What are the Chances of Passing Nursing School?

Nursing school is widely regarded as one of the most challenging academic programs due to its curriculum and the necessity of mastering medical knowledge and clinical skills. While becoming a nurse is difficult, many dedicated students successfully navigate the program each year. Statistics on nursing school attrition rates can provide insight into the chances of passing, though it ultimately comes down to each individual’s commitment, preparation, and perseverance.   

Need Help Writing an Essay?

Tell us about your assignment and we will find the best writer for your paper

Write My Essay For Me

What Does Passing Nursing School Exactly Mean?

Passing nursing school means meeting all the requirements set by the program to earn a nursing degree or diploma. This includes passing all nursing theory courses, skills labs, and clinical rotations. Students must demonstrate mastery of essential nursing knowledge and clinical competencies.

Is Nursing School Hard To Pass?

Yes, nursing school is generally considered quite difficult. The rigorous coursework covers complex topics like anatomy, pharmacology, pathophysiology, and nursing care across the lifespan. The clinical hours add additional demands of applying knowledge in real healthcare settings. Time management is crucial with the heavy workload. However, many schools provide resources to help students succeed if they are committed to making the necessary efforts.

What percentage of first-time NCLEX test-takers pass?

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass rates highlight the importance of thorough preparation and aiming to pass on the first attempt. In 2023, first-time test-takers who received their nursing education in the United States demonstrated a strong pass rate exceeding 83%. In contrast, those repeating the NCLEX after an initial failure struggled significantly, with a pass rate of only around 42%. 

This stark difference underscores repeat test-takers challenges and the critical nature of laying a solid foundation through comprehensive studying and mastery of the required knowledge and skills. Numerous factors can contribute to the lower pass rates among repeat test-takers, but the data clearly indicates that the best pathway to success on the NCLEX is through diligent preparation to pass on the first attempt. 

6 Common Reasons Why Students Fail To Pass Nursing School

While most nursing students complete their programs, some may struggle to pass for various reasons. Some common factors that can contribute to a student’s failure to pass nursing school include:

  • Poor study habits and time management skills
  • Difficulty balancing schoolwork with personal and professional responsibilities
  • Lack of a strong support system
  • Inadequate preparation for exams and clinical rotations
  • Struggling with the complexity and volume of the nursing curriculum
  • Failure to seek help when needed, such as tutoring or counseling services

Recognizing and proactively addressing these potential challenges can help students increase their chances of success in nursing school.

Expert Tips to Successfully Pass Nursing School 

To succeed in nursing school, you will be expected to master complex medical concepts, develop critical thinking skills, and gain hands-on clinical experience, all while balancing the demands of coursework, exams, and personal life. Here are some tips to help you navigate the challenges of nursing school with confidence.

Time management

Effective time management is crucial in nursing school. Use a planner to schedule your class times, study sessions, clinical rotations, work shifts, family commitments, and self-care activities. Allocate realistic amounts of time for each task and stick to your schedule to ensure you’re making progress in all areas.

Get organized

Keep your study space tidy and organize your class materials, notes, and textbooks to be easily accessible. Use folders, binders, or a digital filing system to keep track of important documents and deadlines. Having a clear, organized system reduces stress and maximizes productivity.

Use mnemonics

Mnemonic devices are memory techniques that can help you retain complex nursing concepts. For example, “ADPIE” is a mnemonic for the nursing process: Assessment, Diagnosis, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation. Creating vivid, memorable mnemonics for different topics can make studying more effective and fun.

Study everyday

Consistency is key in nursing school. Set aside time to study a little bit each day, rather than trying to cram before exams. This helps solidify your knowledge over time and reduces stress. Even if you only have 30 minutes, use that time to review notes, make flashcards, or do practice questions.

Complete practice questions

Doing practice NCLEX-style questions is one of the best ways to prepare for nursing school exams and the licensing exam. Practice questions help you apply theoretical concepts to clinical scenarios, identify areas where you need further study, and familiarize you with the questions you’ll encounter on the NCLEX.

