Use graduate students who fail State Boards?

  1. I posted a thread on Nursing Politics asking for views on the "new" Excelsior fast track program offered in Mich. here:

    After reading views it made me think about a thread started here a long time ago regarding Graduate Nurses who failed the State Boards...Anyway just curious How many times can you take the Boards? is it selective to each state or nationally?How many failures can you have?
    Now I am not suggesting lowering the standards of the Nursing Boards at all ,let me get that straight out of the box, but if we need more nurses is there a way to utilize this populace?
    I know in many states they can work as PCT's, I am referring to say... taking mandated additional courses then rechallenging.
    Please don't blast me for raising the question, I would appreciate honest feedback.
    Last edit by Chellyse66 on Oct 4, '02
  2. Visit Chellyse66 profile page

    About Chellyse66

    Joined: Oct '00; Posts: 156; Likes: 9
    R.N. Long Term Care


  3. by   Chellyse66
    I found this interesting article doing the research for Graduate student NCLEX failure:

    excerpt "Prior to 1988, the passing rate for first time test takers was 91%. In 1989, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing established a higher passing standard. The passing rate for first-time candidates then dropped to 84%. There has been a significant drop in passing rates for NCLEX- RN's since 1994."
    read here:
  4. by   Reabock
    I believe in my facility you can fail once, scedule to take it again and still work as a GN until the second test results are back. If that one is failed, then you work as an Aide until you do pass the test. I seem to remember also that you can take and fail the test 3 times before having to take other classes or a refresher course but can again take the test. I have never known or heard of anyone failing more than once let alone more than that, so I do not think that it happens very often. Joanne (good question by the way, don't know why anyone would flame you for any question, if we don't ask, how do we learn??)
  5. by   Chellyse66

    I also found this when researching completely different angle:

    Mission Statement: This form letter was constructed to answer the growing need of the Graduate Nurses and Foreign Trained Nurses that come to this site and wonder what they can do and to whom can they turn when they have failed the NCLEX? I believe that it may be very possible that the administrators of the NCLEX may be capitalizing on the critical nursing shortage that we find ourselves facing today in these United States. At the very least, it is worth an investigation to be sure that this is not so. Please use the form letter below and forward it to anyone you see fit. Pass the word and let others know that this form letter is here for their use as well. We can not have the government work for us as Nurses if they do not hear our voices. Let us all rise up and TAKE ACTION TODAY! God bless America!

    Use the links above to find the address of the person you wish to write.

    Cut and paste this form letter into a word document.

    PLEASE be sure all spelling and paragraph spacings are correct. You will not be taken seriously if it is not done correctly.

    When writing an important letter, it is a general rule NOT TO EMAIL. ALWAYS write a letter and sign your name at the bottom above your typed name.


    To:___________________ [name of title of representative]

    [Address of person to whom you are sending this letter]

    From:_________________ [your name and title]

    [Address and phone number where you may be reached]

    [Place date here]

    Dear [address as sir or madam]:

    As you are aware, as of July 23, 2001, the Nursing Shortage Response Act of 2001 was introduced in the House of Representatives [H. R. 2594] as was the Need Act [H.R.3020] which was also introduced to the Senate [S.721].

    I am writing you today on behalf of the Nursing Profession. As you know there is a shortage of Nurses in the United States today and the problem will only grow to be worse in the years to come. With the number of new nurses getting state licenses barely rising-and demand for nurses soaring because of an aging population and the popularity of home health care-the Labor Department projects a shortage of 450,000 nurses in just seven years.

    The NCLEX is the exam that all nurses must pass to be able to practice in the United States. The persons that are responsible for this exam are the Board of Nursing in each State where the potential nurse wants to get his/her license to practice and the Chauncey Group International, Ltd 664 Rosedale Road Princeton, NJ 08540-2218 phone: 609 720 6500 fax: 609 720 6550. In order for a future nurse to take the exam, they must pay a fee to the Board of Nursing in the State in which they wish practice and a fee to the Chauncey Group. If an individual does not pass, they pay the entire fee again. This individual keeps paying the entire fee until they pass. At present, the fee to take the exam is in the range of $220 - $250 between paying the Board of Nursing and the Chauncey Group.

