Does this sound anything like you?

  • I failed the NCLEX 3 times
  • I failed the NCLEX 10 times
  • I’ve failed the NCLEX more times than I can count

If any of these scenarios are you, rest assured you’re not the only one. Not even close. There are so many stories of nursing students who have a hard time passing the NCLEX.

Keep reading for some words of encouragement and some actionable steps you can take to improve your chances.

*Disclosure: This article on failed NCLEX 10 times may contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. For more info, please see my disclaimer.

Understand You’re Not Alone

woman looking at computer sad

The first thing you need to understand is that you’re not alone. In situations like this, it’s easy to believe your story is unique and nobody else is struggling.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you look across the internet on forums or ask some of the nurses you work with (if you’re working), what you’ll see is that many nurses failed the NCLEX multiple times for one reason or another.

Eventually passed, and have gone on to become great nurses.

The Story I Heard

I heard a story about a nurse who failed the NCLEX over 20 times.

Yes! You read that correctly.

She took the NCLEX 20 times and didn’t pass. It wasn’t until her 22nd attempt did she finally pass the NCLEX. It took her about 30 years to finally pass the NCLEX.

Am I saying it’s going to take you that long to pass the NCLEX?

Probably not.

Her story is one of the most attempts I’ve heard. But it does show you that there are people out there who’ve taken the NCLEX many more times over than you have and didn’t give up and eventually passed.

(If you want to see the video it’s at the bottom of the article.)

Related: I Take the NCLEX Tomorrow, and I’m Freaking Out

What You Should Be Doing Differently

Now that I’ve gotten you hopefully, encouraged that you can do this and that you’re not alone.

Let’s talk about some practical things you can do or think about to improve your chances.

1. Try to Understand Why You Might Have Failed

I think so many nursing students jump back to retaking the NCLEX without actually thinking about why they keep failing.

For instance, is it because you’re working a lot and not getting a chance to study.

Maybe it’s because you never really mastered the material. Regardless of your reasons, without a good understanding, you’re bound to keep making the same mistakes.

2. Get a New NCLEX Prep Course

If you never bought an NCLEX prep course, then you really should. NCLEX prep courses give you structure and help explain materials that nursing school might not have presented well.

Many students try to pass the NCLEX by using their study materials from nursing school, only to struggle.

The notes you accumulated during nursing school were geared towards passing nursing school exams, not passing the NCLEX. That might sound strange, but there is a difference.

Check out this prep course that I recommend. It has a 99% pass rate (I think it’s actually 99.7% or 99.8%), and if you don’t pass, they’ll give you your money back.

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?

4. Get a Tutor

A tutor is going to be more expensive than an NCLEX prep course.

But I think a tutor is the route you need to go if after thinking about why you keep failing the NCLEX and you determine it’s because you never mastered the material.

I think a good NCLEX tutor (you can find one here) can give you guidance and direction and walk you through what you need to know.

Hire a Tutor for School

If you need a tutor for school, you can find one using this online platform. The tutors are vetted, and you pick the time that works for your schedule. Whether it’s for nursing school, nursing school prereqs, or any school-related subject, this is a platform you should check out.

3. Know Your Repeat Options

Currently, you’re allowed to retake the NCLEX 8 times a year and no less than 45 days in between each exam.

Video: Passed the NCLEX After Failing 21 Times

Have You Read These Yet?

Frequently Asked Questions

There’s no limit on the number of times you can fail the NCLEX. There is a limit on how many times you can take it in a year. You can only take it 8 times a year, and it has to be at least 45 days apart.

Many students fail and keep failing the NCLEX either because they don’t know how to take tests, they haven’t mastered the material, or they’re struggling with the critical thinking aspect of the NCLEX.

Your last NCLEX exam has no bearing on any other NCLEX exams you take. The questions you get on the NCLEX are based on how you’re doing at that moment.

You have to wait for a minimum of 45 days between NCLEX attempts.


    1. Hey Abbey, If you asked your Illinois board of nursing, you would get a more accurate answer. In some states, you do. For instance, last time I heard (this could have changed), if you fail the NCLEX more than three times in Florida, they require you to take a board-approved remedial class. Illinois couple be that way, but it’s hard to keep tabs on all of those things since they change over time, and many of the state BONs don’t make information like this readily accessible on their website.

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