Preparing for a rigorous exam like the NCLEX® can leave even the most prepared nursing student wondering, What will happen if I fail the NCLEX? What are my alternatives? When can I take it again? Can I take the NCLEX several times?

If you're studying for the NCLEX, avoid the need to become overly concerned. You're probably well prepared and ready to ace your exam on the first try, but you won't be the first applicant to retake the exam if you don't pass the first time.

Who is Eligible to Take the NCLEX-RN Exam?

The NCLEX-RN examination is not open to everyone. An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing is required in most cases.

To take the exam, you must first contact the nursing regulatory board (NRB) in the state where you want to be licensed and inquire about their eligibility requirements.

Because each NRB has its own requirements, the nursing regulating body where you intend to practice will determine if you are eligible to take the test.

When Will You Be Able to Take the NCLEX Exam?

The earliest you can take the NCLEX after graduating from an accredited nursing program varies by state, but you normally have 90 days after receiving your Authorization to Test (ATT) email from your nursing regulatory body (NRB) to take the exam. Candidates should check their ATT to see when their ATT expires.

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What is the exam's pass rate?

According to the NCSBN, the 2021 NCLEX-RN pass rate for the U.S. educated, first-time test takers was 86.57% for all levels, including diploma, baccalaureate, and associate degree.

Furthermore, nurses with an associate degree had a pass rate of 80.45%, those with a baccalaureate 86.96%, and those with a diploma 80.61%.

On the other hand, the pass rate for the U.S. nurses who repeated the NCLEX-RN exam was 46.38%.

How To Get NCLEX Test Results

You can acquire "unofficial" results two business days following your NCLEX exam date if your nursing regulating body (NRB) participates in the Quick Results Service.

The cost of using this service is $7.95. Your unofficial results are correct, but even if you passed, you are not yet authorized to practice as a licensed nurse. You'll have to wait for your "official" findings as well.

Official NCLEX results are released roughly six weeks after you take the exam by your nursing regulatory authority. If you have not gotten your results after six weeks, you should inquire with your nursing regulatory authority.

What Will I Do If I Don't Pass the NCLEX?

Despite the fact that the vast majority of students pass the exam the first time, those who do not pass are allowed to retake it 45 days after their initial test date. Candidates can retest up to 8 times per year.

Candidates must pass the NCLEX exam within three years of graduating from nursing school. Please keep in mind that some states impose extra restrictions on how many times a candidate can retake the exam.

If you’re having trouble passing your exam, it’s never too late to ask for help. Many nurses choose to work with a tutor for your NCLEX prep for assistance to make it past the hump. You can also diversify your studying by integrating your studies with educational videos or podcasts.


Which states/jurisdictions have restrictions on how many times you can take the exam?

  • In Colorado, candidates are permitted to take the exam three times within three years from the date the first examination was taken. In Louisiana, it is four times within four years.
  • In Florida, Hawaii, and Michigan, candidates who fail the exam three times are required to take and successfully complete state-approved remedial course(s) before they can re-take the exam for the fourth time.
  • Candidates who fail the exam three times in Indiana must prepare and explain the seriousness of their candidacy to the board before taking the exam a fourth time. Candidates who fail their exam during the first year in South Carolina must submit evidence of remediation to the board before retaking it.
  • Unlimited attempts for Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York.

When can I take the NCLEX Exam again?

Candidates who fail to pass the NCLEX can retake the exam 45 days after their first try.

How Do I Begin the NCLEX Retake Procedure?

Inform your Nursing Regulatory Body that you plan to retake the NCLEX. Fees differ from one state to the next.

  1. Wait for your Authorization to Test (ATT).
  2. Find out the available test dates and venues before scheduling a new exam.
  3. Study your personalized Candidate Performance Report, which details your performance in each of the exam's content areas. This report will assist you in identifying areas for improvement and developing a successful research strategy.
It’s ok to take the NCLEX more than once.

Candidates who do not pass the exam will receive an NCLEX Candidate Performance Report (CPR), which details how they performed on each section of the exam. Candidates should evaluate their CPR  so that they know which areas they need to focus on in order to pass the exam while retesting. NCLEX-RN practice tests can also be highly beneficial.