How to Pass the NCLEX with 75 Questions in One Attempt

One question is at the forefront of the mind of nearly every nursing student “How to pass the NCLEX?” Some even lust about the possibility of finishing the exam at the 75 question mark so they can be done with the agony of the dreaded “nursing boards” as quickly as possible. No one wants to pay the $300 (and up) fee to take the test again. So passing the NCLEX on the first attempt is a huge priority

Nursing school is a challenging experience. Nursing student constantly question “why is nursing school so hard?” until they take the NCLEX and see just how challenging the nursing boards can be. As if the rigors faced during your nursing education weren’t enough, you then have to take your professional licensure exam. Now comes the stress of preparing for the NCLEX. Whether you have completed an RN or LPN program, you still must pass your “boards” to practice as a nurse. Nursing school is about jumping through hoops, and NCLEX is just one more to jump through.

What is the NCLEX Pass Rate?

You may find yourself wondering “what is the NCLEX pass rate?” It’s actually a pretty common question. Knowing how well others perfect on this critical exam is important. NCSBN reports the 2018 NCLEX pass rates (for BSN programs) as 92.39%. The chart below shows NCLEX pass rates for ASN, diploma, and even LPN programs.

How to Pass the NCLEX with 75 Questions in One Attempt - NCLEX Pass Rates

You can find LPN pass rates (and other information) by downloading the report from NCSBN.

Passing the NCLEX

Passing the NCLEX RN in 75 questions can be a reality for you! 

If you’ve stumbled onto this page in a nervous effort to find any tips or advice you possibly can to do well on the NCLEX, then you’ve come to right place. If you’re worried about your NCLEX test preparation, you are not alone. You wouldn’t be a good nurse if you didn’t think things through (nursing process, anyone?). But since you’re already thinking like a nurse, then I’m sure you’ll do fine. However, just to be on the safe side, here are a few NCLEX tips and strategies that will give you a little extra confidence and help you answer the question: “How to pass the NCLEX?”

How to Pass the NCLEX

Stop Stressing.
How to Pass the NCLEX with 75 Questions in One Attempt - nclex hurdle to jump

The hard part is over. You’ve completed nursing school and put in the time and effort needed in order to be worthy of taking your state nursing boards. The tests you take in nursing school are meant to mimic the types of questions you will see on the NCLEX. In my experience, the questions on nursing school test my senior year were far more difficult than 70% of what was on the NCLEX.

You passed those, right?

Don’t Cram

By now you know most of what you’re going to know. Attempting to go over every detail you’ve learned in the last 2 years in a month is not going to get you anywhere. You should retouch on areas you had difficulty during school, but only briefly. Do not attempt to memorize your entire drug book! Do not listen to MP3s of lab values when you’re going to sleep.

Just don’t!

Review an NCLEX Strategy Guide

Saunders 2018-2019 Strategies for Test Success: Passing Nursing School and the NCLEX Exam (Saunders Strategies for Success for the Nclex Examination)

I think that the best NCLEX guide is Saunders Strategies for Test Success: Passing Nursing School and the NCLEX. This book will give you the foundation you need to approach any NCLEX question (whether you know the material or not) with the tools you need to select the right answer. It’s impossible to remember every single lab value or medication, but it is possible to eliminate wrong answers and then make use of deductive reasoning to find the best possible answer of those that remain. I wish I had known about this book before I started nursing school because it teaches you how to answer the types of questions that are on all the tests in nursing school. Those tests are designed to prepare you for the NCLEX.

Use Your Nursing School Notes

If you created a well-organized nursing school binder, you can use it to study the NCLEX. It can be helpful to rewriter and research topics and subjects that you struggled with during nursing school. Start with the content that you made the lowest grade on and work backward. Use this in conjunction with online study programs like NCLEX Prep Academy.

Review Questions and Take Practice Tests

Don’t spend every waking hour of every day with your nose in a book or computer screen taking practice tests. But do spend some time keeping your testing skills in peak performance. There are several good resources online for practice NCLEX questions as well as books. When you want to know how to pass the NCLEX you must first focus on what the important subject matter is and the mechanisms to get this information as quickly and easily as possible.

My favorite NCLEX question bank resource is NCLEX Prep Academy.

