“Life is full of setbacks; success is determined by how you handle them.”

I saw this quote by an unknown author last night on an elevator and wanted to share it with my nursing students who may be struggling with the NCLEX Exam.  The fact is that over 53% of Repeat, U.S. educated nursing students failed their NCLEX-RN Exams in the January – September 2014 period. These statistics come from NCSBN. Regarding the Repeat, Internationally Educated nursing students, only 17.77% passed in the January – September 2014 period. What this means is that over 16,990 Repeat, U.S. Educated, and over 7,700 Repeat, Internationally Educated nursing students are struggling, along with you to pass their NCLEX-RN Exam1.

I recently received an email from a former student who completed my review course a couple of months ago. I instantly recognized her name because I remember that when she arrived at the live review course on the first day she seemed extremely discouraged, to the point of being devastated. She told me that she had already spent nearly a thousand dollars, between registration fees and review courses, without passing her NCLEX Exam.

She had taken a live review course from a well-known nursing institution and had tried an online course. After failing twice she began to doubt herself, wondering if she just didn’t have the brainpower to pass this “monster of an exam” (her exact words). At this point she was depressed, feeling hopeless and ready to just give up on her dreams of becoming a Registered Nurse. That is when a co-worker of hers offered her encouragement, saying, “Give yourself one more try. Third time is a charm, you know!” Somehow she mustered the inner strength to show up at my review course at the suggestion of her co-worker, to give it that third shot.

Today she is able to proudly sign LPN and RN after her name. She thanked me for providing her with just the right tools to pass the NCLEX Exam. I thanked her for not giving up on herself and for continuing to believe she could do it. Many students struggle to pass the NCLEX Exam for any number of reasons: language barrier, cultural background, lack of fully understanding the essential content, poor test taking strategies, inability to overcome test taking anxiety and many more. But if you do not persevere, you will never have an opportunity to succeed.

The struggle you are in today and your ability to persevere will determine who you will become tomorrow. Do not wait until you’ve finally reached your goal to have pride in yourself. Be proud of every step you take in reaching that goal. As we discussed above, “Life is full of setbacks; success is determined by how you handle them”. Find the right resources, tools and professors to help you move ahead and achieve your goals. But above all else, believe in yourself.


1“NCSBN.” 2014 NCLEX Pass Rates. N.p., n.d. Web Nov. 2014.

 Angelica Feuer, President at Feuer Nursing Review

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