Successfully Retaking the NCLEX-RN Test
The NCLEX-RN is a challenging exam that can consist of up to 265 questions designed to measure test-takers' abilities to effectively handle situations that nurses deal with on the job. If you're an aspiring nurse who failed the test, there are strategies you can employ to help make your retake successful.
Step 1: Determine Why You Didn't Pass
To effectively prepare to retake the NCLEX-RN test, it helps to identify the areas of the test that you had issues with the first time. Every person who takes the NCLEX-RN and fails receives a Candidate Performance Report (CPR).
The NCLEX-RN test is broken down into 8 content areas. The CPR indicates whether a test-taker achieved the passing standard in each area. The sections that a test-taker had trouble with receive a note of ''below the passing standard'' or ''near the passing standard''. This breakdown is designed to help individuals who fail the test identify the areas where they need to improve their performance.
Step 2: Familiarize Yourself with the Exam
Information about the NCLEX-RN is available through test plans posted on the NCSBN website (www.ncsbn.org). These resources outline the 8 content areas and the types of topics covered in each one. They also explain the grading system used and the computerized test system.
Step 3: Schedule Study Time
A minimum of 45 days must elapse between an individual's test attempts. It can also take up to 6 weeks to receive official test results, so individuals who live in a state that offers quick results may opt to purchase these unofficial test scores on the second business day after taking the test.
Once you have determined that you failed the test, you can begin scheduling study time. If you opted for quick results, you won't have your CPR to know which areas you need to emphasize in your studies. One factor to consider, then, is how much of the test is spent on each of the 8 content areas:
|Content Area||Percentage of Test||Reasonable Percentage of Study Time|
|Management of Care||17-23%||20%|
|Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies||12-18%||15%|
|Safety and Infection Control||9-15%||12%|
|Reduction of Risk Potential||9-15%||12%|
|Health Promotion and Maintenance||6-12%||9%|
|Basic Care and Comfort||6-12%||9%|
Divide your study time accordingly. For example, unless you have your CPR indicating that you passed the management of care section but failed the psychosocial integrity area, it would not make sense to prioritize studying psychosocial integrity topics over management of care topics, since approximately one fifth of the test focuses on management of care.
It's important to be honest with yourself about how much study time you need. Consider how much time you spent studying for the exam the first time and make sure that you exceed that amount of time before retaking the test. Going through the process of scheduling study time on your calendar will help you realize how much time you have available to study and serve as a daily reminder to study for the exam. You can also check out these lesson to get tips for Fitting Studying into a Busy Schedule.
Step 4: Take Test Preparation Courses
To thoroughly prepare for the NCLEX-RN test, it is a good idea to use reputable resources, such as this NCLEX-RN Practice & Study Guide, to help you cover all of the relevant material. This is a self-guided course that includes over 300 short lessons. It can enable individuals with limited or short periods of time available for study to complete lessons, since the typical lesson length is about 8 minutes.
The NCSBN also offers a course that can be used to prepare for the NCLEX-RN exam. It can be accessed online, and individuals can opt to take the course for a specific number of weeks.
Step 5: Find a Study Partner or Study Group
If you're still in college or have recently graduated, then you likely know other individuals who are preparing to take the NCLEX-RN exam. Form a study group or find a study partner who will motivate you to study and check on your progress. Having a study partner or group can help ensure that you don't forget to study and that you focus on preparing for all areas of the test.