-and that includes assuring that only well educated and competent people become nurses. I also have an obligation to students to see that they are competent to contiuny their education if they so choose.

    After reading your post, I have no doubt that you are thoughtful, caring and committed. I can only imagine what it might be like for you to have a faculty member ridicule your test taking by asking if it was a joke-I would never do that to a student.

    But I suggest that you also were short changed-your grammar is worrisome i.e “I did wonderful in clinical and I did wonderful when I wrote a paper” and most of the rest of your post demonstrates that someone didn’t help you learn how to write-which is a critical skill for a real professional. I would have had the heart to see that you had ALL the skills necessary for full profesional success.

  7. Edward Gordon, RN Says:

    Here’s a trick for those just starting nursing school. Do whatever it takes to earn A’s on your exams in school. Do that for the whole of nursing school. You will then pass the NCLEX guaranteed first time with 75 questions. You won’t even have to “prepare” for it.

    And as a double bonus, you’ll even end up a really smart nurse.

    Just a thought.

    Edward
    http://www.LastNurseStanding.blogspot.com

  8. Ed, BSN Says:

    Thanks for sharing your story with us (Jason and Anneliese)! I took the NCLEX 3 months ago for the first time and did not pass it. I will be taking it again in two days and I feel much better thanks to you. God Bless.

  9. Kisha Says:

    Anne,

    That bit about Krys grammar wasn’t very nice. It’s like you tried to give some great advice, and then you hit him/her over the head with a hammer. No one deserves that. As a nursing professor and practicing nurse, you should know better. You should be about motivating and advising students, not making cheap shots.

    Kisha

  10. PS Says:

    I am kind of anxious waiting for my results not sure if I passes, thanks all for sharing Iam encouraged.

  11. andrea Says:

    Six ops to pass the NCLEX is much more than we had an opportunity to take. 3 tries and it was back to the classroom. I don’t think I would have had the courage to try 6 times. And yes, spelling and grammer really do count. That was a reality check and not a cheap shot.

  12. allen Says:

    Well, it’s encouraging to read this. However, this test is a strange animal. I’m going to be on my 3rd attempt. 75Q then 169Q…fail both times. I’ve 3 college degrees and many, many hundreds of tests behind me. I still don’t get this test. The suggestion of answering 4,000 questions A DAY is ridiculous. That’s almost 3 questions a minute for 24 hours straight! If that’s what it takes then it’s pointless. Of course I know that advice is not sensible. I will say that Board exams aren’t this crazy, at least there the exam stays on one concentration area for the entire exam. NCLEX is all over the place and forget about taking the time breaks…what if you have to answer 200+ questions? You might not have time if you are struggling (which is the person who is answering that many questions). I’ll keep at it but I really have doubts as to how useful this test is. I’ve taken the board exams in my field studying USMLE material and did NOT have this kind of problem before. I’ve met some of the people who passed in 75Q and I think sometimes it’s just luck on the “type” of Q’s you get. This last test I had many, many SATA Q’s (which are statistically harder to get right) and no nursing math at all and many Pharm Q’s. Very little OB/GYN. It was confusing and disapointing. Anyway, it’s their test so I’ve just got to do whatever it takes…it ain’t pretty but I’ll get it done.

  13. Chasing a Dream Says:

    I recently took the nclex and took all 265 questions. During the exam I caught myself focusing on what number I was on and the time on the screen. I began to tire real easily and get impatient. Also, I had every piece of content you name it! Except calculations and ordered response questions. I failed the exam :( So disappointed! But I must admit after a while of taking the exam..I felt close to the end I failed…Also, I worked with a temp license for one month…not a good idea…jobs will come and go..must admit too..that before the job I procrastinated..same habits I had in school…too much content would overwhelm me so I would rely on on the hands experiences and favorite content…anxiety was my enemy and so was easily distraction. A/B student in fundamentals and pharmacology..until I got to med surg…It was C’s all the way through….Clinicals were successful:) However, when I got to the actual job with my temp license, this was a real struggle for me to adapt to time management. I really want to be prudent in my skills to help patients at a competent level. My weakness is retainability and anxiety! I have accepted that I failed the exam! Now it’s time to understand the content and take the exam again! Anyone who has failed in anything will tell you at least they’re a success in something! It’s not trying to understand the strategies of the exam but what was my weakness and strengths. I am excited to retest! Yesterday is so behind me and the future is bright before me! Focused and loving it!

