Signs You Failed the NCLEX: What to Do if You Failed- SimpleNursing (2024)

Preparing for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is stressful enough. But if you’ve already taken the exam, you know it’s a taxing experience.

With so much on the line in your nursing career, looking for signs you failed the NCLEX when you take it is understandable.

NCLEX failure is serious, and it’s not an easy experience to brush off. However, it’s important to remember that failing the NCLEX doesn’t mean you’re done with nursing — it’s just one extra step in becoming a nurse.

Jump to Sections

  1. What happens if you fail the NCLEX?
  2. Can I fail the NCLEX at 85 questions?
  3. 10 Signs You Failed the NCLEX
  4. What You Need to Know About Failing the NCLEX

And as of April 2023, there is a new version of the NCLEX exam called the Next Generation NCLEX (NGN), which includes newer and more difficult material.

The nursing regulatory body (NRB) is the exclusive source for official results, which will be provided to candidates within six weeks following the completion of the exam., but there are ways to find unofficial results of your exam.

Since the NCLEX is an adaptive test using Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT), you can possibly find out if you failed or passed within the first 85 questions (also called “items”).

But if you know you failed the exam, what happens next in your nursing journey?

What happens if you fail the NCLEX?

If you failed the NCLEX already, you’re not alone.

You get to try again, but you’ll have to wait 45 days from when your results were released before you can retake it.

If your nursing regulatory body (NRB) participates in the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)’s Quick Results Service, you can purchase “unofficial” results for eight dollars within two business days after the exam.

Otherwise, official results are only available through your NRB six weeks after taking the exam.
Retaking the NCLEX can be expensive and time-consuming after so much studying, though. Between receiving the bad news and retaking the NCLEX, you can invest in a supplemental resource catered to passing the exam.

Can I fail the NCLEX at 85 questions?

To pass the NCLEX RN or PN, test takers must correctly answer at least 85 questions (the minimum amount). Unfortunately, that means you can also fail the exam within those 85 questions or items.

The NCLEX is an adaptive test, and the CAT system reassesses your proficiency every time you respond to a question based on your prior responses and their difficulty. The systems’ assessment of your skills gets increasingly accurate as you respond to each question.

If the system finds that your nursing knowledge isn’t up to par based on your answers, it will definitely fail you – even at 85 questions.

10 Signs You Failed the NCLEX

Some of these signs will be more obvious than others when you’re taking the NCLEX or waiting for your official pass or fail score:

  1. You were given questions at random difficulty.

NCLEX questions are supposed to increase in difficulty as you go along. But it might indicate failure if they range from very easy to extremely difficult in no particular order.

  1. The exam shuts off before completing the minimum required questions.

You will automatically fail if you answer enough questions incorrectly within the minimum amount.

  1. You received a lot of easy questions on the exam.

Question complexity and difficulty increases with the number of correct answers you give. That means incorrect answers will be followed by easy questions each time until you fail or get the questions right.

  1. You run out of time before responding to the minimum required questions.

If the time limit (five hours) for the test expires before it shuts off, it indicates that you answered too many questions incorrectly.

  1. You received a bad pop-up from the Pearson Vue NCLEX Trick.

Some NCLEX takers use the Pearson Vue NCLEX Trick to help them pass the exam. Although it’s not a 100% guaranteed sign, some NCLEX takers claim to see a “bad pop-up” at the end that indicates failure:

Signs You Failed the NCLEX: What to Do if You Failed- SimpleNursing (1)
  1. The Pearson Vue Quick Results Service says you failed.

As mentioned above, you can purchase unofficial results of your NCLEX exam for a fee.

  1. Your name and license number don’t appear on the state board of nursing.

You can check your state board of nursing to find your name and license number – but if it’s not there, that most likely means you failed the NCLEX.

  1. You weren’t familiar with the exam’s questions.

Even if it’s a result of a lack of studying, starting with complex questions could indicate failure early in the exam.

  1. You weren’t given any questions on advanced nursing skills.

If the exam didn’t give you questions related to higher-level nursing skills, it could mean that you’re answering too many questions incorrectly.

  1. An NCLEX Candidate Performance Report was sent to you.

The Candidate Performance Report (CPR) is an NCSBN official report detailing your performance in each test plan’s topic areas. If you receive it, that means you failed the exam.

To prepare for retaking the exam, you can utilize the CPR as a reference.

What You Need to Know About Failing the NCLEX

These are common questions about failing the NCLEX – before taking it and after receiving official results.

What do I do if I failed the NCLEX?

