How Many Times Can You Take the NCLEX?
Ever wondered about National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass rates? For those attempting the exam for the first time, the rates are 89% for U.S.-educated nurses and 53% for those with international education.
This leaves anywhere from 11% to 47% of nurses wondering, How many times can you take the NCLEX? If this question is on your mind, we’ll lay out everything you need to know to retake the exam, such as state-specific requirements, fees, and success strategies.
What to Know about NCLEX Retakes
So, how many times can you take the NCLEX if you fail on the first attempt? Here are some important details about retaking the NCLEX.
- Number of attempts: You’ll have 8 attempts each year to retake the NCLEX, but keep in mind that state regulations may vary.
- Wait period: You’ll need to wait a minimum of 45 days before attempting again.
- Scheduling the test: You’ll need to contact your state’s Nursing Regulatory Body (NRB) and reregister with Pearson VUE to receive authorization to test (ATT). An ATT is required to schedule the retake.
- Fees: The Pearson exam registration fee is $200, plus additional state-specific licensure fees.
How Many Times Can You Take the NCLEX in States With No Additional Rules?
Some states stick to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) guidelines without adding additional rules. In these states you’ll have eight attempts to take the NCLEX each year, with a 45-day break between tries. Here’s a list of states that align with these guidelines:
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
How Many Times Can You Take the NCLEX in States With Additional Rules?
In certain states, NCLEX retakes come with extra rules, which may limit attempts or require additional educational courses. If you are wondering, How many times can you take the NCLEX in each state?, check out the guide below:
You can retake the exam in Alaska. However, if you’re unsuccessful within two years, you’ll first have to complete a board-approved remedial course. To reapply, you’ll need to submit:
- Written request for reexamination
- Reexamination application fee
You have three attempts to pass NCLEX in Colorado within three years of your first shot. If you’re aiming for a fourth try, here’s the process:
- Submit a formal request for a waiver, explaining where you fell short and the steps you’ve taken to prepare yourself appropriately (i.e., NCLEX review, a refresher course, or another option). Feel free to share any relevant circumstances you want the board to consider.
- Make sure to fulfill all these requirements within 2 years from the date of your third NCLEX attempt.
If the fourth attempt doesn’t work out, you’ll need to complete an approved nursing education program before reapplying.
You have a five-year window from your graduation date to pass the NCLEX in Delaware for licensure. If you need a retake, you can follow NCSBN guidelines. However, if it’s been two years or more since graduation, you’ll also need to submit proof of completing a board-approved NCLEX review course within the past six months. The review course must include a test and provide a certificate or letter from the provider.
You can retake the NCLEX in Florida three times with the typical 45-day waiting period. However, after three failed attempts, you’ll need to take a board-approved remedial course before another retake.
According to Georgia’s NCLEX rules, applicants seeking licensure by examination must pass within three years of their graduation date. If an applicant fails to meet this timeline, they are required to enroll in and complete an approved nursing education program to regain eligibility for testing.
You’ll have three attempts to take the NCLEX in Hawaii. After that, you’ll be required to complete a board-approved remedial course that includes a minimum of 60 hours of didactic instruction and 60 hours of clinical instruction. After you submit proof of completion, you’ll have a six-month window to retake your NCLEX.
You’ll have a three-year window from the initial application date to complete the licensing process in Illinois, including passing the exam. If you’re not done within this timeframe, your application is denied. To reapply, you’ll need to provide proof that you’ve completed at least two additional years of professional nursing education.
If you’ve failed the NCLEX in Indiana three or more times or graduated from a nursing program over three years ago, you’ll need to appear in person to meet with the Indiana Board of Nursing before getting the green light to test.
You’ll be able to retake the exam following NCSBN rules for the first two years. However, if you pass the examination in Kansas between two and five years after graduation, you’ll need to submit a petition for permission to retake the exam. If you fail to pass the NCLEX within five years of graduation, you’ll have to retake a nursing program before attempting to retake it.
If you don’t pass the NCLEX in Kentucky the first time, you’ll receive a Candidate Performance Report (CPR) and a letter from the Kentucky Board of Nursing. The CPR breaks down your performance in each test area. To retake the exam, you’ll need to reregister with Pearson VUE and wait 45 days. If unsuccessful again, you’ll need to reapply through the Kentucky Board of Nursing, fill in the retest application, and follow the instructions.
You’ll be able to take NCLEX-PN in Louisiana up to four times within two years from your eligibility date. However, if unsuccessful, you’ll need to re-enter and finish the full practical nursing program before being allowed to take the examination again. If you’re retaking the NCLEX-RN in Louisiana, you’ll follow NCSBN rules and pay an additional retake fee.
There’s no NCLEX attempt limit in Michigan, but you must pass within three years of graduation. If the three-year deadline passes, you’ll need to complete a certification of skills competency or submit a written request to the Board of Nursing for an extension.
If you fail the NCLEX in Minnesota, you’ll receive a retake request form in the mail with a diagnostic profile about your test performance. You’ll need to send the retake request within eight months of your last failed attempt. You’ll have a year to retake it, otherwise your application will be invalidated and you will need to reapply.