NCLEX Prep Resources and Tools

Online NCLEX Resources

  • Academy – One of the best, and most affordable NCLEX study solutions. Billed as “Your All-In-One, Secret Weapon for Dominating Nursing School and the NCLEX® Exam… Guaranteed.” It event boast a 200% money-back guarantee.
    • This comprehensive program includes all the subject matter areas that are critical to passing the NCLEX.
    • Subjects include: ABGs, Cardiac, EKG, Fluids & Electrolytes, Fundamentals, GI/GU, Hematology/ Oncology, Immunology, Integumentary, Lab Values, MedMaster Pharmacology, Mental Health, Metabolic, Endocrine, Musculoskeletal, Neuro, OB, Pediatrics, Respiratory, Test-Taking, and so much more!
  • Picmonic – Simplify complex nursing information and study for the NCLEX with beautiful imagery through visual story-telling. You can get 20% just by using this link!
  • Crush NCLEX – A user-friendly online NCLEX-RN preparation platform featuring review courses with relevant and comprehensive nursing content and a high-yielding practice question bank, all according to the latest NCLEX test plans and based on the NCLEX-RN blueprint.
  • BoardVitals – “3300 NCLEX-RN board review questions with detailed explanations to help you prepare for your nursing certification exam.” This is a great option because the questions distribution in the question bank mirrors that of the actual NCLEX. Get 10% off using code NERDY or buy one month get one free with promo code NERDYBOGO
  • Brilliant Nurse  – NCLEX RN and PN review programs. They have one-click daily reading and practice assignments as well as thousands of NCLEX questions and rationales. You can get 20% off using promo code nerdy20.
  • Kaplan – Nursing

NCLEX Question Bank Resources

  • NCLEX Practice Questions – This resource is from This is a great resource with over 3500 NCLEX style questions as a super affordable price.
  • Lippincott’s NCLEX 10,000
  • BoardVitals – “3300 NCLEX-RN board review questions with detailed explanations to help you prepare for your nursing certification exam.” This is a great option because the questions distribution in the question bank mirrors that of the actual NCLEX. Get 10% off using code NERDY or buy one month get one free with promo code NERDYBOGO

Find more resources for NCLEX Questions in our latest post containing over 60 NCLEX Question and study resources.



Check out our post on 5 Best NCLEX Review Books.

You may also like: Is Academy the Best NCLEX Review?

Study, But Don’t Over Study

Here’s one of my favorite NCLEX tips, because it’s just so simple. Determine a study routine and stick to it. I caution you not to overdo it here. If your study routine consists of spending every waking hour from now until test day trying to cover every single item you may have touched on in the last two years, you need to seriously reconsider. Spend a few hours each day reviewing what you struggled with during nursing school. Make sure you focus on test-taking strategies as well. These strategies are actually what you need to know how to pass the NCLEX, rather than just the raw data that will make up the questions. The question banks are a great resource, but you need to ensure that you are training your brain to think critically rather than trying to memorize answers. This is one of the biggest mistakes many NCLEX preppers make.

Focus on Your Problem Areas

You should try to touch every area but spend more time on the areas that you really struggled with. One area that most students are challenged by is Pharmacology. Consider looking at some different resources outside of the class notes and books you already have. To study Pharmacology for NCLEX prep, I recommend the Pharmacology course from It is very affordable and it’s video and audio lessons can save you a lot of time and effort trying to find the pharmacology information you need to know from multiple resources. You can get more information about this course, as well as some pharmacology study tips in our post 3 Pharmacology Tips to Help You Pass the NCLEX.

Don’t Study On Your NCLEX Test Day

Just don’t study on test day. You aren’t going to find some magical formula on how to pass the NCLEX the day of your test. You’ll just end up stressing yourself out if you try to cram in “just a few more questions.” We’ve already discussed how at this point you really shouldn’t be attempting to cram in content. Try to find a relaxing activity to fill your day with. But avoid anything NCLEX on NCLEX day, except well… the NCLEX itself.

Show Up Early

The last thing you want to do to do is fail your test by missing your appointment. Make sure that you know your way to your destination and arrive in enough time to use the restroom, drink some water, and sit down and relax. You don’t want to be running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to get to your testing appointment.

Go with Your Gut and Don’t Doubt Yourself

I cannot tell you the number of times I thought to myself “It’s supposed to be harder than this,” while I was taking the NCLEX. I found myself in doubt of answers that I knew; I just had to stop and tell myself to stop doubting. If I knew the answer, then why would I try and tell myself I didn’t? You have to be confident in your decisions on the test. Read all the answers and use critical thinking, but don’t be afraid to go with your gut.

CAT: Computerized Adaptive Testing

The NCLEX uses computerized adaptive testing technology. What that basically means is that is choosing your next question based upon if you successfully answered a question. Once you answer a certain amount correct in a certain level you bump up to the next level. You then have to answer a certain amount correct to bump up again until you get to a minimum of 75 questions. Every question you answer makes the computer recalculate your probability of success. So based on how many you get correct, it predicts if giving you more questions will help you pass or not. So getting past 75 questions does not mean you fail the NCLEX, it actually means it’s pretty sure you can pass it. However, it needs you to answer a few more questions correct before it can be sure.

