Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Taking the NCLEX-RN a Second Time

State Library of Queensland (CC-BY-SA-2.5)

What happens when you’ve made the appointment, done your studying, sat the NCLEX—and you don’t pass?

It’s not a terribly uncommon situation. The most recent pass rates for the NCLEX-RN in the US, for January to March 2015, show that about 15% of candidates do not pass the first time they write.

But there’s no way around it: taking a hit can be hard. The best thing to do when you haven’t succeeded is to analyze what went wrong. Was there an external factor affecting your test? Did you go out the night before the night before, thinking you’d be OK? Did your NCLEX appointment take place during a time of personal stress?

There need to be a least 45 days between your first and second or third NCLEX appointment, which allows time to put this post-exam analysis into study action.

Avoid the temptation to over-study. Instead, modify your study plan—do not simply repeat the old one. An instructor-led NCLEX-RN Prep course not only provides a review foundation, it’s also an objective way to figure out what areas caused you trouble on your first attempt.

If you didn’t before, make a schedule that sets out time for reviewing each concept and area, giving extra time to your problem topics. Never been a fan of flashcards? Maybe now it’s time to give them another chance. Study in 15-minute bursts, instead of hour-long sessions—or vice versa.

If you get butterflies at the thought of re-entering the NCLEX-RN exam room, and have the option, you could give yourself a change of scenery by trying out a different exam centre (for example, Toronto has two Pearson VUE locations, plus there are temporary centres, which you can find here). Or maybe a lucky pair of underwear will do the trick.

Most important of all: Make sure your confidence is where it needs to be before retaking the NCLEX-RN. A positive attitude is just as important as hours of study.