You’ll have up to six attempts to pass the NCLEX in Mississippi within two years of graduation, following the 45-day NCSBN retest timeline.
If you fail your exam, you’ll receive results and a Missouri NCLEX retest application by mail. You’ll then need to complete the retake application, pay the fee, and retake the exam within a year; otherwise, applications are retired and void by the Board of Nursing.
You’ll have a total of four attempts to pass the NCLEX in Nevada. If you’re unsuccessful on your second attempt, you’ll need to present a plan of study to the Board before the third try. If you fail your third try, you must retake courses in nursing theory from an approved program.
You can retake NCLEX in New Hampshire up to five times within three years. Regardless of where you take the exam, the state permits a total of five attempts. If you fail three times, a remediation plan with the Board of Nursing is required before your next try.
You’ll have an opportunity to retest the NCLEX in New Jersey up to three times. If unsuccessful, you’ll need to complete a 30-hour review course before you submit another retest application.
You may take the NCLEX in New Mexico a maximum of five times within three years of graduation from your nursing school.
If you fail the NCLEX in Oklahoma, you can reapply within two years by submitting the necessary documents and fees. If more than two years have passed, there are additional requirements, like completing a Board-approved refresher course or nursing didactic coursework with clinical experience. The course must include at least 80 hours in classroom and skills laboratory review, along with at least 80 hours of patient care activities in a clinical setting.
You need to retake your NCLEX in Oregon following the NCSBN guidelines, but retakes are only allowed within three years of completing your nursing program.
If you fail your first licensure exam in Tennessee you can reattempt by notifying the Board of Nursing and paying the fee. If you fail the second try, the Board may offer recommendations before your next attempt. Failing to qualify for licensure within three years of graduation requires you to complete a board-approved or accredited program before reexamination.
To sit for the NCLEX in Texas, you need to have completed a nursing program in the four years before applying and be within four years of your initial ATT date.
If you don’t pass the NCLEX in Utah within five years, you’ll need to complete an approved reentry program before retesting.
If you haven’t passed the NCLEX exam in Vermont within five years of graduation, you must complete an approved nursing program again. Also, once you submit the application for retaking an exam, ensure all required documents are received by the Board within one year of application submission; otherwise, it will be discarded and you’ll need to apply again.
If you fail the NCLEX-RN in West Virginia two times, you’ll need to provide evidence that you completed additional assessment testing and a plan to address knowledge gaps. You will also need to provide evidence of satisfactory completion of the plan recommended by a qualified faculty member. If more than five years have passed since your graduation and you were still unable to pass the exam, you’ll need to seek the Board’s approval before you attempt to take the test again.
You have the opportunity for multiple NCLEX retakes in Wyoming. However, the Board only permits a maximum of 10 attempts within the five years after graduation.
How Many Times Can You Take the NCLEX: Tips to Prepare
As you can see, failing the test doesn’t mean an end to a nursing career. So don’t let fear overwhelm you. Instead of dwelling on failed attempts, use them as stepping stones to come back even stronger. Here are some strategies you can use to prepare for the NCLEX retake:
- Review Next Gen NCLEX guidelines because the test underwent changes.
- Analyze your previous NCLEX exam performance to identify specific areas for improvement.
- Use the diagnostic report from your last attempt to pinpoint knowledge gaps and tailor your study efforts.
- Consider enrolling in a specialized NCLEX review course — such as the Kaplan prep course or Hurst review — to reinforce key concepts and improve test-taking strategies.
- Develop a well-organized study plan, prioritizing time for each content area, and focusing on identified weaknesses.
- Regularly practice with sample questions and timed mock exams to simulate the test environment and improve pacing.
- Connect with peers, mentors, or online communities for insights, study tips, and support during your preparation.
- Prioritize self-care activities, such as exercising, getting sufficient sleep, and supplying your body with all the necessary vitamins and nutrients throughout preparation.
- Read helpful books, including your school’s textbooks, to review important information.
- Manage stress through practicing healthy coping strategies and relaxation techniques.
- Approach the NCLEX retake with a positive mindset, staying focused on your preparation plan for increased success.
How Many Times Can You Take the NCLEX: FAQ
How many times can you take the RN NCLEX?
Generally, you can take NCLEX up to eight times each year with a 45-day waiting period in between the attempts. Keep in mind that these regulations may vary depending on the state in which you are located. So the best way to find out is to contact your state’s Board of Nursing directly and ask them: How many times can you take the NCLEX here?
How many times can you take the NCLEX in California?
You can retry the exam up to eight times per year in the Golden State. If you fail, you’ll receive a candidate performance report — use it to prepare for your retake. When you are ready to reapply, simply log into your BreEZe account, choose “RN Repeat/Reapply Application,” and click “Start a New Application or Take an Exam.” You’ll then need to pay application fees with a valid credit card.
How do I apply for a retake of the NCLEX?
To apply for a retake, log in to your state’s nursing board or licensing agency website, follow the instructions for reapplication, and pay the required fees.
Can I retake the NCLEX if it has been several years since graduation?
Requirements vary by state, but some may have limitations on the time elapsed since graduation. In some cases, additional educational requirements or refresher courses may be necessary.
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