  14. materrano Says:

    Wow, I just read all of the posts. I am exhausted. Ellen Julian’s post was very well written. She was trying to make a point…not make cheap shots. The post she was referring to wasn’t written well. Maybe she was trying to help. Sometimes the truth hurts. I know I am not a fan of having my mistakes pointed out but how else will I learn?

    As far as the NCLEX…what works for one person may not work for another. The person who suggested 4,000 questions a day may have meant to study at least 4,000 questions before taking the test.

    I graduated in May of this year. I am not alone when I say that the education I recieved was a big dissapointment. I felt completely unprepared once I graduated. I scheduled to take the NCLEX on June 8th…exactly one month after I graduated. When I wasn’t sleeping I was studying. When I had any free time at my job I was studying. I went to a week long NCLEX course that was included in my tuition. I studied with friends and purchased several study guides. I took the test and it shut off at 75. I felt like I answered about 4 of the questions correctly. I also applied the strategies for test taking that all of the books went over. I found out the next day that I passed. I know several “honor students” that did not pass. I was not an honor student. My average was a B. Here I am, a brand new nurse and newly hired as a circulating nurse in the OR. I feel like a complete idiot most of the time because I am new. I know I will eventually catch on but being brand new if VERY hard. I know there will be times when I will question what I was thinking when I decided to give up my previous job of 18 yesrs that I knew inside and out. I also know that I worked hard for where I am today and everything will be okay. I guess my point is that we are all in this for the same thing. We want to make a difference in people’s lives. We really do care about people. That is a gift. We are all in this together….like a big dysfunctional family.

  15. KATHERINE Says:

    Im good student, oh hell I am a “A” student. One or two B’s and thats only because 90%’s are still a B ,,,lol,,, I took my first test and got 75Q, waited two days and found out i failed…i couldnt breath i almost vomited….the worst part was that everyone knew when i was going to find out my test results so the phone calls seemed to never stop…i cried for two weeks,went to LA for the weekend and then pulled myself together and signed up to take my test for the second time.. i took a refresher course (kaplan)and reveiwed all their questions in their question bank….then i went back and took my test for the second time… i got 265Q, i left crying…after 5 hrs testing i was exuasted….i wait two days….FAILED again…
    this time its harder to bounce back…i failed yesturday….and i can barely get off the couch….i cant stop crying….i want this sooooo bad….i never did well in school related to a learning disability….but as soon as i started nursing i became a A student….the girls in my class would study for a hour and be ready to take a test….it would take me 4hr;s to study for that same test…i wanted this….i still want this….but how do you stop the heart brake?

  16. Cerd Says:

    I’ve been a nurse for 25 years. I took my boards on paper and didn’t get my results for 6 weeks. First off, I want to say something you’ll all laugh at – relax. You’ll say it is impossible but, while some stress is good, being severely stressed is not good. It can lead to you forgetting things you know like the back of your hand.

    We all learn differently. Do what is right for you. Not what is right for someone else. Know your learning style (google VARK, it can be worth it).

    Either way, good luck. It’s a different world out there than when I graduated what seems like a lifetime ago.

  17. ester Says:

    i really need help passing the nclex

  18. Ebby Says:

    As much as going through nursing school can be stressful and devastating. I believe failing NCLEX six times is more frustrating.
    At this point I’m sure you have used all the study styles and probably you are wondering what next.
    My advise is “DO NOT GIVE UP” people do not fail exams because they are stupid. some people are very good exam takes.Others are not.
    Remember nursing question demand intense critical thinking and giving priority.
    Try working on those two and practice answering as many NCLEX questions as possible.
    If you are working a full time job. My advise is take off at least 3-4 weeks and study as many questions as possible.
    I’m sure you will pass the exam.
    This exam means so much in your nursing career why not give it all you have. Good luck

  19. Jim Says:

    I took time off to absorb,or should I say abort the four previous years of hell I had just been through. I did not study for the NCLEX and it was 12 weeks after graduation before I took it….passed at 75 questions. I credit our class success to our final instructor in the program. She was to say the least, a Nazi from hell on her exams!!! It was not until I took the NCLEX that I understood the method to her madness, she had perfectly guided us as to what we about to confront regarding the NCLEX. We all passed on our first try (64 students) and most were cut off at 75 questions. She put it quite simply on graduation day, you either now know your stuff or you don’t……

