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HELP! I Failed the NCLEX. Now What?

Victoria Derlin, BS, RN, BSN Nursing and Student Advice

NCLEX Test Day

You’ve prepped and spent hours studying. Today is the day of your NCLEX exam. The one last obstacle you have to overcome to achieve your goal of becoming a nurse. You’ve put in a lot of hard work and you successfully graduated nursing school. You feel nervous and excited all at the same time when you sit down to take your exam.

While taking the test you feel like you are doing okay. You don’t think you are getting every single question correct but you feel that you are doing well enough. Then you notice that your number of questions is going up. You thought that your test would turn off at the 75 question minimum but that’s okay because people still pass even if they have to answer all 265 questions.

When you finish you feel pretty confident but you won’t know if you passed for at least a couple of days. Relief washes over you that the test is over but you are anxious to get your results.

The Results Are In!

Today is the day you get your results. You are both apprehensive and enthusiastic. You log in to see your results. You have butterflies in your stomach. You see your results. FAIL. What? That isn’t possible! You studied your butt off. You worked really hard. Your stomach feels like it just dropped out of your body. Your heart is pounding and tears fill your eyes. You are feeling upset, sad, anxious, and disappointed. You feel like a failure.

You Are Not a Failure

As a seasoned nurse, I am here to tell you that you are not a failure. Don’t panic because there are plenty of successful nurses out there working that did not pass the NCLEX on their first try.  This test does not define you or the rest of your life. This is not the end of the world and I don’t want you to give up on your goal of becoming a nurse.
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You Can Feel Bad for a Little While

First thing you are going to do is wallow in misery but you have to set a time limit. You can feel bad for yourself but after a few days it is time to move on. Don’t beat yourself up. It is just a test. It is a very important test that you need to pass in order to become a working nurse but it does not determine your worth. You must accept failure so that you can move forward. Do not agonize over failing the NCLEX.

People fail tests every day. Successful people learn from their failures and they try again. Don’t compare yourself to others you know that passed on their first attempt. Take a break and do something to relax for a few days. This could mean working out, meeting up with a friend, getting a massage, or binging on a Netflix show. Once you have had some time to unwind your next step is to reflect.

Take Time to Reflect and Move On

In order to move on you need to put the situation into perspective. Take a good hard look at yourself. The only person you need to worry about is yourself. Don’t blame anything or anyone for failing your test. Of course some things are out of your control but you are the only one who is responsible for your actions. Take some time to reflect on how you prepared for the NCLEX.

What do you think went wrong? Were you too nervous? Did you study enough? Did you do enough practice questions? Did you put enough time into preparing? Don’t beat yourself up about it but you have to ask yourself these questions in order to learn from the experience. The test is done and now it is time to move forward, develop a plan, and take action.

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Make a Plan

How are you going to prepare for your second attempt at the NCLEX? I’ll tell you one thing, you shouldn’t do exactly what you did for your first attempt. You can’t do the same thing again and expect the result to be different. You must map out a plan to help you pass. The best thing you can do is to invest in one on one NCLEX tutoring. A good tutor will be able to help you develop a plan that identifies and improves upon your weaknesses.

Private Tutoring

ThinkNCLEX is a great private tutoring service that will keep you accountable and on track to pass the NCLEX. You will regain your confidence and they will teach you the test strategies to pass your NCLEX. This is not just a big bank of test questions that goes over all the same material you learned in school.

Instead ThinkNCLEX tutors teach you how the NCLEX is written and the strategies to pass it. Your tutor will provide you with multiple readiness assessments so that they can gauge where you are and what you need to work on.

No matter who you are or how much you have studied you will always come across a question that you don’t know the answer to. This is why it is so important to learn NCLEX test taking strategies. The NCLEX has some very tricky questions. Sometimes two answer choices seem like they are both correct. Select all that apply questions are dreadful because if you pick one wrong answer you get the whole question wrong.

ThinkNCLEX tutors will teach you how to deal with these tough questions. Your NCLEX tutor will build you a personalized plan so that you can focus your studies on where you need improvement. ThinkNCLEX guarantees that you will pass the NCLEX and if you don’t, they will continue working with you for free until you do pass.

Invest in Yourself

Instead of trying to study for your NCLEX yourself when you already tried that the first time. Try something different and get private tutoring. A tutor has numerous benefits. ThinkNCLEX tutors have been in your shoes before because they have all graduated nursing school and passed the NCLEX. They know how challenging the NCLEX is. A good tutor will mentor you and help you gain a deeper insight into what you need to work on. Having a private tutor allows customization, collaboration, and mentorship. A NCLEX tutor will keep you accountable and on track. The best investment you can make is an investment in yourself. Don’t make the same mistakes that you made the first time you prepared for the NCLEX. Work with a tutor and pass your NCLEX on your second attempt. I know you can do it!