First, take a deep breath and think about what went wrong. Was it an issue with timing or pacing? Was there too much information on one question? Or Did you run out of time?

Knowing what went wrong will help you prepare for your next attempt, and utilizing resources like the CPR can help immensely.

You could retake the exam as soon as possible (after a 45-day waiting period) until you get that passing score.

How common is it to fail the NCLEX?

In short, it’s fairly common – and more common for those who don’t study or have the right materials.

According to the NCSBN’s pass rates, here are the failure rates for the NCLEX-RN:

  • Overall, an average of 42% of all NCLEX-RN takers will fail (including first-timers and retakers).
  • For first-time US test-takers, an average of 20% of them fail.
  • For US retakers, an average of 59% of them fail.

And for the NCLEX-PN:

  • Overall, an average of 34% of all NCLEX-PN takers will fail (including first-timers and retakers)
  • For first-time US test-takers, an average of 20% of them fail.
  • For retakers, an average of 62% of them fail.

Find out more about passing the NCLEXPN.

How many questions can you miss on the NCLEX to pass?

You can miss up to 85 questions before officially passing the NCLEX exam. But it’s important to note that pass and fail scores are more based on the NCLEX’s confidence interval.

You technically pass when correctly answering enough questions to remain above the passing line with a 95% confidence interval. And conversely, you can fail the test if they do not remain above that 95% confidence pass line.

How many questions on the NCLEX do you need to get right to pass?

You must get at least 85 questions correct, or achieve a 95% confidence level, to pass the NCLEX.

Can you work as a nurse if you fail the NCLEX?

All nurses have to pass the NCLEX to acquire a nursing license and practice. If you fail the exam, you should reschedule and restudy as soon as possible to get closer to working as a nurse.

In some states, you must inform your employer once you learn you didn’t pass the NCLEX (if you’re already employed).

How many times can you fail NCLEX?

Test takers must pass the NCLEX within three years after their nursing school graduation.

Even though most applicants pass the test on their first attempt, those who don’t are allowed to retake it 45 days after their initial test date. And while you can take the NCLEX as many times as it takes to pass, you have up to eight tries per year.

How accurate is the Pearson Vue trick?

Similar to any hacking method, the Pearson Vue NCLEX results trick cannot guarantee absolute accuracy in all cases. Employing this technique carries inherent risks, and it is advised to proceed with caution.

Taking the NCLEX in 2023? Read about the new Next Generation NCLEX (NGN) here.

Pass the NCLEX with Stress-Free Tools

Failing the NCLEX can happen to you, but it’s not the end of your nursing career. If you fail, the next steps are to reflect and prepare for a retry.

There are multiple signs to look out for when taking the NCLEX to see if you, (even while you’re taking it), but it’s best to wait for official results. The best way to pass (and know if you’re passing) is by using a trusted comprehensive learning resource with the right questions, explanations, study guides, and more.

If it’s your first time failing the NCLEX, or your fifth, you can harness the tools to pass the next try.
Start with the best resource for nursing postgrads today.

Signs You Failed the NCLEX: What to Do if You Failed- SimpleNursing (2024)


Is it normal to feel like you failed after the NCLEX? ›

Even though you may feel convinced you knew nothing on the NCLEX and are sure you failed, in reality, you probably passed the test. The usual passing rate of NCLEX candidates studying nursing in the U.S. is around 86%. So statistically, you have a far better chance of passing than failing.

What is the pass rate for the simple nursing NCLEX? ›

Over 1,000,000 students earning a 96% pass rate.

How do I know if I failed NCLEX? ›

An NCLEX Candidate Performance Report was sent to you.

The Candidate Performance Report (CPR) is an NCSBN official report detailing your performance in each test plan's topic areas. If you receive it, that means you failed the exam. To prepare for retaking the exam, you can utilize the CPR as a reference.

What to do now that I failed the NCLEX? ›

To reapply after you failed NCLEX, contact your Nursing Regulatory Board/State Board of Nursing and notify them that you plan to retake the exam. The BON will advise you of any documents or fees you need to submit before you can retest. Log in to your Pearson VUE account and re-register for the NCLEX exam.

Does NCLEX get harder when you fail? ›

Does NCLEX-RN Get Harder with Every Retake After Failing? Some candidates mistakenly believe that the NCLEX is harder each time. Questions become more challenging with each correct answer you provide on the NCLEX. However, subsequent tests are not easier or more difficult than previous exams.