Don’t Psych Yourself Out Trying to Figure Out the CAT Process

Don’t freak yourself out trying to figure out if the question you are answering is easier or harder than the one you just answered. In addition to the fact that you’re just wasting time, and it doesn’t make a difference, somewhere along the lines of 30 questions will be “test” question for use in future NCLEX exams. So you may be freaking out because you got an easy question after a serious of select all that apply and thinking that you bombed them when in reality the computer is just throwing in a “test” question (that doesn’t count) at random.

info and nursing school and nclex study resources at

Do Your Best and Forget the Rest

Do your very best and have confidence in yourself. There is no use trying to incorporate any and all what-if’s. You know this stuff, and you can and will pass the NCLEX and practice as a nurse.

Use the critical thinking skills you’ve developed in nursing school. They teach you exactly how to pass the NCLEX. All those hoops and ridiculous questions did have some justification. Trust me when I tell you that nursing school won’t be the last time you use your brain.

Hang on tight; this nursing ride can be a crazy one, but we are thrilled to have you!

Get More Nursing School Test & NCLEX Tips

Our friends over at have crafted a free webinar sharing several more key strategies that can help you pass the NCLEX and ace your nursing school tests. Knowing simple nursing school testing tricks can really make a big difference in your confidence level and your overall results. Check out the quick video and get full access to the video with the rest of the NCLEX test-taking tips.

Watch the Full Webinar Now

FAQ about How to Pass the NCLEX and NCLEX Questions

What is the NCLEX?  What does NCLEX stand for?

he acronym NCLEX stands for National Council Licensure Examination. It frequently referred to as “nursing boards” or “state boards.” It’s a test that nurse must pass after the completion of nursing school in order to be licensed as a nurse. NCLEX-RN is the state licensure exam for registered nurses. NCLEX-LPN is the state licensure exam for licensed practical nurses.

How Many Questions are on the NCLEX?

The NCLEX can have between 75 to 265 questions.

What does finishing the NCLEX at 75 questions mean?

Finishing the NCLEX as 75 questions means that the Computerized Adaptive Testing was confident in assessing your knowledge and critical thinking abilities. 75 NCLEX questions is not a direct indication of pass or fail. It means you were either doing really well or really poorly. If they kept getting harder right until it stopped at 75 questions, your chances are high you passed. If it did not, you might have failed.

How does the NCLEX Work?

The NCLEX is a computerized adaptive test (CAT) that adjusts in difficulty based on how well the tester performs. NCLEX test takers may not skip questions and may not go back to previous questions. The test gest progressively harder, so regardless of the test takers skill, all takers will notice an increase in difficulty for questions at the end of the test. For more details read How NCLEX works.

How Hard is the NCLEX?

Many find the NCLEX to be the hardest test they’ve ever taken. Others found their nursing school exams to be much more difficult. In fact, nursing school is so hard to prepare you to pass the NCLEX. The difficulty of the NCLEX depends on how well nursing school prepared you (and you prepared yourself), how well you do with test-taking overall, how many questions you’ve already answered, and whether you receive a lot of “trial” questions. It’s universally agreed that it’s a difficult test, but it probably should be considering the great responsibility nurses have. We’ve found that using a comprehensive NCLEX review program, like Nursing School Academy, throughout nursing school and especially right before taking the NCLEX is the best strategy to pass on the first attempt.

What is an ideal NCLEX study plan?

There isn’t one NCLEX study plan that works for everyone. We recommend catering one to your learning style and focusing on the subjects that you have weaknesses in. Academy lets you build study plans that align with your unique needs.

Is ATI harder than NCLEX?

Whether ATI NLCEX questions are harder than the NCLEX is somewhat subjective. Many people take the NCLEX after prepping with ATI, but pass the NCLEX with 75 questions. The “passing rate” on NCLEX is adaptive, but many state that if you pass at least 50-60% of the questions on ATI test banks, then you will pass the NCLEX.

What is the NCLEX trick?

After you’ve taken the NCLEX it takes a few days for the results to appear online. However, many have had success by attempting to register to take the NCLEX again before these results are ready. If you’ve passed, it will not let you register. Do this as your own risk, as there is a very real risk it still may allow you to register and you’ll be out of that fee! Read more about the Pearson Vue NCLEX trick.

Why do schools force you to take the Kaplan NCLEX review or ATI?