Participate in a study group

Collaborating with your peers can make studying more engaging and effective. Study groups allow you to share knowledge, quiz each other, and teach concepts to one another. Explaining information to others helps deepen your own understanding. Plus, study groups can provide social support and accountability.

Focus on course objectives when studying

Nursing school curricula are content-heavy, and memorizing every detail can be overwhelming. Instead, focus your studying on the key concepts and learning objectives emphasized in your course syllabus and lectures. This ensures you’re prioritizing the most important information.

Know your learning style

Everyone learns differently, so it’s important to understand what study strategies work best for you. Visual learners benefit from diagrams, charts, and color-coding. Auditory learners prefer listening to lectures or discussions. Kinesthetic learners learn by doing hands-on activities. Once you’ve identified your learning style, you can tailor your studying accordingly.

Use outside learning resources

Your course textbooks and materials are the foundation of your learning, but many additional resources are available to supplement your understanding. Utilize online video tutorials, NCLEX prep books, mobile study apps, and educational websites to dive deeper into challenging concepts. If you’re struggling with a particular subject, don’t hesitate to seek extra resources or tutoring.

Give yourself a break

It’s unrealistic to expect perfection in every nursing school exam or assignment. Don’t beat yourself up if you perform poorly on an exam despite studying hard. Instead, use it as a learning opportunity to identify where you can improve next time. Remember that one bad grade doesn’t define your overall success in nursing school.

Find activities to do outside of school

Pursuing hobbies and interests outside of nursing school helps maintain a healthy school-life balance. Make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation, such as exercise, reading, spending time with loved ones, or engaging in a creative outlet. Living outside of school can improve your academic performance by reducing stress and preventing burnout.


When the demands of nursing school feel overwhelming, remember to pause and take deep breaths. Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting a state of calmness and relaxation. If you are getting anxious while studying or taking an exam, close your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths to refocus.

Good sleep habits

Sleep is essential for memory consolidation, emotional regulation, and overall health. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to ensure you’re well-rested and mentally sharp. Avoid pulling all-nighters, as they can actually impair your cognitive function and retention. If you’re having trouble sleeping due to stress, try relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing before bed.

Eat a well-balanced diet

Proper nutrition fuels your brain and body for the demands of nursing school. Eat regular, balanced meals with protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Limit caffeine and junk food, which can lead to energy crashes and impaired concentration.

Exercise daily

Regular physical activity is a powerful stress reliever and mood-booster. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like brisk walking, jogging, or cycling, most days of the week. Exercise can also improve your sleep quality and cognitive function. If you can’t fit in a full workout, take short movement breaks throughout the day to stretch and get your blood flowing.

Ask questions

Curiosity is a key trait of successful nurses. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in class, clinical, or study groups if you don’t understand something. Chances are, other students have the same question. Asking for clarification shows that you’re engaged and proactive about your learning. Remember, your instructors want to help you succeed.

Schedule meetings with your instructor 

If you’re consistently struggling with a particular class, don’t wait until you’re at risk of failing to reach out for help. Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your instructor to discuss your challenges and develop an improvement plan. Your instructor can offer personalized guidance, study tips, and resources to help you get back on track.

Do not cram for exams

While waiting until the last minute to study for exams may be tempting, cramming is an ineffective learning strategy. It leads to increased stress and poorer long-term retention of information. Instead, space out your studying over time, reviewing a little each day. This approach, known as “spaced repetition,” allows your brain to consolidate and store information more effectively.

Complete the pre-class prep

Many nursing courses assign reading, case studies, or other preparatory work to be completed before each lecture. While it can be challenging to keep up with these assignments on top of other coursework, completing pre-class prep sets you up for success. It allows you to familiarize yourself with key concepts, identify questions, and engage more actively in class discussions.

Maximize clinical experiences

Clinical rotations are where you’ll apply theoretical knowledge to real-world patient care. Take every opportunity to observe, practice skills, and interact with patients and healthcare professionals. Offer to help with tasks, even if they’re not specifically assigned to you. The more hands-on experience you gain, the more confident and competent you’ll become.

Positive Attitude

Nursing school is challenging, but approaching it with a positive mindset can make a difference. Instead of the obstacles, focus on your progress and the end goal of becoming a nurse. Surround yourself with supportive, encouraging people who uplift you. Practice gratitude and celebrate your small victories along the way.