    Today, I am writing you with growing concern that the failure rate for the NCLEX keeps rising. Granted the NCLEX administrators will say that they raised the passing standards and it is logical that one will have more failures. Yes, while this fact may be true, I wonder as to the intentions of the Chauncey Group and the Board of Nursing. Are their intentions to raise the standards of the NCLEX passing rate at a time of such a critical nursing shortage meeting a need or taking advantage of a situation? We have no choice as Graduate Nurses or Foreign Trained Nurses but to take this exam and they understand this. To pay a complete fee each time to retake the exam, many future Nurses run out of funds or get so discouraged, they give up. Now, the education they received in college to be a Nurse means nothing. The diploma earned is no more than a piece of paper and they are stuck paying back the student loans. This fact definitely contributes to the nursing shortage.

    Naturally, with the United States government trying to recruit Nurses into the field, this would be an opportunity for the Chauncey Group and the Board of Nursing to capitalize on such a situation and I believe it is one that is worth an investigation.

    Thank you so much for your time concerning this matter. I am sure I will hear from you as soon as possible concerning this matter.


    [Your name and title]

  6. by   P_RN
    That last source, the one with the letter, is someone's private webpage. I didn't realize that the NCLEX fee was that high. I think I paid about $40 back in the olden days.
    But I'm also not sure that lowering the passing score is the way to go.
    I think the NCLEX fee must have really skyrocketed in the last few years. When I took it 4 years ago, I'm sure it was under $100. Some of the last nurse interns on my floor to take it said it was $250.

    Lowering the passing score is not the way to go. Years of hard work and determination and studying.... and my abilities tested and measured in 75 questions and 45 minutes? Isn't that scary?

  8. by   Chellyse66
    I agree we can't lower the standards, I read that the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (
    reviews and changes if necessary the testing process every three years, by a board of Nursing Judges.
    I wonder if the failure rate is going up?
    Here is what I found out for Florida:

    ( If you fail the exam, you will have to reapply by submitting a new completed application, with a retake fee of $95.00. You will also have to reapply for the examination to The Chauncey Group and pay a non-refundable fee of $120. You must wait a minimum of 91 days between each examination.

    After three failures of the same level of examination (RN, LPN) the applicant must successfully complete a Florida Board of Nursing approved remedial training program. The program must include classroom and clinical components and proof of completion must be submitted at the time of application for the fourth attempt. )

    My mind is whirling now thinking about all the hard work it takes to become a nurse and remain in the profession....
    Clinical experience should be mandatory, I can say for me it has been the best way to learn...definitely hands on here.Which leads me back to NCLEX, pencil and paper when I took it!
  9. by   deespoohbear
    Graduate nurses are called nurse techs until they take the NCLEX. If they do not pass, they have to work as a CNA until they pass. Here in Indiana you can take the NCLEX three times. I am not sure what happens if you don't pass the third time. Several of our student nurses have not passed this last year. They all appear to be good students, and do well on the floor. One of the student nurses who just failed the NCLEX told me that at least 6 of her classmates did not pass the first time either. And these students went to a nursing school at a private university with a low student to instructor ratio. I am not sure why all of a sudden people seem to be having to take the NCLEX two or three times. You would think that if that many people are not passing it must be something wrong with the test. I know some people are just poor test takers too, but I would think that if you had a steady increase in the failure rate someone would be thinking about what is wrong (the tests, the instructors, or the students?). I agree with Heather that lowering the standards is not the way to go but maybe the whole format needs changed. One of my co-workers just started nursing school and she said that the instructors are telling them that the NCLEX is going to contain fill in the blank, essay, and multiple choice on them in the near future. Does anyone know if the NCLEX varies from state to state or is it pretty much a standard test across the nation.

