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Passed NCLEX - but felt like you failed?


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Specializes in ICU/Critical Care. Has 2 years experience.

Even though you passed, did you feel like you failed the NCLEX?

  1. 1. Even though you passed, did you feel like you failed the NCLEX?

    • 24
      Yes. It wasn't what I expected!
    • 7
      No. It felt familiar to me!

31 members have participated


Specializes in Surgical Transplant.

Took my test this past Tuesday. I wasn't nervous, and felt good going in. I think my UWorld scores helped in my confidence (I also have never really been a nervous test taker so that helped.) However, I was beginning to psych myself out around question 45, I began to question whether my questions were getting easier or harder. As soon as I got a question that seemed easier than the last, I began to worry. If I got a SATA, I felt oddly relieved. This game of hard vs. easy questions mentally wore me out by the end.

To me, the subject matter of the question was easy and recognizable but I was having a hard time narrowing down my answer between two options (multiple choice) and on my SATA, there would always be one option I wasn't sure of. Long story short, the last half of my exam, I felt like I was completely guessing on all of my answers. Decent amount of obscure pharm and SATA, 1 drag drop, 1 exhibit.

My test shut off at 60. I didn't even want to move from my seat. I was trying to hold back tears as I walked out of the test center and felt sick to my stomach the rest of the day. It felt like I BOMBED the exam. I felt like I did so bad, I refused to do quick results or the pop up trick. I was too scared to look or possibly get a false negative (happened to my coworker despite passing.)

Exactly 24 hrs later, DOPL sent me a results email while I was at work. I had an interview the next day and was TERRIFIED of looking at the results. To my relief, I passed! Best feeling ever. Despite taking numerous UWorld exams over the minimum question amount (and feeling mentally intact), the NCLEX was still mentally draining. To those who passed with over 60 questions, KUDOS TO YOU

RichlyBlaq, ASN

Specializes in ICU, CCU.

I took mine on June 4th. I sat there and I swear the letters seemed to just dance around the screen laughing at me. NOTHING made sense even though the wording of the questions were simple. I simply couldn't comprehend a THING. I had been using UWorld for the previous weeks leading up to the exam and I had no problems comprehending anything, despite being considered harder than NCLEX itself.

I walked out in shock but had to hold myself together for the sake of my kids who drove me with me for over 3 hours to get to the testing center. I was making backup plans and already talked myself into retesting. I would be losing my residency spot and possibly the opportunity to bridge over in the fall. Everything seemed to just float away from me. I was actually shocked when I saw my license posted. I don't know what kind of grading strategy the board uses to grade but I highly doubt it is as simple as it being "adaptive".

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

This was back in the bad old days of the '90s when you had to wait WEEKS to find out your results.

I was a mother of 4 who went to nursing school in my mid-30s. It took me four years of hard work to get a two-year degree, but I did well and pretty much sailed through the program, earning good grades and the approval of my instructors. I had to wait two weeks after graduation to take the NCLEX, and when I finally sat down at the computer I felt well prepared. Four years of studying and clinicals had all boiled down to this, and I was ready.

Seventy-five questions and only 40 minutes later, the computer shut off and it was all I could do not to wail "But I'm not DONE!!" I just knew I'd failed. I never felt more sure of a thing in my life. As I drove home with my then-teenaged daughter whom I'd brought along for moral support, she did her best to talk me down as I was in full freak-out mode. Needless to say, the following days were pure agony, and daily I haunted the mail box praying that it would be the fat manila envelope and not the skinny business one. I was almost panicking, because I had a job that I was expected to start the Monday after I got my license and if I couldn't do that, all my plans would be shot to hell. I had no Plan B.

I was in the house when the envelope finally came two weeks and a day later, and I wept with joy when my husband handed it to me. I had passed! But oh, I'm so thankful I never have to take that test again!

RichlyBlaq, ASN

Specializes in ICU, CCU.

5 hours ago, VivaLasViejas said:

This was back in the bad old days of the '90s when you had to wait WEEKS to find out your results.

And here I thought you were gonna say the bad old days when the exam had to be taken on paper and you had to wait a couple of months for the results LOL. My mom always mentioned that to me when I agonized over waiting till the next morning to see if my license posted or doing the PearsonVue trick as soon as I got home.

Casey_93, ASN

Specializes in ICU/Critical Care. Has 2 years experience.

15 hours ago, VivaLasViejas said:

This was back in the bad old days of the '90s when you had to wait WEEKS to find out your results.

That sounds like an actual nightmare. Having to wait until the next day to see my name on the Board of Nursing website was torture enough! This just sounds blatantly cruel haha!


But oh, I'm so thankful I never have to take that test again!

I couldn't agree more.

jena5111, ASN, RN

Specializes in Tele, Interventional Pain Management, OR. Has 6 years experience.

I took my NCLEX in January 2016 having graduated from my ADN program December 2015. My cohort took a live Hurst Review the Summer prior to our last semester. So that (along with studying the Hurst workbook) was pretty much my official NCLEX prep. Side note: 10/10 would recommend Hurst.

My NCLEX shut off after 75 questions--about 90 minutes of testing--and I left feeling dizzy and disoriented. I'd finished my ADN program with a 4.0 but the actual NCLEX left me gobsmacked. An odd mix of delegation, education, and SATA questions (like at least 1/3 SATA) left me questioning my ability to become an RN.

Did the PVT that afternoon, which turned up good. I took NCLEX on a Saturday and my RN license number was posted by Monday morning.

NCLEX is crazy. My program had something like a 95% first-time NCLEX pass rate so the odds were obviously in my favor. Yet I left that dang test feeling as though my nursing education added up to nothing.

But--your nursing education means something. Especially if you've done well in a rigorous program. Stay calm and get that NCLEX done.

So, what will you advise one to do in other to pass NCLEX?


Has 1 years experience.

Took NCLEX on June 17th, and it shut off at 60, I had the overwhelming feeling that I passed!

Because the questions were so difficult, I had soooo many SATA questions, and it shut off at 60, I knew I was in the clear.

I had been doing computer adaptive tests through NurseAchieve so it was recognizable to me, it’s designed to missed half so you feel like you fail, but if you know you can miss half and the questions are difficult. Like “how do they expect me to know that,” difficult, you’re in the clear!!

Edited by CPres2018


Specializes in student. Has 2 years experience.

I took my test last week. I walked out of the test room having absolutely no idea how I did that's the thing about this test you really have no idea how you are doing and then it just shuts off. I felt like I failed but my family helped me to remain positive which was hard because this was my 3rd attempt. I just got my results and I Passed!!

What I did differently for the last exam simple nursing videos they are so helpful to understand core content. Hurst review videos. I also watched a podcast by Remar review called 7 days of NCLEX. After I answered question 60 and saw that the computer didn't shut off I took a minute to just relax I found this to be really helpful to calm my testing anxiety before answering any more questions.

I know how difficult it can be to pick yourself up and continue on after failed attempts but I got thru it and so can you. I know how much these stories helped me on my NCLEX journey so If I can be of any help to someone in a similar position please reach out. Best of luck to all the nurse's out there.