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Failed NCLEX PN twice


I, unfortunately, have failed my NCLEX PN twice and am feeling extremely discouraged, depressed, angry, hopeless, worthless.. you name it, I am feeling it. I used Kaplan as a study tool only because it was paid for through my college tuition and we had been using it throughout nursing school to take exams and whatnot. First time I failed at 178 questions and the second time (during the COVID change) I took the max of 130 questions. I felt better the second time around and my results showed that I was closer to passing than the first time. I am just feeling extremely discouraged, I don't know where to go from here but I am in no way, shape or form giving up. I refuse to give up now. I will pass it no matter how many times it takes me.

I have seen recommendations for UWorld, which I think I am going to purchase the program and use that as a study tool. I am just not a good test taker, I never have been. Any other recommendations for study tools that you believe really helped you?

I'm also looking for advice and recommendations on how to get myself out of this rut. I just feel like I am in a bad place right now from failing twice. What motivated you to get your *** together and pass this test? I am seriously looking for anything, any sort of help. I have been feeling extremely alone and in my head. Reading posts on here from others who are in the same boat as I am has made me feel less alone. I am just struggling and I am finally in a place to admit it and am looking for help.

Thank you in advance for any replies, advice, tips.. anything! Thank you.

bitter_betsy, BSN

Specializes in Emergency / Disaster. Has 2 years experience.

I am not much help as I am a BSN student and haven't taken the NCLEX yet (I have no idea what its like to actually sit for the test and I'm not familiar with materials used for the PN and if or how they are different). I just wanted to offer you encouragement and tell you not to give up. You have made it this far - its too late to quit now!!

The one thing that has helped me better prepare is to accept who I am. I know - sounds odd. I wake up everyday and try to study. I spend the majority of every day repeating the same horrible story. Wake up, can't think, do terrible on questions (I'm a question and rationale reader - that's how I learn best) continue to do terrible, fake my way through the day, get to 9pm and lightbulbs come on. I literally do the best studying between 9pm and 3am. This week I have been more accepting of myself and my limitations and I have stopped studying before noon. I haven't gone so far as to not bother to study before 9pm (I'm working on that), but realizing that forcing myself to study and not be productive is not really helping me.

Giving myself grace is helping tremendously. I also made sure to book a 4pm seat for the test. I am NOT a morning person (as evidenced by the 3am thing). If I could take an 8pm seat - I'd be all over it. I am also aware that I am studying with my feet up in my chair tucked under me. This will probably play a pivotal role in how I physically sit to take the test. Although you would like to think that little things like this don't matter - they do!!

Sit with yourself for a little bit and think about how you study and what was different when you were testing, and what can you change? Were your pants too tight? Was your zipper digging into your belly? Was your leg hair scratching your legs because you didn't shave the night before? Are your legs dry and itchy? Did you pick at fingernail polish? Is your hair too clean and won't stay in a bun? Are your glasses dirty and you can't see through them? Is your bra too tight and digging into your side?

Just think about all the tiny things that distracted you and kept you from being able to concentrate. Did you read the questions all the way? I've recently learned to read the part right at the end of the question so I know what I'm looking for and then reread the question. I have missed so many questions because I answered the question I thought that they asked instead of what they really asked (ie which of the following indicates that the patient needs additional teaching - and I'd see the first answer - knew it was "right" and pick the wrong thing and move on only to be surprised that I got it wrong because I didn't read).

I'm sure you know this stuff. Figure out what is distracting you and then determine what you can do to minimize your distractions.

You can do this!

Edited by bitter_betsy

bitter_betsy, BSN

Specializes in Emergency / Disaster. Has 2 years experience.

Before you try UWorld - check out Archer Review. They have a PN as well and it looks EXACTLY like UWorld - its just a lot cheaper. Right now its free for 15 days and then $15 for 2 months I think. Have a look!!


Has 5 years experience.

I know NCLEX is expensive as is, but I highly recommend ATI. I know some people aren’t crazy about ATI. I wasn’t crazy about it in school. It made me want to smash my head against the wall. BUT, I never would have passed my NCLEX-PN without it. It was so close to what I actually saw on the NCLEX. Good luck, don’t give up!

Jscna, CNA, LPN

Specializes in Hi.