When should I schedule NCLEX after failing? ›

NCLEX Retake Policy

The NCSBN requires that an individual wait a full 45 days from the date of their first test before retaking the exam. The 45-day waiting period applies to any additional attempts; the applicant must wait a full 45 days from the date of their last attempt.

Is simple nursing enough for NCLEX? ›

Together, Simple Nursing and Picmonic have helped thousands of students through school on their way to becoming successful healthcare professionals. Simple Nursing breaks down subjects to help me understand them and it is also good for NCLEX tips.

What is the lowest score to pass the NCLEX? ›

While it's possible to pass the NCLEX after answering all 135, it's also possible to pass the test with a minimum of 70 questions or any number in between. Keep in mind NCLEX has a time limit of five hours. If you haven't answered enough questions correctly when the clock runs out, you will fail the test.

Do most nursing students pass the NCLEX? ›

Find out the reasons and what you can do as a student or nurse educator. For first-time test-takers, the pass rate fell to 79.9% and for all test-takers to 63.4%.

What is the bad email after NCLEX? ›

2. The “bad” email: You get a Candidate Performance Report (CPR) Candidate performance reports are only sent to people who failed the NCLEX, so if you get one emailed to you, then, unfortunately, you have not passed. This is 100% accurate.

Is it bad to get all 145 questions on NCLEX? ›

Nope! And it does not mean you failed. Even at 75 questions can have a failed result.

How long after NCLEX does Pearson VUE trick work? ›

The Pearson Vue Trick cannot be attempted until you have taken the NCLEX exam and received the email confirming your exam results. It is important to wait at least an hour after the exam before attempting the trick, as this will ensure that all necessary information has been transferred to Pearson Vue.

What if the last question on the NCLEX was easy? ›

If the last question on the NCLEX was easy, it means you got a question that was easy or a topic you knew very well. While that could be a sign you passed, you won't know for sure until the official results are available.

How accurate is the Pearson VUE trick? ›

How Reliable Is the Pearson Vue NCLEX Trick? Like all hacks, the Pearson Vue NCLEX results trick may not always be 100% accurate. Some sources suggest good pop-ups, which indicate you passed the NCLEX, are more accurate than bad pop-ups which indicate an unsuccessful NCLEX attempt.

Can Pearson VUE quick results be wrong? ›

Are NCLEX Quick Results Accurate? The NCLEX Quick Results/Pearson Vue Quick Results are believed to be 100% accurate. However, the quick results are computer-generated and unofficial. Official results are released by the state board of nursing, not the NCLEX Quick Results Service.

What is the hardest part of the NCLEX? ›

Let's look at the 16 most common challenges NCLEX candidates face and ways you can overcome them.
  1. Second-Guessing Your Abilities. ...
  2. Changing Answers Repeatedly. ...
  3. Reading Questions Too Fast. ...
  4. Cramming Before the Test. ...
  5. Not Using the Right Study Tools. ...
  6. Not Getting Enough Rest Before the Test. ...
  7. Reading Too Much into a Question.

Why do I keep failing the NCLEX? ›

Failing the NCLEX may indicate that your study habits were not optimal. Identify your areas of opportunity, and be clear about how you will alter your approach for your next attempt. You may have tried to cram too much studying into too short a time, or you might have not studied enough.

What do you say to someone who failed the NCLEX? ›

Tell them that this failure does not define them.

Tell them it was one exam, in one class. It doesn't mean that they are a failure at life, and it doesn't even mean they can't be successful in the rest of the course. You can say "I know it feels like you'll never get past this, but you will.

What are considered hard questions on NCLEX? ›

Each category of questions requires an increasing level of critical thinking skills. Analysis, synthesis and evaluation questions would be considered higher-level NCLEX questions. Synthesis questions are based on creating or proposing solutions, such as a plan of care.

Can I fail NCLEX with 75 questions? ›

There are a total of 265 questions on the NCLEX, but test-takers only need to answer between 75 and 145 questions in order to pass. If you don't answer enough questions correctly, you will not pass the NCLEX. The minimum passing score for the NCLEX is set by each individual state board of nursing.

What does 145 questions on NCLEX mean? ›

In short, answering all 145 questions on the NCLEX does not mean you failed the exam. It also doesn't mean you necessarily passed either. Though most students, as I said already, will pass the NCLEX. New Nurse Academy. Trusted by 430,000+ future nurses and new nurses everywhere.

Can you pass NCLEX with minimal studying? ›

To pass the NCLEX, students should plan to spend a minimum of 1-2 months studying.

