What Happens If You Fail The NCLEX 3 Times?

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If you fail the NCLEX 3 times in a row, you most likely don’t have to worry. The Nation Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) allows the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) exam to be retaken up to 8 times per year. While you must wait 45-days between each testing period, this can still provide much needed comfort for those students who fail.

Although these are the national guidelines, states might have a different approach to how many times students may sit for an exam, and what remediation is needed. Today, I’ll be exploring the world of failing the NCLEX, and what happens to students who fail over 3 times (source).

The NCLEX can be challenging, but with the right prep work, you shouldn’t have any trouble passing. But, if you do fail, then studying and preparing is all-the-more important.


What Happens if You Fail the NCLEX?

If you fail the NCLEX, then you will have to retake the exam. Students will have to wait 45-days between the next exam, and (depending on your state) remediation might be required (source).

While failing might sound bad, it is not the end of the world. Fortunately students are given many opportunities to re-try and pass the exam.

What if You Fail the NCLEX 3 Times?

For most states, if you fail the NCLEX 3 times, then you will have 5 more attempts that year to pass. However, there are some states that have stricter testing rules.

  • Michigan: Requires test taking within 2 years of nursing school graduation. If you fail 3 times, you’ll need to complete a board-approved remediation program. Students will have 6 attempts to pass.
  • Colorado: Requires test taking within 3 years of nursing school graduation. You only have 3 attempts to take the exam, and after you’ll need a waiver and completion of an approved nursing program.
  • Texas: Requires test taking within 4 years of nursing school graduation. Students can re-take the test as many times as they want as long as they wait the 45-day period. However, after this 4-year period, students must re-enroll and complete an approved nursing program.
  • Louisiana: Requires test taking with 2 years of nursing school graduation. Students may take the NCLEX up to 4 times, but after they will need to re-enroll in an approved nursing program.
  • Indiana: Allows 3 attempts before preparing a presentation for the nursing board. They must be approved to retest a 4th time.
  • Kansas: Requires test taking with 2 years of nursing school graduation. Failure to pass within 2 years means you must submit a petition to retest.
  • South Carolina: Requires test taking with 1 year of nursing school graduation. Students may retest as many times as they want within the first year (45-day waiting period), however they must complete a remediation program after 1 year of failure. After 3 years, they must re-enroll in an approved nursing program.
  • Florida: Allows 3 attempts before a remedial course must be taken for testing eligibility for a 4th exam.

How Do You Know if You Fail the NCLEX?

There are several unofficial and official ways to find out if you failed the NCLEX.

Firstly, you can try the Pearson Vue Trick. The PVT involves trying to re-register for the NCLEX after taking it. If it let’s you register, then you most likely did not pass. The PVT is not an official way of seeing if you passed or not, so take the “result” with a grain of salt. There are stories of people passing when the trick said they “failed”, and vice-versa.

Secondly, you can purchase the NCLEX Quick Results. The quick results are another “unofficial” way of checking if passed the NCLEX or not. However, they are the most official “unofficial” way. You need to pay $7.95 to Pearson Vue, and they will give you an early determination whether you passed or not. Again, there are examples in which students have had incorrect results.

Finally, the official way is to get your results directly from your states Board of Nursing. They will email you directly several weeks after the exam. This is the only actual official means of knowing if you failed or not.

Official EMAIL from the Board of Nursing.

While it can be difficult to wait several weeks to get your results, it is the only official way of knowing. We highly recommend trying one of the unofficial methods, and if they say you failed, then start studying again! It can’t hurt to be on-top-of your game.

How Do You Retake the NCLEX?

Most states will require you to re-register with Pearson Vue the same way you did the first time. Although, this can vary state by state. I would highly recommend taking a NCLEX prep course if you haven’t already, and thoroughly studying prior to registration.

How Much Does it Cost to Retake the NCLEX?

Typically the Pearson Vue registration fee is $200. Then, there is a $75 reapplication fee. However, these prices might be subject to change, and vary state by state.

Prior to registration it is highly encouraged to contact your state’s board of nursing to ensure you are following all state guidelines for retesting. It would not be fun to retake the exam, pass, and then find out that you were ineligible.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, if you fail the NCLEX 3 times can you take it again? The answer in almost all cases is yes. However, there are some exceptions.

I would highly recommend checking your state guidelines prior to taking the exam, and if there is any question that you might have failed the NCLEX.

Again, if you fail, don’t worry. It is not the end of the world. It is important to start studying again and employ tactics to help you succeed.

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Full Time Nurse

Striving to help nurses and nursing students succeed.

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