@kaitlyn I am in the same boat. All the emotions and feelings right now. I took my test on Tuesday, and found out I failed this morning. I’m so depressed about it because this isn’t my first time around. I’m going to get back to studying this weekend though. Because I just wanna be done with this dang test. I studied so hard this time and really felt like I was ready... I kept telling myself you can do this, you’re and will be an Lvn... and well, I’m sure one day it’ll happen, I’m just praying soon. 😭


Specializes in Nursing.


I toOK my NCLEX last week. Receive email within 5min that told I have just finished exam. Got in car and tried PVT with good pop up : “oyour record....”. Wait after 48hrs to pay quick result and says Passed status.

My main purpose in this post is sharing my experience as a second languagetest taker. Therefore I hope it will helpstudents who need it for successful to pass NCLEX. 

First of all, I want to tell you a little bitabout me. I am on RN program, but for some reasons, I made decision to take NCLEX PN to gain working experience. It took 2 and half months to have paper works from the Dean for my application. After done all applying steps, itwas a month later I received feedback from the Board and paid fee for the test .I chose the testing date in 6wks. 

As many students, I felt so nervous for many many reasons. I checked advice and experience sharing in this website almost everyday(by the way, I also want to say thanks :1st to the owner of this website who create a great place for every one to give or receive support during needed time that even our family cannot do it; 2nd to who posted allpositive encouragements and great advices for us. To be honest,   If I saw any suggestion about cool or greatmaterials (NCLEX cram, prioritization, mercy, ready to pass ...they are postED somewhere around.), then I triedfinding them and viewed even though I have already had 5000 Saunders bank, mark audio, and UWorld.

I understood why I did that . It was because I was so nervous and tried to have all good materials to have a little sense that is called “confidence and the feeling of ready for the exam”. However, the problem came up during taking reviewing. I went back and forth between those “good” materials that I could not focus on studying at all, but build up nervousness and anxiety. My heart jumped badly due to being worried about so many info to learn and it impossible to remember all of it within a short period of time. I recognized  my problem and acted to calm me down 1st with a routine schedule. If you  have the same feeling and nervousness like mine. I hope it can help. Here it is:

With 5wks left, I created a “routine” schedule. Start my review at 6:30am with listening to mark’s audio while taking a long walk (depend how long the lecture is) as an exercise to promote blood flow to brain and early listening to the lecture help me remember and understand it better while my brain is still fresh for the day. Take 30min break with a coffee and read the daily news. Got back to write down mark’s lecturefrom that audio.


Then , did Saunders bank (especially here, I did not care and never look back on any book for reviewing because it made me felt overwhelmed and could not focus well (When reading the  book I start tried to remember. It is not good at all due to I don’t have enough time now). Instead, I worked on single question and read rational right away for both right or wrong answers (that will help me to answer for another questions even it would be on  different topics. The tip and strategy parts that I felt bored to read at beginning, but later on I felt “addicted” and loved it a lot. The tip part gives the extra important info thatrelated to topic that you should know, and the strategy part that build up your common sense and how to take the exam or even make a good guess for your answer. My advice is that you trynot to skip those parts, very importantpoint during NCLEX exam, you will notremember anything else when questioncomes to the point you would have noideas Except nervousness. Then mostthink you will remember will be whatmark said, what strategy from those rational and tips and used your commonsense to guess. Then You will miss andthanks for those parts. Believe me!).