  20. Barb Says:

    I ran across this site studing and I had to read everyones comments. I graduated from nursing school in 2009, I was an A-B student. Iam 49 and raising my grandson with autism. Going to class and studing was very hard for me. I studied and did homework till 4am. Morning came very early. Anyways after graduation in 2009 my mother passed and that put more stress on me to pass the NCLEX. I took the NCLEX and failed! I was so depressed! I work as an CNA, I want to bring it to the next level, The worst part of failing was I had to work with some of my classmates that did pass talk about the feeling of failure, I criied and criied. So I took the Nclex again and failed. So that is strike 2. To make this short I will be taking this Nclex for the 3rd time. I really hope this is the charm this is my lifes dream to become an LPN. And if I fail again the world has an excellent CNA that is devoited to her clients but I got to admit I will have a heavy heart.

  21. angelbaby Says:

    If not passing at 3 tries is bad than what should I do at number 10. As some say “maybe nursing just ain’t for you” but it just frustrating to think that I wasted 4 years+ time. I have not given up on it and will not until I pass that CAT exam. Of course out of the ten about 5 times I just wing it and each time its was a different amount of questions….75…76…89….109….92 but all was failed! I was never good with computerized exams throughout my life but I seriously do believe that i can/and will pass this NClex-Rn once I actually is able to concentrate. Anyhow, Best wishes to you all and good luck! :)

  22. Misty Says:

    I recently took my NCLEX PN and used the pearson vue trick to see if I passed. And I did not, but I also paid for the quick results and it confirmed it. I feel really alone b/c I graduated last year and just now taking my boards 8 months later. It was a rough time for my family of five. We have moved five times since last year alone with most of my things in storage in another state. We still do not live in our own home, but a hotel. Then my husband got fired from his job….so we’re living off of his unemployment. It’s like I cant talk to him about my disappointments bc he has so much on him, and for a very long time. But I am encouraged and determined to take this nclex one last time and I am going to pass. I did not have confidence when I took it last week….I was so scared….but the actual test was easy to me. I actually thought I had passed. Wow. So I am regrouping…I’ve already sent my $200 off today….about to start my studying plan. By the way, the tears and sadness come and go…but the good Lord brings me back to realize that I can do this! Thanks wonderful people for sharing good nuggets of advice. Be blessed.

  23. martha Says:

    Hello every one well i took my exam for the 3rd time and I did the trick and failed again! I cry so much I ask god for help but i guess it will come on his time. I need to get back on my feet and face it I work two jobs and took 3 weeks off for this exam I dont know what am I doing wrong took a refresment course didn’t really help I guess I got 7 children that depend on me but I’m feeling really down but I will continue this battle and pray the lord to guide all of us. god bless. anyone with any materials to study thanks!

  24. joe Says:

    keep it up martha

  25. Ansley Says:

    @Martha

    One of the nurses in the hospital is a 59 year old non native english speaker. She used SAUNDERS Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN examination and she practiced she said, until she was getting most questions right on the practice exams. Now, this is a lady that reads very slowly and who had to many times translate words to understand the questions. So maybe take a look at this course and practice daily for 3, 4 hours.

  26. george Says:

    This feels like a crap shoot. I’ve seen my co-students pass whom I would never want touching me in a health care setting. And I’ve seen the best ones in the class fail. It’s a freaking crap shoot, let’s just hope you get your 75 questions you have knowledge of out of the 3,000. And if you can’t go in there with a ” eff it all ” attitude you run the risk of stress dragging you down.

    You know how many lawyers have taken the BAR examine 10+ times or more ? Many. Keep taking the nclex, your bound to pass if you made it through school honestly sooner or later!

    Do you know how many people who have passed the nclex and would take it again only to fail? That should be a test control for the board of nursing,I’d like to see those stats.

    Keep up your efforts…because sooner or later you’ll pass.

  27. Kris Says:

    I just took the test last week. I got 75 questions. And today, I found out I failed. So, YES, it is very possible to fail at only 75 questions. So, I’m gonna go now and have a drink, because this is one of the worst days of my life.

  28. Lady Diabetes Says:

    I just took the NCLEX on 6/23 and learned on 6/24 that I passed! I had 75 questions and 23 of them were select all that apply.