Review material after class

After each lecture, take a few minutes to review your notes and summarize key points while the information is still fresh in your mind. This helps consolidate your learning and identify any areas of confusion you must follow up on. You can also use this time to create study aids like flashcards or mind maps for your ongoing studying.

Get to know your instructors

Your nursing instructors are valuable resources for course content, mentorship, and professional guidance. Take the time to introduce yourself, participate in class, and attend office hours. Building positive relationships with your instructors can lead to opportunities for research, clinical placements, or letters of recommendation down the line.

Review your course exams

After each exam, take the time to review your results and identify areas where you struggled. Look for patterns in the types of questions you missed, and use this information to guide your future studies. If you don’t understand why you got a question wrong, meet with your instructor to discuss it. Reviewing exams can help you learn from your mistakes and improve your test-taking strategies.

Do not fall behind

In nursing school, course content builds upon itself, so staying on top of your assignments and studying is crucial. If you start to fall behind, it can be difficult to catch up, leading to increased stress and poorer performance. If you’re struggling to keep up, reach out to your instructor or academic advisor early on to discuss strategies for getting back on track.

Do not give up!

Nursing school is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be moments when you feel discouraged, exhausted, or even question your decision to become a nurse. In these moments, remember why you chose this path and the impact you’ll be able to make as a nurse. Reach out to your support system, practice self-care, and take things one day at a time. With perseverance and a growth mindset, you can overcome any challenge nursing school throws your way.

Here are some answers to the commonly asked questions.

Do My Nursing School Grades Matter?

Yes, your nursing school grades are important. They reflect your mastery of the knowledge and skills needed to become a competent nurse. They can impact your ability to get into advanced degree programs or secure certain jobs in the future. However, passing your classes and the NCLEX is the ultimate goal.

How To Pass My Clinical In Nursing School?

To pass clinical rotations, come prepared, actively participate, ask questions, volunteer for hands-on opportunities, and establish good relationships with your instructor and nurses. Demonstrate professionalism, initiative, and a willingness to learn. If you’re struggling, seek feedback and extra help early.

How Many Times Can You Take the NCLEX?

In most states, candidates can take the NCLEX up to 8 times per year, but there is a 45-day waiting period between each attempt. Some states may put additional limits on the total number of attempts allowed. It’s best to thoroughly prepare to give yourself the best chance of passing the first time.

How To Pass My First Semester Of Nursing School?

The first semester is often the most challenging. To succeed, attend all your classes, stay organized, develop good study habits early, and don’t hesitate to ask for help. Participate in a study group, use practice questions to apply your knowledge, and make time for self-care to manage stress.

How To Pass My Last Semester Of Nursing School?

In your final semester, stay focused and don’t succumb to “senioritis”. Create a study plan for your final courses and the NCLEX. Utilize NCLEX prep resources, like practice exams, to familiarize yourself with the test format and content. Stay organized and manage your time well to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

How Many Hours A Day Should I Study For Nursing School?

Devote 2-3 hours of study for each hour spent in class. Using effective study strategies and maintaining consistency is more important than cramming in long hours. Aim to study a little each day rather than in long bursts.

Can I Pass The NCLEX-RN Without Nursing School?

No, graduating from an accredited nursing program is a prerequisite for taking the NCLEX-RN in all states. While you must dedicate additional study time to NCLEX prep, your nursing education provides the foundation of knowledge you need to succeed on the licensing exam.

What if I Pass Nursing School but Fail at NCLEX-RN?

If you do not pass the NCLEX on your first attempt, you can retake it after a 45-day waiting period. Use that time to analyze your weak areas, review content, and complete practice questions. Consider investing in an NCLEX prep course or tutor for extra support. Stay positive, and don’t give up! Many successful nurses don’t pass the NCLEX on their first try.

Let our team of professional writers take care of your essay for you! We provide quality and plagiarism free academic papers written from scratch. Sit back, relax, and leave the writing to us! Meet some of our best research paper writing experts. We obey strict privacy policies to secure every byte of information between you and us.