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Not passing the NCLEX on your first try holds no implications for your future career as a nurse.  Many strong nursing students, with now-successful nursing careers, did not pass the NCLEX on their first attempt.  In fact, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) reports that 15 percent of first time NCLEX-RN test takers did not pass on their first attempt in 2004.

So don’t be discouraged if it takes another try to gain licensure, you’re not alone.  But what’s most important is that you spend your time wisely during the 45-day wait before you’re allowed to take the test again.  Here are four tips to help you succeed the second time around:

  • Assess and Adjust
    Know where you went wrong
    – It is vital to assess any problems you had during your exam, as well as any areas of weakness.  To help identify what you need to work on, the NCSBN sends Candidate Performance Reports to all those who did not pass the NCLEX.  This report outlines where your performance ranks in each clinical area, detailing in which content areas you are above, near, and below “the passing standard.”  The Candidate Performance Report also lists topics covered in the different content areas, providing you with a useful study guide.
  • Back To The Basics
    Content review is sometimes better than practice questions
    – Many test takers go wrong because they spend more time focusing on NCLEX practice questions instead of reviewing the content.  After their first attempt, a lot of students find what they needed was a thorough review of past content areas, topics that were covered at the beginning of nursing school and have not been seen since.  Luckily, many products and services are available to aid you in your review.  MEDS offers a variety of in-depth reviews including an NCLEX Exam Essentials Live Review, found at schools nationwide, as well as an online version narrated by 5-star live review educators.
  • Real World: Nursing
    Expose yourself to healthcare
    – Experts suggest that real-world exposure to actual nursing while you study can greatly enhance your review.  Finding a way to work in a healthcare setting while you await re-testing can reinforce many concepts and build confidence.
  • Focus on Future Success-Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry!
    Be positive and be prepared
    – Dwelling on your initial failure will only hinder the process of preparing for your second showdown with the NCLEX.  Make sure you avoid all outside distractions daily life can bring, and make sure to be well-rested.  Additional preparation and specialized review of any weaker areas should give much-needed confidence going into the test, where you now know what to expect and have covered all bases.

*NCLEX exam is registered trademark of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.

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