    I was a nervous wreck right before, but I also felt like I could not have done more to prepare… took Kaplan, did all the practice questions, reviewed the questions I got right and wrong and reviewed things I was unsure of.

    I’m now in the excitingly stressful position of having one solid job offer and being encouraged to apply for a second job by the assistant nurse manager of a floor where I did clinicals.

    Good luck to everyone and practice, practice, practice!

  29. LInda B Says:

    Dear Kris and all the others,
    Hang in there. I know that today seems like the end of the world but some of the most wonderful nurses I know failed their boards, but pulled it together and tried again. (and some of the not so great ones passed the first time…)Those of us who have been nurses for a long time know that there’s a lot more to being a good nurse than answering 75 questions. Take a deep breath and try again. Believe in yourself…don’t give up!

  30. Carly Says:

    I am so nervous I take the nclex tomorrow for the first time. I regret not taking the kaplan course but I have been studying like mad woman. Everyone is telling me to take the day before the nclex off to relax my mind and let it be free. This is very hard for me to do because studying relieves my anxiety. But I am going to take advice and not study today. I will post my results PLEASE PRAY FOR ME!! I need all the help I can get and cannot wait until this is over!!

  31. dave Says:

    Well I took NCLEX yesterday for the 4th time and did the pearsonvue trick and it went to cc page so I guess once again FAILURE!! I have taken Kaplan review course and I am not gonna say it didnt help but it wasnt the answer. Every time I have gotten 265Q. So from where I see it I am close but not close enough. I always get slammed with SATA, Exhibit, and lots of priority, management, and infection control. I had 1 math calculation that I know was correct. This was one of the hardest of the 4 I have sat for. How can that be a “failing” exam. Its easy to lose hope when you have been knocked down so many times and so many things are relying on you going to work. Sometimes I feel as though I can’t master this exam. It is a shame that it defines you. I was an honor student and made As and Bs in school. I have seen lesser students pass the first time, and this is VERY frustrating. You get to a point to where you dont know what to do or where to go.

  32. nikki Says:

    Heartbroken is probably the best way to describe myself right now. Just found out a couple hours ago I failed the NCLEX again for the 4th time. I don’t know what to do. I took it first last july, then september, then december, and unfortunately had to wait to august to retake it because there’s been so much family drama and my grandmother has been on and out of hospitals and acute rehabs. I took Kaplan in October and I guess it helped, but I’m all out of ideas. I guess I find a little in comfort in knowing I’m not the only one, but its so hard when all your friends pass (on the first try), find jobs, do what they want to do, and I feel like I’m left behind. I hate to say it but its like being punched in the stomach when people tell me they’ve just passed. Its going to be so hard when I go to work (@ a hospital) and everyone questions if I’ve taken it yet. Just going to have to lie because I don’t want more people to be disappointed in me. I’m starting to feel like I wasted 4 years, that maybe I picked the wrong career. But being an RN is the only thing I’ve wanted to do that I actually stuck with. If anyone knows what I should do now please tell me because I’m in desperate need of a direction to go in.

  33. Nika Says:

    ou can do it! Let me tell you my story. I came from a really good nursing program with a high pass rate. I earned high grades and graduated with honors. I was one of the few black minority students and so I did not want to be a statistic that I was not good enough. Also, I have become more spiritual and believe in the power of Christ this past year. The very first time I took my examination I failed (and had taken a Kaplan course). I was depressed for sometime and thought about hurting myself. However, I drew closer to God and asked him to help me get the strength and direction to retest. I asked him to increase my faith!! I came across a review of Saunders…and they all seemed great. So, I utilized SAUNDERS texts to pass along with Kaplan. I played no games! I used the Saunders comprehensive review for “content”, SATA text, and Q and A and Kaplan (for higher level questions). I realized the first time there was much content that I did not have down. I just found out today at noon I passed the NCLEX exam!! To God be the glory for allowing me to utilize and purchase tools to help me be successful. Again, you can do it. You have to give this test your all, and remember that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

  34. Ash Says:

    Just took the NCLEX a couple hours ago and I am a nervous reck. I feel like I answered about 10 questions right and don’t feel like they got harder or easier. They stayed the same and I ot about 10 “pick all that apply” questions. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best!

  35. Lili RN Says:

    TAKE HURST Review by Marlene, it’s really good you will pass the first time. Good Luck!!!

