NCLEX Retake Policy: How Many Times Can You Take the NCLEX?

Are you a new graduate or an Internationally Educated Nurse(IEN) who still needs to clear the NCLEX-RN exam? If so, you’re probably wondering, “How many times can I take the NCLEX?” Understanding the NCLEX retake policy is vital for such nurses. This NCLEX retake policy guide will provide you with detailed insight into the maximum number of attempts allowed, the retake policy, and important considerations for those preparing to retake the NCLEX-RN exam.

NCLEX Retake Policy How Many Times Can You Take the NCLEX

NCLEX Exam and Results: A Quick Overview

Before answering your burning question, “How many times can I take the NCLEX?” let’s quickly review the NCLEX exam itself. Once you’ve completed the exam, you can check your unofficial results on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) website within 48 hours. If you’re eager to access your results quickly, read our previous post discussing the Pearson Vue Trick.

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NCLEX-RN Examination: What’s the Pass Rate?

The pass rate for the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses) usually lies between 80% and 88%. However, these rates can fluctuate yearly and by location. This range is based on historical data, but for the latest and most accurate pass rate, refer to the official NCSBN website, the organization that administers the exam.

NCLEX Retake Policy: How Many Times Can You Take the NCLEX?

The number of retake attempts varies among nursing regulatory bodies (NRBs). Most NRBs allow candidates to retake the NCLEX up to 8 times a year, with a 45-day waiting period between each try. Some nursing regulatory bodies may have additional requirements or longer waiting periods.

For example, Colorado allows candidates to take the exam three times within three years from the first examination’s date. In Louisiana, the limit is four times within four years.

In South Carolina, candidates failing their NCLEX within the first year must show evidence of remediation to the board before retaking it. Therefore, checking with your specific NRB regarding their policies is advised.

Planning to Retake the NCLEX-RN Exam?

You will need to apply for a retake through the Board of Nursing/Regulatory Body (BON/RB), submit a new registration, and pay the examination fees. After registration, you will receive another Authorization to Test (ATT). Remember, you need a new ATT to retake the NCLEX-RN Examination.

Common Reasons for NCLEX Failure on the First Attempt and How to Avoid Them

  1. Insufficient Preparation: Insufficient preparation is one of the main reasons candidates fail the NCLEX on their first attempt. Many candidates underestimate the level of preparation required for this exam. To avoid this, start your preparation early. Also, practicing with NCLEX review books and online question banks can familiarize you with the exam format.
  2. Test Anxiety: The NCLEX is one of the toughest examinations, and it’s normal to feel anxious. However, excessive anxiety can hinder your performance. Stress management techniques like breathing exercises, meditation, and regular physical activity can help manage your anxiety. 
  3. Poor Time Management: The NCLEX exam is timed, and poor time management can lead to hurrying through questions or needing more time to complete the exam. Practice timed quizzes to familiarize yourself with the pace of the exam and improve your time management skills. 
  4. Lack of Critical Thinking: The NCLEX is not just about factual recall; it requires critical thinking and decision-making skills. Enhance your critical thinking skills through active learning strategies, scenario-based learning, and discussions with peers or mentors. You can also consider NCLEX-RN preparation guides like UWorld or Simple Nursing. 
  5. Not Understanding the Question: Candidates often fail because they misread or misinterpret the questions. Make sure to read each question thoroughly and understand what it’s asking before answering. Practicing with review books and online question banks can help improve this skill.

By understanding these common reasons for failure and implementing the suggested strategies, you increase your chances of passing the NCLEX-RN exam on your next attempt.

Wrapping Up

In summary, understanding the NCLEX retake policy is crucial for nurses preparing for the NCLEX-RN exam. Whether you’ve hit a stumbling block on your first attempt or are preparing to take the test for the first time, knowing “How many times can I take the NCLEX?” can help set clear expectations and aid in your preparation process.

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