Which state is easiest for NCLEX? ›

There is no “easy” state to take the NCLEX. The NCLEX is a national exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Because it's national, the NCLEX will be the same regardless of what state you choose to take it in. Check out the comprehensive NCLEX prep review that I recommend.

Which state is easier for NCLEX? ›

New Hampshire boasts the highest NCLEX pass rate average in the U.S., over 14% higher than the national average. In 2022, five of the state's eight bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs reported first-time pass rates above 90%, including a 100% rate for Plymouth State University.

Is 50% passing on the NCLEX? ›

The NCLEX is scored using dichotomous scoring, so you can either pass or fail the exam. Currently, to pass the NCLEX-RN, the standard is 0.00 logits–or answer questions correctly at least 50% of the time. The NCLEX-PN standard is -0.18 logits.

How common is it to fail the NCLEX? ›

According to the NCSBN, the national first time NCLEX-RN pass rate for US educated nurses in 2020 was 86.5% and the PN pass rate for the same period of time was 83%. The pass rate for repeat RN test-takers was only 42.9% and for PN 35.6%.

What does near passing mean on NCLEX? ›

A: “Near the Passing Standard” means a particular candidate's ability estimate is not clearly above or clearly below the passing standard in a content area.

How many times can a nursing student take the NCLEX? ›

Frequently Asked Questions About the NCLEX

According to NCSBN rules, you can take the NCLEX eight times a year with 45 days in between attempts.

Can you fail NCLEX in 85 questions? ›

yes but the people that fail with 85 KNOW they fail and have bombed it while leaving the testing center. the only stats they publish is the pass fail rate which is roughly 80% pass rate for first time lpn testers.

Is nursing school harder than NCLEX? ›

Unlike nursing school exams, which test for knowledge, the NCLEX tests your ability to apply and analyze situations using the nursing knowledge you gained in school. Logic and critical thinking, rather than rote memorization, are emphasized in this test—making it much more difficult and comprehensive.

Does getting the last question wrong on the NCLEX mean you failed? ›

If the last question is below the level of difficulty needed to pass, the candidate fails. If the last question is above the level of difficulty needed to pass, the candidate passes.

What to do after failing NCLEX 3 times? ›

If they fail, they'll need to wait 45 days before retesting. After failing three times, though, they'll need to complete a board-approved remediation program before the next retake. test-takers have six attempts to pass in total.

Is NCLEX shutting off at 75 good? ›

When the NCLEX-RN shuts off at 75 questions, it means you either did very well or very poorly—enough so that the CAT model is 95% confident in your success or failure after only one-third of the possible 265 exam questions. Further, in a 75-question test only 60 questions are counted toward your passing score.

What happens if you get all the questions on the NCLEX? ›

Maximum-length Exam Rule

If you end up answering the full 145 questions, that indicates that you're close to the passing standard, and the computer will keep giving you questions until you've reached the full number of possible questions.

Does it matter how many questions you get on the NCLEX? ›

A candidate that asks, how many questions do you need to pass NCLEX, will not receive a definite answer. Candidates must answer at least 75 questions in the five available hours or fail the test. The maximum number of questions in both exams is 145. Therefore, test-takers typically answer between 75 and 145.

How do I know if I passed my Pearson VUE exam? ›

Candidates who attempt a certification exam with Pearson VUE will receive a score report upon completion of the exam. To view the score report, please log into Pearson VUE and click “View Score Reports” under My Account. Passing scores are set using statistical analysis and are subject to change.

What does the bad pop up look like for NCLEX? ›

What Does the Bad Pop up For the NCLEX Say? The bad pop-up for the NCLEX will say something along the lines of “Our records indicate that you have recently scheduled this exam. Another registration cannot be made at this time.”

How soon after I take the NCLEX can I see my results? ›

Typically, it takes around six weeks to receive official results after taking the NCLEX exam.

Does the NCLEX start with easy questions? ›

The test starts easy and, as you answer questions correctly, gradually increases in difficulty. The NCLEX will ramp up the difficulty until you get a question wrong.

How many questions should you answer before NCLEX? ›

We recommend that you complete about 2,800 practice questions before your exam. If you are giving yourself a month to study, that means that you would be doing about 100 NCLEX practice questions per day.

Does the last question determine if you pass the NCLEX? ›

If the last question you answered was above the passing standard, you will pass the exam. Even if the question was answered wrong, as long as the question was above the passing standard you will still pass the exam.