  36. Lili RN Says:

    NCLEX study time is very stressful, I say you sit down think about a plan to accomplish before the test, pick a review, learn it, study it, practice questions, breath through that review, sleep with that review, then do the review again, read it, write it down, do it 1, 2, 3, times…anything and just make sure you go confident to the test and say to yourself in front of that computer: “God, I have done everything in my power to pass this exam…and bring it on.” I did HURST review all the time after I finished school, prepared for two months and took the test passed the first time. But as a test taker you have to reach that confidence level and set up for success and never failure!!!I found the review really helpful it called Hurst Review. GOOD LUCK NURSES!!!!

  37. allen Says:

    Well, okay then. I posted a year ago after failure #3. It’s 2011 and failure #6 just happened. Last three exams 265Q and 6 hours each. This is getting old. In a nutshell, this test is like treading water at chest level not neck level. Yes, you know enough not to drown but in order to pass you have to know more than enough and long enough (i.e. more questions) to pass. Tread water at chest level vs. neck level. More depth, more knowledge, more confidence. There is a crap shoot aspect to it in that if you know the content of the first 75 questions better you lucked out. I can tell you that I knew at 160Q it was going to take me to 265, I could just sense the ebb & flow of the questions being asked. Yes, there was one question asked twice, supposed to be impossible but it happened. My next move? Take it again, study twice as long, twice as hard and answer twice as many questions. What’s my choice? Give up? Not as long as I have fingers to type.

  38. Brigid Says:

    It takes a lot to write this, but after reading so many stories on here I feel like I can tell my story. I found out two days ago that I failed my test for the 3rd time and this time has by far been the hardest to recover from. All I do is cry, all I can think of is how I am a disappointment to my family and to myself. I feel like a failure and I feel like I have been defeated by this test!! The first time I took the Kaplan course with all of my classmates and I guess I spent more time making fun of the teacher then I did to the content, so that was my fault! The second time I took the online version of Kaplan for the quizes and the content, I also supplemented that with quzzies on my iPhone from Saunders and other apps that I found. My teachers tell me that I was extremely close on the 2nd try, yet I still saw that result: FAIL! The third time I took things seriously, I reached deep down to figure out what it was that I was doing wrong. I tried to figure out my learning styles and I studied from the NCLEX 4000, and I also did the online review course that Pearson Vue has. I wrote down rationales from the questions I didn’t quite know and I studied those, I looked up more information. I looked at the Hurst review book for some helpful tips. I felt confident going into the test this time. I finally got to the point right before my test that I was prepared, I couldn’t take one more quiz, I couldn’t look at one more question. I went into that test and I was confident, not anxious like the other two times. I walked out of there with a positive attitude, but I got a FAIL again!
    I can’t do this again!! I know I have ADD and I took my medication this time and it helped me focus, but still didn’t get me the pass. I worked with a teacher at my university to help me to see if I was in the right frame of mind when I was answering questions and she was convinceed I was on the right track, now they are telling me I need to get some sort of Neuropsychological Testing. Now I have to go see some quack?? I am just not sure what that is going to do for me. I don’t suffer from not having enough time to take the test, I don’t suffer from not taking enough breaks. I suffer from apparently not knowing the tricks as to how to answer these kinds of questions.
    All I want to do is stay on the couch and cry and watch sappy movies and not face the music when I go back to work.
    Any advice I would greatly appreciate!!

  39. Brigid Says:

    Does anyone know of any tutors for NCLEX in the Colorado area?

  40. Martha Says:

    Hi everyone well this is Martha again i’m number 23. well took the test again and fail so this is the fourth! and oh course I cry I could not even see my family my 7 beautiful kids that where waiting for mom. I dont know what else to do i guess i would just work as a phlebotomist but I really wanted this i try to review but with my two jobs i feel like i’m lacking sleep and overwhelmed i have to help my kids with homework drive them to school back and forth but maybe this is no excuse oh lord help me I believe in you and your son jesus pls guide through my study and answering this questions give me the wisdow to understand and answer this questions. all I ask for everyone outhere prayers for me and my family and lets keep trying . even know that from time to time i think i should just give up those 4 years for my nursing school where hard 2 years pre and 2 years nursing program where hard and i did it so i knw god has a purpose for me i love people and compasion is within me so i just need to get back in track and believe! god blees every one. our god is good and in our savior jesus he would help us achieve our career the glory for him.