Nursing schools need to maintain certain NCLEX pass rates in order to maintain their accreditation. Forcing students to take an NCLEX prep course improves this rate. The fee is typically bundled into tuition so it is not an additional out of pocket cost. However, they aren’t always the best NCLEX review programs, and it’s much better to have a solution you can cater to your unique learning style. We recommend Academy for this.

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78 thoughts on “How to Pass the NCLEX with 75 Questions in One Attempt”

  1. I graduated with my BSN in 1997. I used multiple study resources, such as answering sample questions and studying in groups. I was able to determine where my weaknesses were and I concentrated on those areas the most. I passed the NCLEX on the first attempt. Studying with my classmates was extremely helpful because we could discuss the sample questions and their rationales. This reinforced our knowledge and helped tremendously.

  2. Hi. I graduated from my nursing school in June 2017. I had a job lined up and when I wrote my NCLEX, i failed at 75 questions. I waited a few months to get over the blues of failing, and changed up my studying style. I invested more time with UWORLD, Hurst videos, Mark Klimek audios, and Kaplan’s CAT Nclex simulation. The UWORLD assessments said I had a “high chance of passing” and I passed according to Kaplan’s CAT exam. However, when I wrote the second time, i failed again at 265 questions. The CPR sheet with my NCLEX result letter showed that I did much much better than the first time, and was near the standard for every section except for 2. I’m feeling very disappointed in myself and stuck. Do you have any advice to help stay motivated and perhaps any other resource suggestions?

  3. Help! My daughter graduated with a BSN from Creighton University, a well known excellent nursing school. She spent most of the month of January studying ATI and took her test on Monday 1/22 (2018). She is disciplined, organized,but gets a lot of anxiety over standardized tests.Well,we got the results back yesterday and she failed. She had a job all lined up a the most prestigious hospital in the country. She is of course devastated, but picking up the pieces and trying to take the test again in 45 days. I don’t think ATI was best for her, but was looking for something that gave her confidence when she sees the questions. Any thoughts?

  4. Hi! I have been an LPN for a year and a couple of months, passed PN nclex first time. I have been unsuccessful with the RN nclex. I was never great in school, and just passed by the skin of my teeth. What can I do to help me prepare better? I do practice tests. But I don’t know how to movitvate myself outside of my daily living schedule to find time to do a great study session every day. I have a 2 year old and work full time

  5. I think people are paying too much attention to how many questions they are given. If you know how many questions you were given then chances are that you know what number you are on at each question and that can raise your nerves even more. Try not to focus or even look at the number of each question. I past 1st try in Oct 2013 but I could not even tell you how many questions I got, nor did I care. I used ATI and that was the only resource I used. Don’t give up but most importantly believe in yourself and have confidence; it makes a huge difference. Good luck to all.

  6. I just graduated with my BSN and am awaiting my NCLEX test date. I have UWorld and the NCLEX RN Mastery App. UWorld says I am “highly likely to pass” and my last ATI comprehensive predictor put me in the 99th percentile.
    I am not sure how accurate this is and some days I feel 110% confident and others I feel nervous because I feel like it would be a big let down to not pass on the first try. I was in a rigorous program and believe that I have been prepared, but you never know. I don’t know that I have the stamina for 265 questions. I am a fast test taker, but my attention span is short. I have been told to study 265 questions a day, but it is hard for me to sit there and knock them out. It is also hard to stay focused on daily studying without having a test date in mind. Any suggestions?

    1. Connor, thank you for your comment. It is very normal to fluctuate in your confidence when preparing to take the NCLEX. I like both methods that you are using to study. If you are looking to add something else I would consider NRSNG Academy. They offer a 200% guarantee that you will pass on the first try or they refund you 200% of the purchase price.

      As for staying focused, if you cannot study 265+ questions a day then don’t do it. Keep it as a more manageable amount per day so that you have a better chance of retaining what you actually learn. And keep in mind that you may not have 265 questions on the NCLEX. Once you hit the passing mark the test will stop and you are done. So don’t worry about staying focused for almost 300 questions, rather study to make sure you know answers without a doubt and can get the first 75 questions correct and then be finished.

      Does that help?

  7. I am 40 and i graduated 1996. Though i have 7 years experience in the academe i still have this fear in taking another nursing examination. I have read some strategies and i could see this are applicable for new graduates of at least 3 years ago, mine is 21 years ago. Will i use the same technique? Thank you very much.

  8. Hi I’m an internationally educated nurse (graduated in 2001 – in New Zealand), I’m wanting to take a review course and I’m thinking the hurst review? Does anyone have any insight into best courses for international nurses? I have the Saunders review and and the NCLEX mastery (love the mastery).

