How Many Times Can You Take the NCLEX?

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NCLEX Retake Information

According to the policies of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), which oversees administration of the NCLEX examinations, you may take an exam no more than eight times in one year, but the organization does not cap the lifetime number of retakes allowed. Nursing boards in some states or jurisdictions, however, enforce more strict NCLEX retake policies. Examples include:

  • South Carolina. In South Carolina, if you fail the NCLEX on your first attempt, you have one year from the date of that exam to pass. If you do not pass within that year, you must complete board-approved remediation before retaking the exam. If you have not passed the NCLEX by the three-year anniversary of your graduation, you will have to attend a nursing education program before you may take the exam again.
  • Kansas. If you do not pass the NCLEX within two years of graduation in Kansas, you will have to meet requirements as determined by the state board, including submitting a Petition for Permission to Retest.
  • Michigan. Michigan allows applicants to take the NCLEX a maximum of six times, and no more than three times per year. If, after the first three attempts in one year, you have not passed, you must take a board-approved education program. After completion of that program, you will be provided another year and three attempts.
  • Louisiana. In Louisiana, you have four years from the time you graduate to pass the NCLEX. Within those four years, you may take the test a total of four times.

While not all jurisdictions have such restrictions, be sure to check directly with your state's board before you make plans to retake the NCLEX.

Additional Information About Retaking the NCLEX

Test takers in all locations must wait 45 days from the date they fail before being able to retake the exam. Upon being notified that you did not pass, you should first contact your jurisdiction's nursing board to notify them and determine fees and other retake requirements. Once you've determined eligibility, you will have to register again with Pearson VUE, receive your Authorization to Test (ATT) and then schedule your retake date.

Tools to Help You Pass

When you fail the NCLEX, the NCSBN provides a Candidate Performance Report (CPR), which offers insight into how you performed within each section of the exam. For each of the eight subject areas, the CPR notes whether you were below, near or above the passing standard. Reviewing this information should be your first step in preparing to retake the NCLEX. Once you have determined the content areas with which you need the most help, you will be able to create an effective plan of study that concentrates on your areas of weakness.

From there, you may want to check out review courses that allow you to tailor your studies to your needs. Study.com, for example, offers comprehensive online prep courses that are self-paced, so you may spend as much or as little time as you need on each subject area. Both the NCLEX - RN Study Guide and Practice and the NCLEX - PN Study Guide and Practice courses include self-assessment quizzes and exams to help you determine how well you are mastering content.

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