  41. Brian Says:

    (This site seriously needs a spellcheck!!)

    I am a struggling 2nd semester student coming to the end of NU102. Reading all your posts is encouraging… but for me, the NCLEX is light years away.

    Our professors dump about 80 double-sided pages on us per class day, yet offer NO assistance or even a hint as how to narrow the info. down or what to focus more on than other info. on exams. Then, the info. they ask on tests I’ve just taken is so extraneous I can’t even find it anywhere in any of the info/reading that was assigned.

    If I spent 24 hours per day, I still couldn’t do the assigned reading, search for the articles and read them, learn all the lecture info., etc. The way they guard the lecture info. — you’d think we were talking about military secrets!

    Am I the only one who has trouble with the language they use on nursing exams (while in still school)? I study my face off, have a tutor, have bought every study guide I can find, and I still haven’t gotten a 78% (our passing grade) on a 2nd semester exam! I am at the end of my rope. Too bad it took me 3 years of school and tens of thousands of dollars to figure this out. I always got straight A’s in school – but at this nursing school, I’m completely overwhelmed and now hopeless!

  42. Mannurse Says:

    Hey ladies. I failed the first time and it wasn’t a total surprise, I averaged about 50 study questions a day.

    I’ll tell you what I did after I failed.

    I went out a bought a brand new Saunders review book (I was previously studying with an out of date lippincott)

    I read the book COVER to COVER and took notes on my weak areas (blood lab values, mental health, cardiac, meds) and focused on Priority/patient safety/ABC’s and also did questions at the end of the chapter. I would typically read 1-2 chapters a day and took notes on them as well.

    The next day for my study session, I would quickly read over the notes I took the night before to reinforce my studying… It took my about a month to complete that.

    The next step was to do 100 questions a day, I did this for a couple weeks up til 2500+ questions.

    Took the test and passed.

    Don’t bullshit yourself. Nclex requires solid studying. Set up a game plan for yourself and do it come hell or high water.

  43. Nubian Says:

    Pleasant greetings, I recently sat my regional exams and failed one out of four papers. Our regulating body allows us two other chances to pass, six months apart. After receiving my first results I was devastated, I actually declared that nothing else in this world could make me any more depressed. It took a toll on me so bad that I had no form of intrinsic motivation to study.
    In a few weeks however, I would be resitting my exam and God knows how badly i’m yearning for strength, courage, confidence and wisdom. Becoming a nurse is the foundation to my independence and for displaying my purpose to society. God has a plan, believe in him and never give up. A word to the wise “a calm sea would never make a skillful sailor”.

  44. Mozambique Says:

    I took the NCLEX and passed on my first try with 75 questions. For those wondering, I was an average student and not a very good clinician (although that’s debatable). What I did to prepare was what is proven to work. Take tests. Lots of tests. And review the ones you got wrong AND right. I tested for a couple of months every day. Just a few tests a day and I reviewed Maternity because it was my weakest subject. When I sat for the test, I went in with the mindset that the test didn’t matter and I was OK with failing it. That brought my stress level way down. I completed it in 30 minutes and found out two days later that I passed. So happy. So that’s my advice to you. Take tests. You can’t open up 40 books and all of your hand outs and notes and expect to remember it all. Good luck future nurses!

  45. Nurse Newby Says:

    Hello friends,
    I took the NCLEX two days ago and just found out today that I passed. I had been dreading this test for months and postponed the date a few times because I didn’t feel ready. Needless to say, I passed in 75 questions. I was sure I failed the exam when the exam cut me off. It was really hard and I felt that I had educatedly guessed on most of the questions. I was a decent student, mostly As and Bs. Medsurg was definitely the hardest lecture for me. My advice, questions, questions, questions. Make sure to read all the rationales for the questions you got right and wrong too. I purchased Kaplan and just did as many questions as possible. Choosing the appropriate nursing priority was another strategy I used. Ask yourself, if I could only do one thing before the end of my shift, what would I do? Also, are answers choices assessment or implementation? If it’s a mix, does the situation need more assessment? Last but not least, ABC’s, but make sure not to pick respiratory just because it sounds good… does it apply to the situation. Good luck everyone! Take a few cleansing breaths before and during the exam. Remind yourself that you can take the test again if you fail, and that there are much worse things that could happen to you if you failed. At least you have your health, without it, you wouldn’t be able to take the NCLEX in the first place.
    Love and light

  46. Nurse Newby Says:

    Sorry, I meant to say…
    There are worse things that could happen to you then if you failed the NCLEX. One more thing, go into the exam with a positive attitude! If you think you will fail, chances are you probably will. Ever heard of the saying, the power of positive thought.