    In response of how much it costs to take the NCLEX, the graduate students say it is $250 to sit for it here in the Hoosier State. (I am sure that most nursing (or any college student) loves coming with that amount of money!! When I took the NCLEX in Jan 95, I believe it was about $100. I thought that price was outrageous!!
  10. by   Chellyse66
    BTW Thanks Joanne, I just know debates can get heated sometimes , and did not want anyone to think that was the purpose of the question... I can not help but think of how terrible it must feel to fail NCLEX after so much work.
  11. by   Chellyse66
    I found this site when I was out surfing earlier:

    NCLEX® Myths & Facts
    Change to white background (MSIE)

    With excerpts from:

    Myth: Candidates are randomly selected to receive maximum length examinations-265 items for the NCLEX® -RN examination and 205 items for the NCLEX® -PN examination.
    Fact: It is not true that candidates are randomly selected to receive a designated number of examination questions. As a candidate takes the examination, questions are selected based on the candidate's response to previous questions. Testing stops when a candidate's performance is estimated as being either above or below the passing standard (passing level), regardless of the number of questions taken or the amount of testing time elapsed (five hour maximum time period).

    Myth: If you had to answer more than the minimum number of questions, then you failed the test.
    Fact: Most people who fail had to answer greater than the minimum number of questions, but plenty of people pass with a variety of number of questions asked. There's no absolute way to tell based on answering more than the minimum number of questions. The only possibly realistic conclusions students seem to draw from their testing experience is that if the test stops at the minimum number of questions (85 for PN, 75 for RN), then they probably passed--or bombed miserably.

    Myth: Candidates who receive the minimum number of items (75 items for the NCLEX® -RN examination, 85 items for the NCLEX® -PN examination) and the last item is "easy" will fail the examination.
    Fact: It is often impossible for candidates taking the examination to know which questions are difficult and which questions are easy. However, the level of difficulty of a question is not related to the content area of the test plan-and the content of the last question is not an indication of a candidate's competence level. The examination is constructed to recognize that each candidate will have strengths and weaknesses in particular subject areas. All examinations, regardless of length, have the required proportion of questions from each area of the NCLEX® -RN or NCLEX® -PN Test Plan.

    Myth: Passing percentages are really high.
    Fact: There's no "passing percentage" that you can discern--everyone gets about 50% right and 50% wrong.

    Myth: The passing standard was raised for the NCLEX® -RN examination in 1999, and is the cause of increased candidate failure rates for the examination.
    Fact: No change to the NCLEX® -RN examination passing standard was made in 1999. The current NCLEX® -RN examination passing standard went into effect on April 1, 1998. The passing standard is reviewed every three years. In October, 2000, the RN passing standard was reviewed and it was decided that no changes would be made. In November 2001, the same decision was made concerning the PN exam.

    Myth: Other states (like California & New York) require a higher passing standard for licensure.
    Fact: All states accept National Council's recommended passing standard for the NCLEX® -RN examination or NCLEX® -PN examination to be eligible for nursing licensure. California and New York do not require a different passing standard on the NCLEX® -RN or the NCLEX® -PN examinations for initial nurse licensure by examination.

    Myth: You can't study for the NCLEX®
    Fact: Phooey! If you're weak in certain areas, you can and should study those using one of many NCLEX® preparation books available. The NLN exam that most students have to take in the last semester of nursing school is a good indication of where you stand. People who fail the NCELX usually failed this exam, too, although NLN failure is not a guarantee of NCLEX® failure. If you use the results to bone up on subjects, you will probably do OK on the NCLEX® .

    Myth: The NCLEX® examination will contain fill-in-the blank questions beginning April 1, 2001.
    Fact: The National Council plans to begin pilot testing innovative item types such as fill-in-the blank questions in the fall of 2000 with boards of nursing. Depending on the results of this pilot study, some of the innovative item formats may be used to develop NCLEX® examination items. However, administration of these innovative item types on the NCLEX® examination will not begin April 1, 2001. The National Council will provide updates on this pilot project on its Web site. This means you won't be getting an exam with fill-in-the-blank questions.

    Myth: NCLEX® examination questions that include graphics (pictures) are not "real" questions and do not count in the pass/fail result.
    Fact: They count! All questions presented on NCLEX® examinations are important. The inclusion of questions that contain graphics is not new. Questions that include graphics were likewise included on NCLEX® paper-and-pencil examinations.