Has anyone tried the Pearson VUE trick and failed? ›

I took my NCLEX on Tuesday and left feeling super down, I literally felt confident about maybe 20 questions. I cried A LOT and was pretty sure I failed. I did the Pearson Vue trick no less than 1000 times and got the "bad pop up" every time.

How do you tell if you passed the NCLEX early? ›

The only way you will receive your official results is through your nursing regulatory body. This takes place approximately six weeks after you take the NCLEX. Some things to note: If you have not received your results after six weeks, contact your nursing regulatory body.

How do I know if I passed NCLEX? ›

How to Access
  1. Sign into the Pearson VUE website with username and password.
  2. Under "My Account," select "Quick Results"
  3. If results are available, Click "Purchase"
  4. Fill in the payment information and click Next.
  5. Confirm order by clicking the "Submit Order" button.
  6. Result will appear on the receipt page.

Is it exactly 48 hours for NCLEX quick results? ›

Are NCLEX Quick Results 48 Hours From Start or Finish? Quick results are available 48 hours after you finish your NCLEX exam. Technically the 48 hours are 2 business days, so it can be closer to the beginning of your test instead of the end.

Does Pearson monitor your screen? ›

Introduction to online proctored exams with Pearson VUE

A proctor will monitor your exam via webcam and microphone to maintain the integrity of exam results. Learn more about the online proctoring experience by visiting the Pearson VUE site.

Does Pearson record you when taking a test? ›

When you do a test or quiz online, your instructor can require automated proctoring. Your computer's webcam monitors your work and makes a video that your instructor can review after you finish. If the application detects anything that might indicate cheating, your instructor gets an alert.

Why did the NCLEX feel so hard? ›

Rather than using memorization skills, logic and critical thinking skills are required to succeed on this exam, making it more comprehensive and challenging. So, if you find yourself asking, "How hard is the NCLEX-RN? - The short answer is, it's very hard.

Is 145 questions on NCLEX bad? ›

Nope! And it does not mean you failed. Even at 75 questions can have a failed result.

How reliable is the Pearson VUE trick? ›

How Reliable Is the Pearson Vue NCLEX Trick? Like all hacks, the Pearson Vue NCLEX results trick may not always be 100% accurate. Some sources suggest good pop-ups, which indicate you passed the NCLEX, are more accurate than bad pop-ups which indicate an unsuccessful NCLEX attempt.

How accurate is the Pearson VUE trick bad pop up? ›

The NCLEX trick is not 100% accurate. Some students have reported getting “a bad pop-up” when they passed and getting “the good pop-up” when they failed.

Are the unofficial NCLEX results ever wrong? ›

While the NCLEX Quick Results are unofficial test results, they are believed to be accurate, which means you can stop worrying about whether you passed the test or not.

What is considered a hard question on NCLEX? ›

Analysis, synthesis and evaluation questions would be considered higher-level NCLEX questions. Synthesis questions are based on creating or proposing solutions, such as a plan of care.

How many people fail the NCLEX on the first try? ›

Battelli passed the state board exam on the first try. But nationally, the percentage of candidates taking the NCLEX-RN exam for the first time and passing fell from 88.2% in 2019 to 80.9% last year, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Why did I get all 145 questions on NCLEX? ›

Does 145 questions on NCLEX mean you failed? No, if you answer all 145 questions on the NCLEX, that does not mean you fail. In fact, if you answered 145 questions and each question was progressively more challenging, then that is a good sign that you passed.

How many questions out of 75 do you need to pass NCLEX? ›

A test-taker must have answered the minimum number of required test questions to be eligible to pass. For examinees taking the NCLEX-RN, at least 75 questions must be answered. A minimum of 85 questions must be completed on the NCLEX-PN exam.

What if you get all 265 questions on NCLEX? ›

If a student got all 265 questions, that would mean they are really straddling the competency line. The NCLEX algorithm is complicated, but it's a very smart, adaptive test. After you get past 75 questions, once it determines whether you're above passing or below passing, it will shut off.

Do people fail the NCLEX in 75? ›

Yea it can potentially turn off at 75 questions if you've gotten a certain amount wrong. The NCLEX works with an algorithm of questions, asking questions that are harder as you go and bases each question on If you answered the last question correctly.

How many SATA should you get on NCLEX? ›

You may get around 10-25 SATA questions in total, but that will depend on how you're answering your NCLEX questions.

Are priority questions higher level on NCLEX? ›

If you were able to get priority questions, then you are near the passing mark. If you were given TRIAGE or more difficult questions towards the end of the exam, then you might have surpassed the passing level.


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