  47. CDNnurse2US Says:

    I took my first test in February… answered 160+ questions in 2.5hrs… I FAILED :( I graduated with a BScN in Canada in 2007 and have actively been practising in ER (I’ve worked in Med/Surg and ER) Failing the NCLEX was devastating!!! I thought of myself as a failure… how have I been practising for 5 years and fail?!? The NCLEX is surely different from the canadian nursing exam… I’m blessed to have such a supportive husband and family… I’m scheduled to write my 2nd NCLEX at the end of June… I’ve been reviewing daily… Here’s to passing :) fingers crossed!!!

  48. Christine Says:

    I failed my NCLEX with 75 questions. I have been studying like crazy. I am from Germany and did an exam 10 years ago and worked as a nurse. I’m so sad right now. Did anyone do the Kaplan Nclex class. If so, how did it help you guys? Thanks

  49. rondodondo Says:

    Sorry this is harsh but if you have failed the NCLEX 6 times you don’t deserve to be an RN. The state boards of nursing should put a cap on the number of times you can take the test. As a side note how much money have you spent on the NCLEX if this is your 6th time?

  50. Jason R. Thrift, RN, MS Says:

    Wow! All of these posts are amazing! What these posts show to me is that there is quite a mix of human beings willing to do what it takes to be a nurse. Since I posted this three years ago I’ve now become an educator in the hopes of helping those of you who could not pass to overcome that, and help those that fate smiles upon the first time to continue that success.

    All you have to do is read the original post to see what nursing is all about. All the NCLEX is for is to tell the state you live in, the organization you work for, and the community at large that you have the most minimal knowledge necessary to perform the duties of a nurse. So whether you pass with 75 questions the first time, or it takes you 20 times to pass, you’re still just as much a nurse as the next person when all is said and done.

    I would never tell anyone that spent 4 years in college or 2-3 years in an ADN program that they are not worthy of being a nurse because of a licensure exam. My advice is, don’t give up, EVER! Quiting is the only true failure that exists.

    To those that passed the first time, live up to being a nurse. I’ve seen several that passed with flying colors that don’t deserve the license that they have.

    It’s truly all up to each of you individually. So go out and take it! Live up to “the calling” set forth by the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale. What we as nurses do everyday affects someone, whether it’s the patient, a visitor, a doctor, another nurse, whomever we come into contact with.

    So keep working hard! For those of you still pursuing the NCLEX, feel free to e-mail me and I’ll offer any advice I can. I certainly can relate to the pain and frustration. But take refuge in my title you see now. If I can do it, so can you!

  51. Tina Says:

    I specialize in helping people who can’t pass NCLEX. If you are in the Phila area and need help, call me at 215 570 2494.

  52. Catie Says:

    Reading all these comments is overwhelming but encouraging at the same time. I’m studying to take NCLEX for the 3rd time. At the time of ADN graduation back in May I thought I would pass and enrolled in a BSN program, which I am also doing at the same time and working part-time. My school set us up with ATI review. I took the tests the first time studying and honestly wasn’t impressed, but went ahead and took it anyways and failed the first time. Then I waited a week to cry and eat. Then I used Saunders review because it worked well for me when I took NCLEX-LPN (which I passed the first time). I studied for 2 months and failed again. I contacted ATI and they set me up with a online tutor. They have review materials and practice tests to take. It’s taken me forever to get through it because of my BSN program and work. The last day I have to take NCLEX is December 22nd because your ATT is only good for a certain time frame. I currently work as an LPN and I know that me failing this test does not define me as a nurse because I already know that I am a great nurse. I just can’t pass this test well. And that’s all it is, a test. When I get to the next test I’m going to have a plan to take a break every 30 questions because I feel that works for me when I take my practice tests. During my breaks I walk around and sing an upbeat song in my head to get the negative and stressful thoughts out. Anyways I hope this strategy works. If I fail again, I’m going to put school on hold and try Kaplan because I’ve heard goof things about them. Good luck to everyone else. I’m going to come back here and see how everyone else is doing.