    On the NCLEX® -RN examination, the minimum number of questions is 75, which includes 60 "real" questions and 15 "tryouts," which are not counted toward your competence level. The maximum number of questions possible in the NCLEX® -RN is 265, which includes 250 "real" and 15 "tryout" questions. On the NCLEX® -PN examination, the minimum number of questions is 85, which includes 60 "real" questions and 25 "tryouts," which are not counted toward your competence level. The maximum number of questions possible in the NCLEX® -PN examination is 205, which includes 180 "real" and 25 "tryout" questions. There is no way to tell which questions are "tryouts." All NCLEX® examination candidates are given a brief tutorial and three sample questions to practice use of the examination interface (space bar and enter key). The word sample is printed across each sample question on the screen. Once the word sample disappears, the candidate is in the actual test. There is no break in the administration of questions between the three sample questions and the actual examination questions.

    Myth: Beginning in April 2001 with the use of the mouse, the NCLEX® examination will begin using essay-type questions.
    Fact: The National Council will not be using essay-type questions in April 2001. How using a mouse would enable testers to complete essay-type questions is another mystery invented in the myth-factory, and likely a computer illiterate factory at that.

    Myth: Some of the NCLEX® examination test questions require the candidate to select an answer outside the scope of practice for a registered nurse or licensed practical/vocational nurse.
    Fact: All NCLEX® examination items have been reviewed by the National Council's Examination Committee. All items have been deemed by the committee to be within the scope of practice for a registered nurse or a licensed practical/vocational nurse. When the subject is seemingly out of the testers scope of practice, such as blood administration questions for PN testers, the question usually deals with recognizing changes in a patient's condition or some other issue that the PN should have knowledge of.

    Myth: Most NCLEX® examination questions are written at the cognitive levels of knowledge and comprehension.
    Fact: For the past few years, item writers for the National Council have developed NCLEX® examination questions written at the cognitive levels of application and analysis (Bloom et. al, 1956). These questions require a candidate to utilize problem-solving skills in order to select the correct answer. Examples of these items include making assignments for four clients, prioritizing care for four clients and analyzing complex client data to determine an appropriate nursing action.

  12. by   deespoohbear
    Michele-Thanks for the link and the information. Very helpful. I am going to tell my co-workers who are waiting to take state boards and who are now currently in school to log on to that site.
  13. by   New CCU RN
    I found this post interesting considering that I am a new grad and just took the NCLEX back in July.....75 questions in 35 minutes...I passed, first try. The NCLEX costs 200, although they have just changed to another testing service....can't remember the name, so the price may have gone up again.

    My thoughts on why so many people fail? The test is a collection of the most random isn't the typical nursing test type questions. I went to a private BSN program with a graduating class of 17. All but one in my class passed. However, I know that most of my classmates were convinced they failed when they walked out of the test. Every NCLEX taker feels the same way that I have talked to.

    The other thing is the psychological part of the test. It is designed to find your competence it asks you a question if you get it right, it gets harder. If you get it wrong it gets easier. It will continue to get hard until you are answering 50/50 right and wrong. This is where you are determined to be competent. When the test reaches 75 it will turn off or continue depending if it has made a decision. If it continues it will until you are clearly above or below the passing rate.

    Anyhow, this form of testing is awful!!!! When do you ever have a test that you are getting 50/50 and passing?????

    As far as utilizing new grads who don't pass in the workfield, they can work as a tech. It is sad to see someone half the way through orientation and then have to get a huge cut in pay and not be able to continue for a little while as a GN. In 91 days you can retest though, which in the big scheme of things is not a long time.

    There are some great sites out there to help NCLEX takers, the was mentioned, there is also
    Some great preparation tools are the NCLEX 3000, Saunders, and the National Council has an online class you can take. (they are the ones that write the test.)
  14. by   hnudona
    I have to speak for those like me who tried and failed the nclex. I think most of the time it is anxiety that keeps me from passing and not my actual knowledge. I personally think that they should let the instructors in the clinical sites pass or fail the students as they do the actual work on the floors instead of going by a book test. I know that I am a good nurse and it seems so unfair to go through all that schooling and then be told you can't take the test again. I am not the only one who feels this way about the book tests. Recently a young student at a high school was exempted from taking the CAT form of testing because they found that it did not acurately rate his knowledge. I say that the NCLEX does not acurately rate my nursing knowledge either. What do you think about that?