I Feel Like I Failed the NCLEX: Now What?

If you recently took the NCLEX and feel like you knew nothing, you’re not alone! Many nursing students have gone through this feeling of uncertainty and worry after sitting for a monumental exam. It can be extremely disheartening to know that such an important milestone is in front of us – one that will determine our future as a working nurses – and it’s out of our hands now.

Whether you passed or failed, gaining perspective on your next steps is helpful to move forward confidently. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips on handling the aftermath of taking the NCLEX and provide resources on what action items should come before retaking/seeking employment opportunities.

I Feel Like I Failed the Nclex Exam

For many nursing students, the NCLEX can be an incredibly stressful experience. It’s not uncommon to come out of the testing center feeling like you knew nothing about the exam and that you’ve failed NCLEX. However, it’s important to remember that you have a good chance of passing statistically.

The average passing rate for NCLEX candidates studying nursing in the U.S. in 2020. is around 86%. This means that even if you feel like you didn’t do well, you are likely to have passed.

So try not to worry too much, and wait patiently for your test score to be released, knowing that statistically, you are more likely to have passed than not.

What Percentage Of Students Pass The NCLEX-RN On Their First Attempt?

      Year       Fail%

  • 2016 – 84.57%
  • 2017 – 87.11%
  • 2018 – 88.29%
  • 2019 – 88.18%
  • 2020 – 86.57%
  • 2021 – 82.5%
  • 2022 – 79.1%

In 2022 79.1% of the NCLEX-RN candidates who took the exam passed on their first try. That number is down slightly from previous years but still within the acceptable range. It’s important to remember that Covid-19 impacted many aspects of the NCLEX testing process, including how results are reported and even the structure of the exams. 

This may explain why there’s been a slight decrease in pass rates over the last few years. It’s also important to note that this is only an average across all candidates. Everyone has a unique experience, and individual scores vary greatly depending on each candidate’s preparation. 

As Many Nursing Students, I Failed the Nclex. What to do Now?

When it comes to waiting for NCLEX results, the suspense can be unbearable. Some people may find comfort in trying tricks like the Pearson Vue NCLEX trick or ordering quick results, but these are not foolproof methods for knowing your outcome.

Instead, specific indicators – such as the number of questions you received on the exam – may give you some insight into how you performed.

However, it’s important to remember that these indicators are only sometimes accurate, and the only proper way to know if you passed is to wait for the official results.

While waiting for your results can be nerve-wracking, trusting your preparation and remembering that the outcome is out of your control is essential. 

So, finding inner peace and waiting for the final results is better.

What Signs Indicate That You Passed the NCLEX Exam

Although I do not believe these are reliable indicators, I have provided a list, as some nursing students find them helpful.

Your test presented questions that progress in difficulty level:

If you answered most of your questions correctly, the NCLEX-RN® or NCLEX-PN® exam might have believed you were ready to pass.

The NCLEX is a notoriously rigorous exam aspiring nurses must take to obtain their license. However, there is a silver lining to its difficulty: if you found that the questions got progressively harder before the test finished, it’s likely you passed!

The NCLEX uses computerized adaptive testing to determine a candidate’s skill level. The test adapts to your skill level as you go, giving you progressively more challenging questions until it determines whether you meet the standard minimum.

So, the fact that the questions became more challenging indicates that you were performing at a higher level.

If you want to know how NCLEX SCORE is and what computerized adaptive testing is [Cat], you can visit this post for more information; Why NCLEX Shut Off at Any Question?

You Had A Lot Of Questions

The NCLEX is designed to shut off after the candidate has demonstrated a minimum level of competency or once they answer a predetermined number of questions.

If you could answer any questions before the test shuts off, it’s a positive indicator that you passed.

However, more is needed to guarantee that you pass the exam, as some candidates may be asked more than the required number of questions and still fail.

You received a lot of synthesis and analysis questions

Synthesis and analysis questions are considered the most complex type of NCLEX questions. If you received many of these questions, it could indicate that your performance exceeded the passing standard.

The Pearson Vue NCLEX Trick gives you a good pop-up

NCLEX candidates commonly use the Pearson Vue NCLEX Trick to gauge their exam results. While the method is unreliable, it can help identify a possible indication of failure and help candidates decide if they need to retest.

To test if you have failed the NCLEX-RN, wait at least two hours after completing and submitting the exam for scoring. Afterward, log in to your Pearson Vue account and try to register for the exam again. If the website allows you to register and process your payment for the new exam date, you have failed the NCLEX. This is known as a Good pop-up.

You Answered Only 75 Questions

On the other hand, if you only answered 75 questions before the test shut off, it’s a good sign that you passed.

Candidates who fail the NCLEX are typically asked between 85 and 265 questions before they reach their maximum competency level. Therefore, if you answered only 75 questions, it’s a good sign you passed the exam.

The computer requires a minimum of 75 questions to determine, with 95% confidence, whether your knowledge level meets or falls below the standard expected from a registered nurse.

The computer will keep asking more questions if it has yet to reach a 95% confidence level even after asking seventy-five questions.

The test shuts off, but You Answered More than 75 Questions:

It can be a good sign if you answered more than 75 questions. Generally, if you answered over 265 questions, the computer algorithm could not accurately determine your skill level and thus shut off the test.

In such cases, the NCLEX board will review each answer for accuracy before determining if the candidate passed or failed the exam.

You ran out of time but answered the minimum number of questions:

If you ran out of time and answered more than 75 questions, it is still possible that you have passed the NCLEX. Although time limits are in place to prevent candidates from taking too long and running out of questions, the NCLEX board may give a candidate extra time if they answer enough questions correctly.

So although running out of time is not necessarily a good sign, it only sometimes means you failed the exam.

You answered the maximum number of questions before the time limit expired.