  53. Ashleigh Says:

    I failed the nclex on first try with 265 questions I am devastated and am scared that I won’t be able to pass it the second time. I also took the Hurst review which ever thing I had on test was not in Hurst book at all. With in first 75 questions I had 15 select all that apply I just knew I was doing good then it just kept going and I started getting frustrated. I need help on what to do I did Hurst and nckex 4000 also along with ncbsn review

  54. Robin Says:

    I used the Saunders Comprehensive Review way back in 2003…actually started it in the middle of my nursing program and just kept practicing with it over and over throughout my program. My test went to 161 before it cut off. I passed. I did not take the Kaplan review. I did study more heavily for about three weeks with the Saunders prior to taking boards.

  55. john Says:

    I just found out i did not pass, I was very disappointed, the test stopped on me at 75 questions, I felt very depressed for a little bit, this was the worst feelings ever.

  56. Any Says:

    I can’t even pass Med-Surg. This is my second time through it and I have failed the first two tests again. This is the 4th semester of 7. I am so depressed. I feel like a loser and I am setting a bad example to my kids. And it breaks my heart to tell my husband that I failed another test. Why isn’t it clicking? Is it not meant to be?

  57. Lisa Says:

    The new test plan is hitting students HARD. It won’t make much of a difference for the top performing students, nor the low performing students (who would have failed under the old plan). But its really killing those students in the middle. My suggestion is to go the NCSBN website, print up and read BOTH the 2013 Test Plan for Students and the 2013 Test Plan for Educators. There is so much information there related to whats on the exam; students overlook this!

    Finally, I’d love to see students take ownership of looking at their school’s curricula and ask the school why they are doing things that are on this list (this is from the Mass website). http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/hcq/dhpl/nursing/education/faculty-resources/roles-and-responsibilities/strategies-for-improving-nclex-pass-rates.html Take a look at the list of items that contribute to pass rate decline. How many of you have asked instructors to ’round up’? Asked “Are you going to scale this test?”, How about “Can I do extra credit?” All these things that students want us to do are directly contraindicated. So the next time you get mad at a professor because he or she is mean because they won’t scale a test, think about it..what’s our motivation in denying you these ‘grade inflating’ bonuses?

  58. Lisa Says:

    Students, take a look at this list. How many of you have asked professors to ’round up’ or ‘give extra credit’ or ‘scale exams’. If you’re doing this, your contributing to you own problem. http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/hcq/dhpl/nursing/education/faculty-resources/roles-and-responsibilities/strategies-for-improving-nclex-pass-rates.html
    Also, take a look at the National Council website, which gives a detailed test plan for students, and another one for educators. Under the new test plan, many things have been omitted as content and other things have been increased or added. But you won’t know unless you read the test plan!!!!! How many of you have?

  59. Brandon Says:

    Don’t let these haters tear you down! Nurses are needed in so many areas that people that excel in one field and may not in another. I passed my nclex the third try and I’m proud of myself. I came from a background of zero medical experience and busted my ass through nursing school. The whole nclex experience sucks and will not change how you will be as a nurse. It’s a money making scam. Don’t lose faith! I recommend the Hurst review. It was extremely helpful, in fact I learned more from the Hurst review than I did in my entire nursing schooling, minus clinical experience. The nclex isn’t the end all be all. I work with nurses that passed the nclex on their first try and I wouldn’t let them babysit my dog! Keep at it and don’t lose faith. All of you other nurses need to get off your high horses and do what a nurse should do and that’s encourage, inspire and educate. All your comments on grammar are arrogant and judgmental, two things a nurse should definitely not be.

  60. Mary Says:

    I felt 3 times already! and I feel so depressed…specially when I already graduated and passed 14 years ago in my country. But I will try again until someday I can posted that I’m RN in this country too.

  61. MeB Says:

    Got a call from my niece, who took her NCLEX today. She was very upset because the test cut out at 131 and she didn’t know what it meant. So I went looking for possible answers. Wasn’t aware that you could fail if it stopped at 75. We were told that meant you passed. So I’m getting educated. Just a few comments after reading the above. There is a correlation between how well you do in school to how well you do on the NCLEX to how good a nurse you will be. And grammar does matter. Nurses are considered to be professionals.

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