    1. Salutations!
      I am a recent grad from Denver, CO and our school provided the Hurst review during the last term which I found it to be great in terms of reviewing content. As far as NCLEX style questions, I have to recommend Kaplan (which my school also signed us up for).
      On your own, I know it’s a bit pricey, but I truly believe their program is effective. Their approach to breaking down questions and analyzing practice exam results is a tremendous tool that I haven’t found anywhere else. Thus far, all of my cohorts that have taken the exam have passed it. My test date is around the corner and I am confident that I will do well 🙂 The best of luck New Zealand!

      1. Thanks Ana,
        I booked into hurst and that has helped a lot. Still studying lots at the moment, just waiting to hear from Pearson vue. Hope everything went well for you ?

  9. I just found out today that I failed the NCLEX-RN exam in 75 questions. I used the Saunders Comprehensive Review Book, NCSBN Learning Extension online review course, and Lippincott The Point program. Everyone was thinking I passed because it shut down at 75 but when I received my exam results today I was in total shock. I feel I was not given a fair chance to pass the exam as I hear other students who have taken 200 questions and passed. I felt the computer should have given me an equal amount of questions as well to pass. But thinking today I know I need training on how to disect the questions and find an interactive course to attend whether online or in person. Can anyone recommend any that has a policy that if you fail they will offer free remediation or something of that nature? as of right now I am clueless as to which resources to use next. I’m tired of spending money on resources and not being successful in the NCLEX 🙁 I am proof you can pass or fail at 75 questions don’t believe what others say it is guaranteed pass if it shuts down at 75 questions.

    1. Some of these replies are before April 2013. In April of 2013 the test became MUCH harder! I have followed the changes since I finished mine in May of 2013. I failed the first time at 265 questions. “They” (the big fat “they” in the sky) say I was only one away from passing because it would have shut off earlier. Either way, I picked up my big girl panties and did it again without wasting time on stress. Taking it a second time is MUCH more stressful because your self-esteem is hurt. It just means you aren’t as good as others at test-taking. Nursing school was the easiest thing I ever did……but the test shot down my pride and made me study more. Once I recognized I was HORRIBLE at the multiple answer questions, I started practicing those to prepare. Please have faith in yourself…..I have seen others take this exam 4 and 5 times and pass the next time. You are meant to be a nurse….your instructors believed in you, otherwise you wouldn’t have graduated.

      1. I’m sorry.. Does this say that nursing school was the easiest thing you ever did?? That does not make sense?? RN?? LPN?? Baffled by that comment!

        1. Dear Racheal,

          It was not the EASIEST exam but easiest college degree. I have an undergrad in physical science and also in respiratory therapy, RRT. Respiratory therapy school was much harder (for ME) because of the physics and algebra application (calculations of P/F ratios, lung compliance, and the calculations of wedge pressures and all the calculations of hemodynamics). The NCLEX-RN test was difficult compared to the actual school. I’m sorry Racheal for not elaborating further on my comment because I would never say the boards were easy. My entire point was to compare the breeze of nursing school and warn the 4.0s not to walk into the NCLEX without preparation. Once I prepared with the understanding how the test actually works, I passed. Now I am working on my MSN with an FNP track and that is not so easy!

  10. I passed first try and test stopped at 75 questions. I took my exam in 2010. I took some time off, went back to school and now in grad school for FNP. Its crazy how fast time flies…. The only thing I did to prepare was use NCLEX apps on my phone. I just kept taking quiz after quiz. If I was in line at a grocery store or waiting anywhere… I would pull my phone out and do a few questions. I didn’t get just get any app, but those apps that were 50.00 that had thousands of questions. I wish you all much success. Don’t give up!

  11. I passed the NCLEX in 2007 right after they converted to the current new format. I had three different review books as well as all of my ATI material. The only one that I found useful was the Saunders review. It came with a disc with over 300 questions that were broken down by systems. I only reviewed my weak areas (endocrine and renal). I liked the Saunders because it gave me the rationale as to why the answer was correct or wrong and that allowed me to retain the information. I finished my exam in less than a hour and the computer shut off at 75.

  12. Is the Kaplan review worth it? Or should I opt to buy for just the Qbank instead? 499$ is just a lot of money compared to a hundred bucks. Please respond thank youuuu 🙁

    1. I took it for my LPN and done in 80 questions. I am taking for RN as well. Email them for coupon codes. I am getting my course for $379

    2. I graduated in 2008 and used the Kaplan to help study for my NCLEX. I studied for 1 wk then went and take the test. I was there for 45 mins and at 75 questions the computer went off & I passed ? I felt like those questions on the NCLEX were so easy compared to my last year in college.