The 95% CI is the maximum number of questions a candidate can respond to before the test shuts off. If you answered this many questions, it’s a good sign that you passed the exam.

The 95% CI is determined by a formula based on factors such as age and level of education, so the exact number varies from person to person.

You find your name on your state board of nursing website.

Finding your name on the state board of Nursing (BON) website signifies that you passed the NCLEX.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) releases the names of all candidates who pass the exam to the respective state BONs within days of the test.

Although the official results may take up to six weeks, some individuals can check their license status on the BON website within a few days of taking the exam. If you discover your name on the website, it may be a positive indication that you passed the NCLEX in 2023.

What to Do if You Fail NCLEX?

Failing the NCLEX exam can be disheartening and discouraging, especially when you have spent countless hours preparing. Remembering yourself that you’re not alone in this experience is essential. Many aspiring nurses are in the same boat, and the nursing field is incredibly competitive.

The good news is that you can retake the exam as many times as needed to pass. Once you receive your candidate performance report around six weeks after the exam, your first step should be carefully reviewing it and identifying any weak areas.

From there, consider enrolling in a preparatory course or utilizing additional study materials to increase your chances of success on your next attempt. Remember, persistence and determination are vital to overcoming setbacks.

Preparation Tips For the Next Attempt

After failing in NCLEX exam, you should be prepared for your successive attempts. Below are some necessary tips for NCLEX that students can take to help them prepare for the next shot.

1. Review Your Candidate Performance Report: After failing the exam, you’ll receive a performance report within six weeks. This report will provide detailed information about how you performed on each question type and can help identify any weak areas to focus on while studying for your second attempt.

2. Take a Preparatory Course: Taking a preparatory course or enrolling in an NCLEX review program can help you review the topics covered on the exam and improve your test-taking skills. These programs are designed to provide more comprehensive instruction than traditional study guides and may benefit those looking for additional preparation before their next attempt.

3. Utilize Study Aids: There are many different resources available to help you prepare for the NCLEX, such as online practice tests, flashcards, and textbooks. Utilizing these materials can help you build confidence and identify areas that need improvement before retaking the exam.

4. Remain Positive: It is essential to remain positive while preparing for your next attempt. With the proper preparation and dedication, you are sure to pass the NCLEX on your next shot.

5. Understand the NCLEX Exam Format: As you prepare for your next attempt, it is essential to understand the structure and format of the NCLEX. Practice tests can help you become familiar with the type of questions asked on the exam and how best to answer them.

6. Develop a Study Schedule: Create a study schedule that works for you, and stick to it. Establishing a consistent routine will help ensure that all relevant topics are covered before taking your second attempt at the NCLEX exam.

7. Ask for Help: If necessary, reach out to experienced nurses or tutors who can guide you as you prepare for the NCLEX exam again. There are many online and in-person resources from which you can seek assistance.

8. Read Motivational Speaker’s Books Or Watch Videos: Staying motivated throughout the process is essential. Reading motivational books or watching videos can help keep you on track and inspired as you prepare for your second attempt at the NCLEX exam.

Following these steps will make you well-prepared and confident when retaking the NCLEX exam. With dedication and perseverance, anyone can succeed in passing this critical examination.


1. Is It Normal to Fail NCLEX-RN The First Time?

Failing the NCLEX-RN on the first attempt is not uncommon. According to NCSBN, over thirteen percent of first-time NCLEX test takers still need to pass.

2. What Happens If I Fail NCLEX-RN 3 Times?

The number of attempts a candidate may have depends on their state Board of Nursing regulations. For example, in Hawaii, Florida, and Michigan, those who fail three times must complete an approved remedial course before retaking the exam. The Board should notify you if you do not pass; however, if it’s been six weeks since your test date and you have yet to respond, contact them yourself.

3. How Many Times Can I Fail The NCLEX-RN?

In most states, candidates can attempt the NCLEX-RN up to eight times within one calendar year; however, they must wait at least forty-five days before retaking the exam.

4. Is It Common to Fail NCLEX-RN At 75 Questions?

It’s a 50/50 chance that you’ll fail if the test cuts off at 75 questions. The NCLEX is designed to assess your competency as a nurse and make sure you can practice safely; regardless of how many questions are asked, passing or failing depends on how accurately you answer them.

5. Can I Fail The NCLEX-RN and Still End Up with A Good GPA In Nursing School?

Yes, passing nursing school is possible, but it must still be successful in the NCLEX-RN. Your grade point average (GPA) considers the entirety of your coursework, but passing the NCLEX is a one-time deal.

6. Can I Be a Nurse If I Fail The NCLEX-RN?

No, you must pass the NCLEX-RN to practice as a registered nurse. However, if you fail the test once, you can retake it after waiting forty-five days.

7. Why Do I Keep Failing NCLEX-RN?

The reasons behind failing are varied and complex; some people get too nervous or tire out quickly during high-stakes exams, while others may need more time to study and prepare adequately for the material. Whatever your reason for failing is, don’t give up. Take some time to regroup and try again.

8. How Soon Can I Retake NCLEX-RN After Failing?

You can take the NCLEX-RN forty-five days after your last attempt was completed and submitted for scoring.

9. Does NCLEX-RN Get Harder with Every Retake After Failing?

The difficulty of the exam does not increase just because you have taken it before; instead, questions become more challenging as the test progresses based on your answers. Subsequent tests are no more complex or more accessible than previous attempts.


The NCLEX-RN exam is a challenging but essential step in becoming a registered nurse. Although failing the exam can be discouraging, it’s important to remember that it is possible to retake and pass with some extra preparation. Following our advice can increase your chances of success for your second (or third or fourth) attempt. With dedication and perseverance, you can make your dream of becoming a nurse come true.

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