How Many Times Can You Take the NCLEX?

The NCLEX is a rigorous exam designed to evaluate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for safe and effective entry-level nursing practice. It's not unusual for some candidates to require more than one attempt to pass. This leads to the question: How many times can you retake the NCLEX? Students NCLEX Article

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  • Editorial Team / Admin
    Specializes in Official allnurses account.

NCLEX Attempts: National and State Regulations

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the organization responsible for the development and administration of the NCLEX, allows candidates to retake the exam up to eight times a year, with a 45-day waiting period between each attempt. However, the number of attempts and the waiting period can differ based on the specific regulations of the nursing board in each state.

Dealing with NCLEX Failure: What's Next?

So, how many times can you fail the NCLEX? Technically, there is no universal cap on the number of times a candidate can fail the NCLEX. However, after multiple unsuccessful attempts, candidates might need to consider additional preparation or remediation to enhance their chances of passing.

State-by-State Guide to NCLEX Attempts

States that allow unlimited NCLEX attempts, as long as NCSBN rules are followed, include:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

States With Additional Rules for Retaking the NCLEX

  • Alaska: Candidates must pass the examination within two years of their first attempt. If candidates continue to fail after two years, they must complete a remedial course before attempting to retake the exam.
  • Colorado: The board allows applicants to take the NCLEX three times within three years of their first test. If they wish to take the test a fourth time, within two years of their third test attempt candidates must evaluate their deficiencies; take a course or review to refresh their studies; and submit a petition to take the NCLEX for a fourth time. If they fail a fourth time, they must enroll in and complete another nursing education program.
  • Delaware: Applicants can continue to retake the NCLEX for up to five years.
  • Florida: After three failed attempts, applicants must successfully complete a remedial course approved by the Florida Board of Nursing.
  • Georgia: Applicants must pass the NCLEX within three years of graduation from a nursing education program.
  • Hawaii: Candidates who fail the NCLEX three times must take a remedial course. They can then repeat the NCLEX exam within six months of completing the course.
  • Illinois: Illinois grants applicants a three-year time frame to pass the exam after the initial application. If candidates do not pass within that three-year period, they must take an additional course of education and submit a new application for licensure.
  • Indiana: Candidates who do not pass the NCLEX after three attempts must undergo a board review procedure.
  • Kentucky: If Kentucky applicants remain unsuccessful for two or more attempts, they will receive a letter from the Kentucky Board of Nursing. They must reapply for licensure, pay the fee again, and complete the background check and jurisprudence exam if enough time has passed.
  • Louisiana: For practical nurses, applicants can take the exam up to four times within a period of two years — but no later than three years —of finishing a practical nursing program. If the applicant fails the NCLEX-PN, they must enroll in and complete the entire nursing program again.
  • Michigan: Candidates must pass the NCLEX within three years of graduating from their nurse education program. If they do not pass after three years, candidates must either complete a certification of skills competency or request an extension from the board of nursing.
  • Minnesota: Although Minnesota does not limit the number of times candidates can take the NCLEX, the state does require applicants to submit an examination retake request within eight months. Applicants should also repeat the test within a year.
  • Mississippi: Applicants can take the NCLEX up to six times within two years of graduating from their nursing education program.
  • Missouri: To retake the NCLEX, candidates must file a repeat examination application containing required data and documents. Then candidates must retake the test within one year from the date the application is notarized.
  • Nevada: Applicants may take the NCLEX up to four times.
  • New Hampshire: Applicants may take the NCLEX up to five times (that includes attempts to pass the exam in other states).
  • New Jersey: Candidates who do not pass the NCLEX after three times must complete a board-approved remedial training before their fourth attempt.
  • New Mexico: Applicants can take the exam a maximum of three times within three years of their initial eligibility.
  • Oklahoma: In Oklahoma, candidates must take the NCLEX within two years of completing a nursing education program. If they fail to do so, they must take a refresher course or a supervised clinical experience before they become eligible to retake the exam.
  • Oregon: Candidates have up to three years to pass the NCLEX.
  • North Carolina: Applicants who do not pass the NCLEX within one year of the first attempt must complete remediation plans approved by the South Carolina Board of Nursing before reexamination. Applicants who do not pass the NCLEX within three years of graduation must requalify by enrolling in an approved nursing education program.
  • Tennessee: The board of nursing may request that candidates who fail the NCLEX twice meet specific recommendations. The board determines this on a case-by-case basis. If an applicant hasn't passed within three years of graduating from a nursing education program, they must complete another accredited nursing program.
  • Texas: Applicants who do not pass the NCLEX within four years of graduation must complete an approved nursing education program before retaking the exam.
  • Utah: Applicants must pass the NCLEX within five years of graduation. If they fail to pass within five years, then they have to complete another approved nursing education program.
  • Vermont: Candidates who do not pass the NCLEX within five years of graduation must complete another nursing education program before testing again.
  • West Virginia: Test-takers who fail the NCLEX twice must participate in state-approved activities that help maintain and remedy deficiencies in their nursing knowledge. The state RN board outlines approved activities on its site. If candidates fail the exam four times, they must provide evidence to the board that they've completed courses and assessments to help remedy their deficiencies.
  • Wyoming: Candidates can sit for the NCLEX up to 10 times within five years following graduation.

Conclusion: Preparing for Success on the NCLEX

While the NCLEX can be challenging, candidates have multiple opportunities to retake the exam. However, preparing adequately for each attempt is crucial to increase the likelihood of success.

Remember, passing the NCLEX is a significant milestone, but it's not the only measure of your potential as a nurse. Keep learning, stay resilient, and continue to strive for excellence in your nursing career.

(Editorial Team / Admin)

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International LPN registered in NYC she to the NCLEX 4 times in 10 yrs. Can she take it again.

Editorial Team / Admin


107 Articles; 286 Posts

Specializes in Official allnurses account.

We're not seeing anything on the NY Education Board indicating a difference in retaking limits for international vs US-based.

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