  13. I graduated May 2014, and I just found out that I failed NCLEX for the 7th time. I have taken Hurst, Kaplan, and 2 other local review courses. I’ve gone through all 3 review course books, as well as Saunders and some online resources as well. I’ve taken every question on the NCLEX mastery app. I don’t want to give up on nursing bc it’s what i want to do and it’s my passion. but it’s getting harder and harder to bounce back after these failures. I dont know what to do anymore. I’m working as a NA now but dont want this to be my lifetime career. Can anyone please help me? i’m desperate to try anything. My sanity and bank account are beginning to run low due to this. Someone, anyone, please help me.

    1. Amy,

      Is it possible that you are psyching yourself out?
      When I took the NCLEX I found myself overthinking every question to the point where I almost selected incorrect answers. I had to stop myself from doing that or else I know I would have failed.
      Do you experience anything like this when you test?

      1. I’m sure i overthink questions at times. My professors in Nursing school even told me that back then. I tend to read into the question, but i’m not sure how to stop doing that. I’m just so frustrated and I’m not sure what to do to push me over the edge to pass. I’ve had the full 265 questions last 3 times i’ve taken it, so i know i’m close to passing. I just cant figure out what i need to do to push me above that passing line

        1. Honestly, may sound crazy but I took a Xanax before I went in for mine! I knew I had test anxiety and it really helped! I passed!

  14. I failed nclex twice and just when I’m about to give up I met a friend’s friend who referred me to take the global nclex review class. I was hesitant at first coz I feel like not doing any review anymore.. but since i was told that i can attend the class for free, I kind of went there.. the instructor was so amazing and her techniques were really helpful. I enrolled to her class and the rest is history. I passed my nclex couple of months ago. I’m very thankful to her so I’m sharing this to anyone out there who needs Ms. Thelma — a kind of instructor who genuinely cares and guides her students all the way

        1. Hi Brittany! Love your site by the way……I wanted to mention an angle I don’t see here. I was good at content but got bombed with the style of the question. I am almost SURE more than half of my test was the multiple answer style questions. They got harder and harder toward the end and at 265, I did NOT pass. The second time I really didn’t care and thought I had failed for sure and I passed.
          So maybe there are a few out there who aren’t realizing it may be the failures of “how to” answer a particular style question? Just a thought………love to hear your opinion! (I am habitually seeking people who have not passed so I can write words of encouragement)

  15. I completed LPN school in 2009. I failed my broads twice and I gave up. I felt like it wasn’t right for me. Since then I’ve been working different jobs but I keep thinking about “what if I took my boards again?” So now, 6 years a 18 month old son and a wonderful fiancé later I’m ready to finally pass my boards. I’m just afraid I’ve forgotten way to much. Does anyone know if I would hVe to take a refresher course or if I could test at any time? Also, what’s the best studying material? I have a Lippincott book from when I tested 6 years ago but surely there’s an updated version. Thank you for your help.

  16. Thank you so much for this post! I love the Saunders comprehensive review books, they have helped me a ton in school.

      1. Nerdy nurse I’m and taking my nclex for pn I am so nervous I get panic attacks when it comes to taking test do you have any advice ?

        1. Genny,

          Have faith in yourself and try not to stress. The worse thing you can do is psych yourself out going into the test. Study daily until the day before the test. On that day, do something fun and relax. Arrive at your test site early. Don’t second guess yourself when picking answers. It was easy to do this when taking the NCLEX, but as long as you’ve read all the answers, go with your instincts and don’t try to over-analyze the question. Use Malow’s Hierarchy of needs and ABCs!

  17. I have failed 6 times. I’ve done Kaplan Online and in-class in two separate occasions. I’ve done Hurst review as well. I currently have a tutor but can’t afford it after all the money I have spent so it has been a waste because I cannot continue with him. I have read Saunders Comprehensive Review twice front and back as well as Kaplan Review Text. I honestly do not know what else to do. I’m in a funk that I can’t get out of. I still want to be a nurse pretty bad but I’m at a point where I ask myself is it still worth all the tears I’ve shed. You would think after failing so many times I would be used to the feeling but it’s worse each time I get the results that I’ve not passed. I’ve still not given up but the struggle sure is real.

    1. I’m so proud of you for not giving up on your dream Ana! I cannot fathom how much work you have put into studying for the NCLEX and I’m so sorry you haven’t passed. Please do not give up. You did not go through nursing school to be defeated by a test! Good luck and I’ll pray you pass this next time.

      1. Kayla, these words are encouraging to me too! Like you Ana I’ve taken the nclex RN 4 times and have not passed yet! 150 questions once and 3x 265 questions. Not giving up but not sure what to do ?

