nclex computer lab

How Many Times Can You Take the NCLEX? [plus NCLEX pass rates]

Written by: Kristine Thorndyke

Many soon-to-be-nurses begin to lose confidence as their exam rolls around, asking us the same question “how many times can you take the NCLEX?” If this sounds like you, rest assured that you can actually take the NCLEX up to 8 times per year with a 45-day rest period between each test taken. This means there is no maximum number of times you can take the NCLEX, just a maximum in any given year.

Studying for the NCLEX? Check out our favorite NCLEX review books!

Check the Board of Nursing in Your State

Keep in mind, however, that this is what the NCSBN (the company that creates the NCLEX exam) allows and does not reflect each state Board of Nursing. Some jurisdiction of licensure/registration permit a maximum amount of NCLEX retakes, so it is very important to contact the Board of Nursing in your state / country / province so that you can better understand how many times you can take the NCLEX in your area.

Here are some standout states that have further restrictions on how many times you can take the NCLEX otherwise additional requirements will need to be met:

  • Kansas: Must pass within 2 years of graduation in Kansas
  • Michigan: Maximum of 6 attempts and no more than 3 times per year
  • Florida
  • Louisiana: Must pass within 4 years of graduation and can only be taken a total of 4 times
  • South Carolina: If you don’t pass your first time, you have 1 year to pass
  • Texas: Within 4 years of graduation

This List is NOT Exhaustive

Keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list and we recommend you call the Board of Nursing in your state or country for further clarification on how many times you can take the NCLEX. This restrictions are generally not an end-all, as you can meet further requirements, such as taking a board-approved educational program or submitting a petition to retest.

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Some states do not have any such restrictions, however. Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and California (to name a few), do not restrict the number of times you can take the NCLEX.

Rather than asking how many times you can take the NCLEX, perhaps you should be looking at how many people actually have to retake the NCLEX exam. Check out some of these statistics and see for yourself if you should rather be planning to succeed rather than fail.

NCLEX Pass Rates

Start with our article, What’s a Passing NCLEX Score, if you are still unsure of what the CAT technology means for passing the NCLEX.

According to the NCSBN, the 2018 NCLEX-RN pass rate was 89% for first-time US educated test takers. The NCLEX-PN pass rate was about 84% for first-time US educated test takers. Those who do not pass the first time have a lower repeat pass rate of 45% for NCLEX-RN repeat US educated test takers and 35% for NCLEX-PN repeat US-educated test takers.

The NCLEX pass rates for internationally educated students is significantly lower than those educated in the US. The pass rate for first-time internationally educated NCLEX-RN test takers is almost 41% and the pass rate for first-time internationally educated NCLEX-PN test takers is almost 55%.

Read more about the NCLEX pass rates in our article How Hard is the NCLEX?

What This Means for You

If you were educated in the US, your chances of passing the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN the first time are quite probable. Knowing how many times you can take the NCLEX is likely not of a concern. You can browse a list of the easiest nursing schools to get into and feel confident that you will find a great, accredited nursing school to apply to.

For those who were educated internationally, it is wise to consider purchasing some NCLEX review books to help increase your chances of knocking on the NCLEX the first time! Start with this list of NCLEX review books.

Still new to the NCLEX? Start with the basics and learn What the NCLEX Stands For.