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Failed the NCLEX? Strategies to Put You Back on Track

Failed the NCLEX? Strategies to Put You Back on Track

Megan Malugani / Monster Contributing Writer

Overcome Stumbling Blocks

Once you’ve assessed why you failed, think about what you need to do differently. Studying with NCLEX books and enrolling in a review course can increase your confidence about passing the exam the next time, Yoder-Wise says. Sample tests available online or at the library can help you become familiar with the test format and questions. Previous nursing instructors also may be able to help you study or recommend study aids. Some nursing schools may even pay for a review course.

Cheryl signed up at a review center, where the staff custom-designed a review plan based on the strengths and weaknesses her NCLEX results revealed. Cheryl committed herself to several months of on-site video instruction at the review center. She also studied independently every day. Cheryl found the review course’s test-taking strategies particularly helpful. “It gave me my confidence back,” she says. “I realized I really did know this stuff.”

Expect Success

Overcoming an initial failure on the NCLEX is a testament to your character and the kind of nurse you’ll be, says Rachael, another South Carolina RN. She passed the NCLEX-RN on her second attempt in 1988, and the fact that she took it twice has not adversely affected her nursing career. “You can’t get stuck in depression or self-doubt if you fail the first time,” Rachael says. “If you’re going to wallow in this, then you would break down the first time a patient dies, and you wouldn’t make it as a nurse anyway.”

While failing the NCLEX embarrassed her at first, Rachael has no regrets, saying it means she can better relate to the struggling students she has trained and oriented through the years. She could even sympathize with a brother-in-law who failed the bar exam on his way to becoming a lawyer. “I can relate to some things that other people can’t relate to,” Rachael says.

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