  18. Ashton College

    Great post Brittney! So many students psych themselves out when it comes to standardized tests. When studying it’s important to create an environment as close to the testing environment as possible – quiet, distraction-free, and timed.

    Good luck to all the NCLEX-RN writers out there!

  19. I just failed the NCLEX for the 5th time. I took Kaplan twice, and an individual online tutor program twice. Am I a hopeless case? I studied and felt like I knew the material. I think it’s the “choose the best” questions that trip me up. I feel totally defeated. Any advice?

      1. SSo sorry to hear, me too took it 6 times and failed. I am using the Saunders 2005 test taking strategy, Lippincott etc. I am using prepu NCLEX interactive online for Q&A. Its very similar to the NCLEX because it adapts while you proceed. The questions are similar to the NCLEX and it goes to level 8 which is I think actually harder than the real deal, but it helps with strategy and critical thinking.

        1. The test has been changed Several times. It was updated not long ago. If you are using outdated books or books from 2005 it may not benefit you. You should also go to the Nclex website and check if any other changes have been made because these changes are not publicized so we don’t know as test takers. God be with you.

          1. This is a great point. I try and update this post so that the current books are shown but it is always important to double check and make sure you have the most up to date book.

  20. I did Nclex RN and failed first attempt, I have been studying and trying to focus on areas I got below passing standard..I am planning to take exam next month..I really need your prayers. .

    1. Ah you can do it! I took mine and failed the first two! We didn’t go through that hell, (nursing school) for nothing. This is just a speed bump along the way!! Good luck!!

  21. I took the NCLEX exactly one month from today. Passed with 75 questions on my first try. I was absolutely terrified to take the NCLEX because of all the posts I was reading online and friends telling me how difficult it was. I had studied a good 3 weeks but didn’t feel completely prepared. After my screen turned off at 75 questions, I was dumbfounded. Couldn’t believe what a breeze it was. I mean I had taken harder tests during nursing school!!

    I think if your school has a good pass rate (mine had a 100% pass rate last semester) and you’re getting mostly As, you will pass on the first try. If your school doesn’t have a very high pass rate or you’re an average student, you definitely need to put in time to study. Hire a tutor, buy a crash course, study with a friends, whatever it takes.

    The NCLEX tests minimum competency. They just want to know that you will be a safe nurse. Not knowing what time of day to give a particular drug is not going to kill a patient, but if you don’t know a serious s/e or adverse reaction of a drug, that will weigh heavily on you.

  22. I’ve taken the NCLEX 3 times, i did kaplan, hurst, and the nsbsn review. i don’t know what else to do. i used the lippencott text as well. I’ve spend so much money on reviews and can’t even think to spend more. I’m so upset i thought i had it this time.

    1. If you haven’t already read the Saunders Test Strategy guide I would definitely take a look at it. I wrote about it here:

      One of the biggest mistakes I think people make is spending too much time focusing on raw material and test questions without ensuring the have a clear strategy to answer the questions. While they do teach a good bit in nursing school, the critical thinking aspect of nursing questions didn’t click with me until I read this guide.

      I have a very good friend who took the NCLEX 4 times before she ultimately passed and she’s one of the best nurses I know. You can do this!

      1. Hi Brittany, thank you for taking your time to write this blog and also respond to people. I am very confused because I did Kaplan twice. I have gone from having so much confidence to nearly nothing. Does your suggestion still stand for taking the exam again in 2017? Do you have any new recommendations? Thank you in advance.

        1. Deborah,
          I still stand by this advice. Have you reviewed a strategy guide specifically? It wasn’t until I review a few of these that I really understood how to pick apart NCLEX questions and answer the with accuracy even if I wasn’t 100% familiar with the subject matter. Also, I believe Kaplan has a refund policy as long as it’s been within 6 months.
          Do you have an idea for the areas you are struggling with?

          1. Thank you for your response, Brittany. The only thing I did was take Kaplan both in person and online. At this point, I am ready to start anew. I don’t know where to start because someone always has something negative or positive to say about one program or another. I don’t have a lot of money to try out different books or programs. My problem is not able to pick the best answer. I have a problem with figuring out how to eliminate wrong answers. Where should I start? Should I begin with Saunder’s strategy and then move to UWorld? Should I review contents then strategy then questions? If so what should I get for content review? I feel like my brain is just blank.

  23. If you don’t prepare you won’t likely pass its that simple. Not all nursing schools are challenging, ours should have failed handfuls of people but needed the money so didnt. Teachers would give us answers on tests and would walk us through answers if we were stuck. Crappiest school ever, I’ve failed the NCLEX twice and have finally bought a review program so I can pass the 3rd time. Hoping Kaplan can help me as I have a job in already training at. Good luck to everyone!

