Failed boards 5 times?

  1. 1
    This question is based partly on my wanting to give advice to a not-so-new grad I know...as well as on my fear of ending up like her as I prepare to take my boards in less than a year.

    One of the ER techs I have gotten to know over the years as an EMT informed me that she graduated from an ADN program and has taken her NCLEX 5 times over the course of more than 2 years without success. She says she has taken all the kaplan classes and read the davis books to no avail. I know some people are bad test takers, but how could she have graduated from a program, obviously haven passed many hard tests in that time, and now be unable to pass the boards?

    What last ditch measures could I suggest to her to try as she has told me she intends on retaking it yet again...and how can I avoid this situation? Not that I think I would have such trouble but I almost think it could be one of those "there but by the grace of god go I" things...
    TheCommuter likes this.
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  4. 10 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    Her problem was going to a "for-profit" university. I've done my fair reading on those schools...
  6. 2
    I hope I interpreted your post correctly.

    I will say this to you....please be there for her in anyway possible. You cannot begin to imagine the pain that she is emotionally going through. Give her all the encouragement that you can give her.....trust me she needs it. According to your statement, I think it's safe to say that you are a Christian- pray for her, tell her to dig deep inside herself, tell her not to look at and allow her past 5 attempts to hinder her "Next Attempt." Also, tell her to study this time around as if this is her 1st time studying and tell her she can and will pass in God's time and with her putting the work into it!

    As for you, let her determination not to give up be an example and your own determination to be successful when it's your time. Remember......she needs you to be whatever you can be to her during this trying time.

    I've been in her shoes.

    God's Blessing to you both.
    Miniangel2 and prettymica like this.
  7. 0
    Sounds like a change in review books and studying is needed! I used the Kaplan review course so I'm not sure what to suggest...my school wanted us to use Saunder's but I chose Kaplan and opted for the in class review as well. I also put a piece of peppermint in my mouth before testing. Don't really like peppermint but was told by a seasoned instructer that it would help me focus and keep my fidgeting down. 75 questions and only one round trip to the exam center two hours away from my house!

    P.S. My extra advise for you would be to do as much of your review course/questions as you can but don't wait for months and months to test. I graduated in the middle of May and took the NCLEX at the end of June.
  8. 5
    Everything you need to know about the NCLEX is pretty much here: NCLEX - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    That being said there are two obvious answers to your query: either the person does not have the necessary educational background to answer enough questions correctly to "pass", or she/he is not seriously applying herself or himself to the situation.

    Your friend should have received a Candidate Performance Report (CPR) from NCLEX after each failed exam. The CPR details her or his performance on the exam and includes how to use such information to better pass the exam next time.

    Ideally your friend should be using the CPR to analyze her or his performance on the exams including areas that require more work. If after retaking the NCLEX five times and there is little or no improvement in areas noted on the CPR, even with all the claimed extensive review/study work, then something is seriously wrong.

    The intent of the NCLEX is to measure if a graduate nurse is able to practice safely. If the answers as submitted to the computer tell this person is not likely able to do so, then they will fail.

    I would suggest your friend gather up her five NCLEX CPR reports and seek out professional assistance. If her former program has post graduate counseling then start there, or find a coach or sympathetic RN who is able to sit her/him down and sort out what is going on.
    Alexis33, Miniangel2, Esme12, and 2 others like this.
  9. 0
    another thought - maybe nursing is not for her. It could be more than text anxiety. How will she recall the information when doing patient care if she cannot do it now? Nursing is SO MUCH MORE than tasks. I hope she finds her niche.
  10. 0
    My preceptor in my last class of NS failed his boards 10! times before passing....and he was a good nurse (as far as I remember). He wasn't the brightest guy, but he was really caring and new the basics of nursing. He was not one of those types to look up the pathophys on every patient but he was kind....which a lot of 'smart' nurses are lacking. The NCLEX was easy to me and NS was easy to me, but I struggled to master hands-on clinical concepts. People's brains work differently....it might not be fair, but it is reality. My preceptor did not give up or let embarrassment stop him from re-taking the test.
  11. 1
    Food for thought.....some states limit the times you can take the boards without taking a review course. I suggest taking a refresher.

    In my old school mind....I just can't wrap my head around being allowed to fail the boards 10 times without having to got back to some sort of school.
    Luckyyou likes this.
  12. 1
    IMHO what throws many persons taking the NCLEX as indeed any sort of adaptive based exam is the nature of what actually is going on behind the scenes as it were.

    Adaptive exams are not looking just for the correct answer per se, but measuring one's knowledge based upon a formula that looks at the difficulty of the questions versus their weight. This is why it is possible to pass the NCLEX with say 75 questions answered but also fail with an equal amount.

    IIRC with the NCLEX everyone starts off at the same baseline. As the exam progresses if you are answering a number of questions correctly the computer kicks things up a notch. Should you continue providing correct answers the computer at some point having analysed your responses using the parameters mentioned above will stop/shut down and you've "passed". That is the system has determined you *"know enough to practice safely*, thus no further responses are required.

    OTHO if you start to fall below that baseline the computer will take things down a notch or keep them on the same level. Should you provide correct responses the system will continue questions long as it determines you are within range of "passing". However if you reach the limit of questions and still did not provide enough correct responses to meet the "practice safely" standard you have failed. This is where the aforementioned CPR comes in. There you can find where you met the bar, exceeded it or fell below in various areas of questioning.

    The final situation is those who start out from the gate below par and things don't get better. In such situations even after even a small number of questions answered the computer decides the test taker simply will not meet the standard regardless of how many more responses are given, and stops.

    In the old days of pencil and paper/two day state board exams one would have answered all questions possible in the time allotted and hoped for the best. Some might feel the old way was better but think about it; why put someone through two *day long* exams when it is clear from nearly the get go they aren't going to pass?
    Alexis33 likes this.
  13. 1
    NCLEX PAIN hurts but if you can move past the hurt it will also TEACH!! If there always seems to be a wall put in your path remember this: Walls are man made...Walls can be man moved. KEEP PUSHING and KEEP THE FAITH YOU WILL PASS!!!!
    Faye313 likes this.


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