Can I Apply For The NCLEX During Nursing School?

a nursing student

If you’re wondering whether you can apply for the NCLEX and obtain your RN license before graduating, here’s the answer.

*Disclosure: This article on can I apply for NCLEX before graduation may contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. For more info, please see my disclaimer.

Can I Take the NCLEX Before I Graduate?

To take the NCLEX, you need either your associate’s degree in nursing (ADN, AAS, ASN), a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), or a diploma. You can’t take the NCLEX without passing a nursing program approved by your state’s board of nursing.

NCLEX Prep Academy

Check out the comprehensive NCLEX prep review that I recommend. Don’t bother with other NCLEX preps that over promise and under deliver. Did I mention they have a 99.86% NCLEX pass rate?

You Have to Pass an Accredited Nursing Program

Long story short, you won’t be able to take the NCLEX unless you pass a nursing program or pass one of the very few diploma programs still available.

Challenging the NCLEX

There are situations where you can challenge the NCLEX. Or another way I like to put it is to be able to test with exception. There are two scenarios that might help you, depending on where you’re at.

1. Challenge the NCLEX-PN Exam

The first is you could challenge the NCLEX-PN exam if you’ve completed certain classes in an approved RN program (you get to sit for the NCLEX-PN before graduating from the RN program). Last time I checked, there’s only a handful of states that allow this.

The video above is from my experiences of when I did it. I just happened to be in one of the handful of states that allowed it.

If you don’t want to watch the video, you can also read about it in this article about how I challenged the LPN exam.

2. Challenging the NCLEX if You’re Military

Please Note: I have not verified this information!!!!

I’ve heard some nurses say that depending on your state if you’re a medic in the military, you may be able to challenge the NCLEX.

I have personally never verified that information. I bring it up because if you were in the military, it couldn’t hurt to call your state board of nursing and see what they say.

If you know the answer for your state, let me know in the comment section.

How to Register For the NCLEX

Here are the steps you need to take to register to take the NCLEX.

  1. Submit an application for licensure and registration with the Nursing Regulatory Body (NRB)
  2. Register for the NCLEX through Pearson VUE either online or through telephone
  3. Wait to receive your Authorization to Test, or ATT, which is usually only done after your school sends all appropriate information to the NCLEX board 
  4. Pay any associated fees, including NCLEX registration and exam fee
  5. Take the NCLEX and apply for an interim RN license to allow you to work while you await your results. This also has an associated fee

It’s best to prepare to do all of this while still in nursing school. However, keep in mind that once you’re granted permission to take the NCLEX through the ATT, the ATT is only valid for 90 days.

Have You Read These Yet?

NCLEX Prep Academy

Check out the comprehensive NCLEX prep review that I recommend. Don’t bother with other NCLEX preps that over promise and under deliver. Did I mention they have a 99.86% NCLEX pass rate?