    1. I took the NCLEX in January, took all of the test 265 questions and failed it. Signed up for Kaplan in March, took the NCLEX again in April. Had all 265 questions again and failed for the 2nd time. I’m totally and completely lost. I don’t know what else to do. I can’t afford all the pricy remedial courses out there.

  24. I was the first graduating class to take the NCLEX-RN on computer. I passed with only 75 questions. This was about 18 years ago… but my advice as a seasoned nurse mirrors the blog post. Realize that all the tests you’ve already taken and passed are designed to prepare you for the NCLEX. I chose not to take a review course. I had peers who did take a review course and felt it was worth the time and money. At the end of the day, you ARE ready for this! You’ve got this!

  25. My computer turned off at 75 questions first attempt I prepared with Kaplan. Think like he ivory towers. I love being an rn

  26. NursingStudent15

    I am graduating in a couple months, but the NCLEX in my state is offered around the time I graduate. I heard it takes about 5 weeks to get everything processed in order to take the NCLEX, and the next test date isn’t until 5 months later. Can I take my NCLEX in another state? Or do I have to take it in the state I wish to be hired. Thank you in advance!

    1. I have never heard of only having the test at a certain time. It’s an computerized and individual process. And you’re right, it takes between 3 to 5 months for all the paperwork to process.
      However, since you are a senior in nursing school they should be walking you through all the steps you need to submit the needed paperwork to the BON and actually register for a testing date and time.

      I would recommend reaching out to your nursing faculty advisor and confirming this information. If they do not normally lay it out for you like, that I would ask them to do that for you, as the process can be complicated without guidance.

      1. You certainly can take the nclex-rn in any state… however you will have to endorse back to your state of practice… so probably not going to move things along quicker… And as far as I know, you can schedule the test at your convenience once you’ve been approved by the BON to do so.

    2. AriannahopefullyRN

      The amount of time it takes from when you graduate and when you sit for the NCLEX depends on a lot of factors many of which you have the control over. Since the NCLEX exam is national most of the requirements are basically the same in every state. You need to apply for a license and get fingerprints and background check completed usually through a livescan provider, and register with Pearson VUE. All of those things you can do months ahead before you graduate! That way all the Board of Nursing in your state needs is your transcripts sent out by your school…how quickly they send them is up to them, and how quickly the BON processes them is also out of your control. I just graduated this May in Florida and my school sent out the transcripts on the Monday after graduation. Since all that was needed was my transcripts and I had registered with Pearson VUE I received my ATT 6 days after graduation and took the exam 12 days after graduation! Faster than I ever would have imagined being able to take it…I get my quick results tomorrow… Please pray for me! Good luck to you!

  27. I am about to start my last semester of the RN program and am overwhelmed about which nclex review book to buy. I was thinking about Saunders NCLEX review, but I’m not sure. Everyone seems to have an opinion on which is best and why. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated!

    1. I’ve look at several and the ones that gives example questions are pretty much all the same.
      One of the best things you can do is read Saunders NCLEX strategy guide (I wrote about it here: You can pretty much pick any question bank book or app with example test questions after that. Reading the strategy guide will help you feel much more confident with your study than using the question banks alone.

  28. At a recent Calif Nursing Student Association convention, I sat in on a short sample of the Hurst Review course, which I liked. The approach was easy and informal, and I felt like I had a better understanding of both hypervolemia and diabetes insipidus than when I walked in … and I’m not even in clinical rotations yet! After returning home, I checked out the Hurst website, where they have another section on video. It was the same, informal and informative. That seems like an approach well-tailored to my individual tastes. The instructors consistently emphasize the importance of knowing core content “without doubt or hesitation” so that we really comprehend the reasons for pathophysiology. Makes perfect sense to me! Given Hurst’s “repeat the live class for free” policy, I can imagine taking it before and after my final semester, to really cement this info before the NCLEX approach.

    1. I took the Hurst Review about 2weeks prior to my NCLEX date. While I thought the review of the core content was helpful, I must say the balance of my NCLEX didn’t even brush the vast majority of the core content that Hurst says know without doubt and hesitation. One question about SIADH was where the core content came in handy.

      I passed NCLEX with only 75 questions. I know a gentleman that did fail with 75 questions. I didn’t feel like I had passed when I left the exam, but I passed. It was the most agonizing wait ever to find out if I had.

      I believe practice questions and studying the rationale for the missed questions is beneficial too.

  29. The Kaplan Review (paid for by our school) and their decision tree was totally awesome. I made it to 90 questions and done. Even if you can’t do a Kaplan review, do lots and lots of questions.

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