Next, my exam time was 4pm. I will set up my UWorld review at the same time with this scheduled time and do iteveryday. (If you are an anxiety testtaker, my high suggestion to buy it because its screen color and format arethe same as real exam that the most thing is that it does help calm you down and ease your nervousness at 1st sight of the exam. I  felt like I took another practice test). I understand it isexpensive, but compared to the priceyou have to retake the exam many time, that cost is good to go for one time as a smart decision for it). Again, I did not care how high or low percent you gotbecause I my will not help you at theend, “the rationales does help” . I set up 85 questions at a time;however, I wasnot hurry to do all question at a time. I had already done that for first few setsand found out that I felt lazy  and tired toreview rational over again. Then the  most thing I think it did help me in reviewing was trying to review rational  (both right or wrong)right away after “each “ question. I will learn it better through each scenario in each question and understand materials better than I had just read book as before. Every single questions will give full rational as a lesson for that topic that help you learn it right away without need to look up on the book. Great enough! ( note: I totally don’t care if I got wrong answer a lot, but felt happy to get wrong ones because most wrong questions help me remember it longer than right questions (sometimes you do an right answer but Not sure maybe a lucky guess, then happy to skip it. But then remember the real exam will test on your missing point! If you miss that they will keep testing you on it until make sure you know it to pass you or not).  Believe me. All rational will help you build up your common sense as a nurse. Test will test on how you do good and safe for patients under your care as a nurse. Unfortunately,  most of us are not have much those common senses as nurse do after we have done our school stuffs. So practice questions will help us build up those common sense. Do it, then you will feel more confident when taking the exam and ready for your future job.
It took me 4-5hrs to finish 85 questions. I did not care of the time even I was the last one left for exams in classes during nursing program. Only thing I cared was understanding materials. (in real exam, I finish it in 1 & half hr for 60questions)

Then, after dinner, I back to reread the rewrite notes from mark’s, Saunders and UWorld rationals (write down will help me remember longer). Before went to bed, I do Saunders bank as final practice for the day but not set # of questions (maybe just few questions) but for sure, went to bed at 11pm. 

Adding tip is using this link to assist my sleep to create a routine and make sure have a full sleep at least 6hr a night . I usually used alarm everyday. After 3 days doing this routine schedule. I automatically get up on exactly time that I wanted and not used alarm any more. So if it works for you as well, then try 🙂

If in someday I get up a little early, I will not gotten out of bed, but started doing pratice on Saunders by phone until time for daily schedule as the plan. I also do this if I had to go to grocery, sit on car for long trip,..... again not in hurry, relax do it as I played a game! That way help me understand material better than in school time. 

I kept doing that routine until my exam day is due. I finished all UWorld bank and did 2assessment tests on it (with 79% for 1st and 77% for 2nd- estimated a high pass. That was also a boost and A great encouragement for my confidence). I had not finished all of Saunders banks yet (about more than 2000), but I did not feel anxiety about that. My senses was so different fromother exams that I did in class. I had no anxiety at all.

On exam day, I still do practice questions as if playing a game while waiting in front of testing site building (I came there an hr early). I get inside there 45min early. They let me check in and start test early after done all check-in steps. The weird think that the exam was hard with a lot SATA and almost guessing for my answers, but I was not feel nervous at all. At that time I only care that it will run out of time before I finish exam and kept looking at o’clock on upper right corner. My last look at 56 questions in 1hr 15min that really help ease myself becuase my goal was 130 questions and I have to estimate to make sure enough time to finish all 130. I started focusing on questions and didn’t mind to look on time or what # of questions any more. However, a few questions later, the screen turn all in the blue color, but I still think it will appear the next question for me. I could not believe it stopped right there. I didn’t know at what question it stopped. Now recall of it,  I still feel like a funny sense about that moment. Again, no happyness, no nervousness, and ..... not sure. However only sure know one thing that I did all my ability to.... guess! For sure, Mark’s and rationals that I had learned helped me in those guess. 

Finally, as Mark said:

-don’t set your goal at 60 questions.

-Think like you playing game m, if you are playing in that game, it is good. 
- Missing hard question is OK, but should not miss the easy one that everyone knows. 


As I suggest, creating a routine schedule very important to help set up a healthy plan for our reviewing without tiredness. It also help reduce your anxiety, nervousness (especially if you have an anxiety test taker). I don’t think on this world will have another anxiety test taker more than me. Therefore if this routine practice did help me, then hope it will help you too. About SATA, I understand all of us scared it them a lot as a nightmare. I  was 90%wrong on practice on SATA. How a scary sense is, but if you reviewing rational and what you have learn from nursing program, you will have good common sense did it good. Believe me reviewing rational and from it build up your critical thinking and common from now on during reviewing. And the most important thing is believe in yourself. You know materials already, practicing questions is a good tool to help confirm it.

Best wish for you all success. 
(I text on my phone on the way, so forgive me for language mistake. I hurry due to I want to send a quick tip to whom will take test soon.)









Specializes in Nursing.

Just adding info Saunders bank that cost 45$


Specializes in Sm Bus Mgmt, Operations, Planning, HR, Coaching. Has 39 years experience.

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