I Failed NCLEX 3 Times . . . Here's What I Learned | NURSING.com
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When I opened the email from Ashely, I could tell that she was completely deflated.
She had just failed NCLEX 3 times.
At that time she was sobbing and unsure if she should even continue on her path in nursing. Prior to this, she was sure that nursing was her calling . . . how could she be failing?
Find out how Derek conquered the NCLEX after 6 failed attempts. Read Here "I Failed The NCLEX 6 Times . . . How I Finally Passed"
A year later, she reached out to me again with the subject line in her email: RN . . . More Than an Abbreviation
Ashley’s Story (how she finally passed NCLEX)
Listen to my interview with Ashley right here:
Failed NCLEX® Three Times?. . So What!
It took Ashley 4 tries to finally pass.
The journey to passing was not a short one.
She spent over a year going through failure.
She had been interviewed and accepted an RN job that was contingent on passing NCLEX.
After each failure, she had to tell her nurse manager 3 times that she had failed. She watched classmates and friends passing and starting jobs.
Why is this so motivating to me?
Ashley’s approach to this trial is what truly makes her stand out and makes me feel confident that she will be a phenomenal nurse and do so much for our profession.
This is not an uncommon concern with nursing students. We get emails like this so often. The NCLEX is simply a beast and a complicated test . . . and shows very little how you will do as a nurse.
What Didn’t Work for Ashley:
Here are the resources she recommends:
- Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment (one of my favorite nursing books)
- NCSBN NCLEX Prep Course
- Active Learning – Improve Clinical Education in Nursing
View our Time Management Lesson
Ashley and I are kindred spirits when it comes to mnemonics, goals, and how to show compassion to patients.
A failure is an event . . . it doesn’t have to define YOU.
YOU are not your grades.
Everyone has a unique story. Don’t quit.
If you need additional help with nursing school or failed NCLEX. Check out the NURSING.com. We cover all major nursing topics and include thousands of practice questions and resources.
Failed NCLEX® twice, but my third time felt easy!
We recently got an e-mail from a NURSING.com user who shared this!!
Hi there! I just wanted to say thank you. I passed my NCLEX exam on the third try using NURSING.com! I got 75 questions and 24 SATAs questions I walked out of the testing centre knowing I passed! The NCLEX felt easy! I will defiantly be telling any nursing student about you guys!
We had to know more, so we reached out and asked her how she did it. What did she do to make that third attempt successful? We heard back and this is her story:
Tell us about yourself
I’m a Canadian nurse so the NCLEX was new to me. The first time I took it I failed at 75 questions, second time I also failed at 265 questions.
I was determined to pass this time! In Canada we are only allowed 3 attempts at the NCLEX! (Scary) but I did it!
How did you pass that third time?
I started a study group with a friend of mine who also was a repeat test taker we studied every Tuesday and Thursday together. I did all the NURSING.com courses, I would do one course at a time, then do practice questions
I also did uworld my average on uworld was in the 99th percentile and my rank with NURSING.com was number 2! I studied on average 6 days a week for about 6 hours a day. I was determined to pass this time!
And how did the NCLEX go on your third attempt?
The day of my NCLEX I walked in the test centre knowing I would pass, 75 questions later and 24 SATAS the computer shut off and I knew I had passed the NCLEX!
The NCLEX felt easy to me this time. Had to wait 9 days to get my official results but I got the four letter word I was hoping for PASS! and I also got to add two more letters behind my last name RN! thanks again for everything! I will defiantly be telling everyone about NURSING.com.
How to Answer Any SATA Question (the SATA Success Pyramid)
The NCLEX is NOT a Race
So what if most of your class already have some shiny new additional letters affixed to their name? It’s not a race to the altar honey! Whoever passes the NCLEX first or who ends up doing so last does not matter as far as being a great nurse is concerned.
The NCLEX is just An Exam
I’ve said this before and I’m going to say this again, the NCLEX is no longer an effective tool to determine who’ll make a good nurse or not. Unfortunately, until the day comes when some other test is introduced to take its place, we are stuck with having to pass the NCLEX.
The NCLEX Doesn’t Define You
The exam should simply be a reflection of your nursing knowledge. It does not reflect how good you are with your patients, how caring you are, and how much you love nursing. The same goes for your NCLEX score. Stop obsessing over numbers. 75 questions or 300 questions, or 175 questions don’t matter. It’s not like your NCLEX score will be printed out to your license anyway.
No one would care how many tries it took you to pass the test, and your patients couldn’t care less about which nursing competencies you rocked and which ones you merely did ‘meh’ on. What matters is what you do once you are already an RN and how you handled getting there.
Grieve and Regroup
Failing sucks. It hurts, and then it sucks some more.
You have to give yourself a break and let yourself grieve or you’d go crazy from bottling up buckets of tears.
Grieve for not being there for a loved one’s special day.
Grieve for all the pounds you’ve lost or put on because of all the stress during your NCLEX preparation days.
Grieve for that time that you had to sacrifice watching Game of Thrones because you have scheduled study time for the NCLEX.
Just let yourself go and have a good crying/howling/pigging-out session.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll feel a little bit better and hopefully will come back to your senses; that’s the time to plot your next steps. Surely, there’s no way that you’ll take not passing the NCLEX as a defeat and be totally okay with it, right?
Think about this, if you’ve survived nursing school, along with a gazillion exams that come with it, you can certainly do the same for the NCLEX! There is no bigger tragedy than a nurse who’s worked so hard to be a nurse and then gives up just because of some test (you know what I mean, and you bet I’m looking at you!).
Take Care of YOU, the NCLEX Second
You know what, the NCLEX is just some exam that should have been overhauled years ago anyway, so in the end, it is you and what you want that matters.
If you no longer feel like you want to be a nurse, don’t be one. What’s the point of passing a test that will allow you to legally practice being a nurse if your heart is no longer in nursing?
Let me be clear here, I am not saying that you should ditch your dream. What I am saying is that it is okay to be selfish sometimes and start letting go of things that are no longer enjoyable for you. If you start missing it, then that’s the time to…
Get Motivated to Take the NCLEX Again
Oh yeah, you’ve got your mojo back! What are you waiting for? Go ahead and…
Shop around for the best NCLEX preparation course. Forget what everyone and their sister is using when it comes to reviewing for your exam, go for what looks good for you. Read reviews, ask what the course involves, and choose based on your own judgment. You’ll end up thanking yourself later for it.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Gone are the days when you only have books and perhaps some CDs to help you crush the NCLEX. Now you can join online study groups, listen to motivating podcasts or even use NCLEX preparation apps. Hey, if it works, then it works! ‘Nuff said.
Find inspiration if need be. If you think that you suck because the NCLEX won’t give you a thumbs up even after repeated tries, then you clearly have not heard of Ashley’s inspirational story. So pick yourself up and go after your dream. Remember #YOLO!
Did Ashley’s or Lindsay’s Stories Help You?
If Ashley’s story resonates with you or helps you . . . please share your thoughts and story below. If you’ve failed NCLEX and want to give NURSING.com a try click below: