Student Not Eligible for NCLEX

Nurses Nurse Beth


  • Career Columnist / Author
    Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Nurse Beth,

My daughter graduated with a BSN. Transcript shows degree awarded. However, she didn’t make the school's required minimum on the HESI. Now the school has decided to administer ANOTHER test in a month, which will interfere with her job offer. At what point does something give and the school no longer hold the control to hold not releasing graduates to sit for the NCLEX?

Dear Daughter Held Back,

Most nursing schools require their students to pass the HESI exam prior to graduation. The HESI exam is a valid predictor of the student's ability to successfully pass the NCLEX.

The HESI exam consists of 150 questions and is designed to test critical thinking and application.

Nursing schools have the right to hold students to conditions of successful completion of the nursing program. Students who do not successfully meet requirements of completion are not eligible for the NCLEX.

The best thing for your daughter to do is prepare to successfully pass the test.

A BSN has no value to employers without an RN behind it.

Her job offer is certainly contingent on her passing the NCLEX, and the first step towards passing the NCLEX is passing the required exit exam. At some hospitals, the applicant's exit exam scores are looked at along with their GPA when hiring.

In other words, although you could choose to fight and appeal the school's decision, your energy is better spent on encouraging and helping your daughter pass. There are a lot of helpful study aids out there.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!


38,333 Posts

In my day and age my BSN program said nothing about a HESI, a HEMI, or any other kind of exit exam. We were required to take NLN exams but were not penalized for our scores. I’ll tell you one thing though. We certainly heard plenty from instructors when the entire class ‘failed’ these exams. Most people failed miserably. I can not empathize with the mother though. It was no secret to her daughter that passing the exam was her key to the NCLEX that was made abundantly clear to her at the start of nursing school. Time for her to study.


3 Posts

Actually it wasn’t in the original handbook. There was no mention of it Its not listed in any of the original requirements upon entering the program. It wasn’t even mentioned until the last year of the school had begun. But again, she’s already graduated. I’d think that if her transcript showed an incomplete then it would be more of a valid thing. We will see how it goes from here. Surely there is an end in sight and she can move on to the NCLEX and life.


38,333 Posts

Then whatever is in the policies about the school’s right to change curriculum or other requirements would prevail. My BSN program changed the entire curriculum one semester at a time with enough differences to make it ‘impossible’ to repeat or remediate. Each class was warned accordingly and it was made clear at which points a failure or break would cause a student not to graduate. There were people who got left by the wayside not always because of academic failure. Her best bet is still to study and pass the exam. Getting an attorney to fight the system is not a guaranteed way to get what she wants without giving the school what it wants. Surely the nursing program has a retention coordinator who is willing to work with those in this unfortunate situation. She should seek assistance. It is not in the school’s best interest for her not to get licensed.


3 Posts

Keep in mind as stated in my original post, she has already graduated.Already received her degree. Already picked up her transcript showing completion. I’m sure it will all work out.


38,333 Posts

But has the school sent her paperwork to the Board so she can test for a license? There are people who hold a BSN degree that are not licensed RN’s.

Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

146 Articles; 3,422 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Another thing to consider is what part of this is your daughter's responsibility. Part of growing up is dealing with setbacks like this.

Specializes in Stroke Care - Med/Surg.
5 minutes ago, Nurse Beth said:

Another thing to consider is what part of this is your daughter's responsibility to take care of. Part of growing up is dealing with setbacks like this.

Yup, just about to say this. As a young 20-something, it's shocking to me how many people my age are still so dependent on their parents for basics (not just financial). I have parents call my clinic to make an appointment for their 25 yr old son or daughter. If your daughter is grown up enough to be a nurse and provide patient care, she's mature enough to deal with this issue on her own.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

As others have said, a BSN by itself is not sufficient to be eligible to take the NCLEX. The laws/rules/regulations that govern state licensure say that you need to have met an academic requirement (i.e. graduated for schools ) AND be endorsed by that school as a candidate to take the test.

Your daughter hasn't met both necessary conditions to take the test yet. If you want to help her ... help her meet the 2nd necessary condition. Whining about it won't help anybody.

On 6/12/2019 at 8:37 AM, Nurse Beth said:

Now the school has decided to administer ANOTHER test in a month, which will interfere with her job offer.

I'm kind of confused about this point. Is the problem that her job is set to begin before this mandatory test? If that's the case, she will have to go to HR and explain that she needs to move back her start date given a delay in her testing. Regardless of the reason, she won't be able to start her job until she passes the NCLEX (or if they will let her start, that she'll be very limited in what she can do on orientation.)

When you refer to this test next month, would she be retaking the HESI, or is this an exam in lieu of the HESI? If her goal is to speed up the process of sitting for the NCLEX so that she doens't miss out on her current job opportunity, perhaps she could sign up to take the HESI earlier (i.e. in the next couple of weeks) in order to get out of the exam in a month. If she can demonstrate a passing score, may they'd release her graduation info so she can sit for the NCLEX. She'd probably have to pay out of pocket, but it could speed up the process.


1,476 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.

Might also want to consider that if she can’t pass the HESI, there’s a chance she won’t pass the NCLEX anyway. Either way she needs to take accountability and do what she can on her end to improve and meet the requirements.


13 Posts

I graduated in December before Christmas and received my degree in the mail. My program required my class to come back January 2nd and take a mandatory Hurst exam review. Then we had to wait almost 2 months to take 2 ATI exit exams. If we didn't pass(with a score of 80), we had to continue to take the exams. Once 2 exams were taken unsuccessfully, we were required to pay for each additional exam. None of this was ever stated to us nor was it included in any handbooks or paperwork. The classes after us still had no idea that this was a requirement until we informed them. Bottom line after working hard for my nursing degree, getting past an exit exam was the least of my worries. I just chalked it up to my program wanting to continue to be a thorn in my side for a few more months.

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