What if I don't pass my nursing program's exit exam?

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  • Career Columnist / Author
    Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth.

What can I do if I graduate from a nursing program and can't pass my exit program?

Dear If,

You need to find out your school's position on the exit exam.

Typically, even if you successfully pass the program and academics, but fail the exit exam, you may not be allowed to graduate. If you don't graduate, you will not be allowed to take the NCLEX. Check your school's syllabus and all documents provided by the college.

One such exit exam is the HESI exam, given in the last quarter or semester of nursing school. The HESI exam is an indicator of how well you will do on the NCLEX. It's a computer-based, multiple-choice exam.

One of the reasons for exit exams is that nursing schools want to ensure high NCLEX pass rates. Nursing program pass rates are used by the BON/BRN to evaluate the program's effectiveness in preparing students for the NCLEX. State board approval is required for nursing programs.

Individual nursing program pass rates are easily found on the internet.

There are many study tools out there to help you prepare for the exam. Consider forming a study group with your classmates to prep for the exam.

The good news is you can repeat the HESI exam. Be sure to take a look at the HESI forum here on allnurses.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth