What are the Chances of Passing Nursing School?

Many aspiring nurses wonder about their chances of successfully completing their nursing education and passing the NCLEX exam. Becoming a registered nurse through a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is difficult. According to statistics, one out of every five students enrolled in these programs will not complete their studies, and only half of those who begin a BSN program will ultimately earn their degree. 
To improve these outcomes, the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission has established a target of retaining 80% of nursing students throughout their educational journey. Despite the rigorous nature of nursing education, there is room for improvement in supporting and guiding students toward successful graduation.
What Does Passing Nursing School Exactly Mean?
Passing nursing school involves meeting your institution’s academic requirements and completing all coursework and clinical rotations. This includes maintaining a minimum GPA, demonstrating proficiency in theoretical and practical nursing skills, and meeting the standards of professional conduct. Once you’ve graduated from an accredited nursing program, you’ll be eligible to take the NCLEX exam, the final step in obtaining your nursing license.
Is Nursing School Hard To Pass?
Nursing school is known for being challenging, as it covers a wide range of complex topics and requires significant time and effort. However, with approximately 4 million nurses in the United States, passing nursing school is not impossible. The right mindset, study habits, and support system make success possible. The difficulty level can vary depending on the specific program, the student’s background, and their ability to adapt to the rigors of nursing education.
What percentage of first-time NCLEX test-takers pass?
According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the pass rate for first-time, U.S. educated test-takers of the NCLEX-RN exam 2024 is 94.15%. This indicates that most nursing graduates are well-prepared to pass the licensure exam on their first attempt.
6 Common Reasons Why Students Fail To Pass Nursing School
Nursing school requires dedication, hard work, and perseverance. Unfortunately, not all students who begin nursing school will graduate. Here are six common reasons why students may fail to pass nursing school.

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Nursing is not their passion: Some students may have chosen nursing for the wrong reasons, such as pressure from family or the perception of job security, rather than a genuine passion for the field.
Poor time management: Nursing school requires a significant time commitment, and students who struggle to balance their studies with other responsibilities may fall behind.
Lack of studying: Nursing courses cover a vast amount of information, and students who don’t dedicate sufficient time to studying may struggle to keep up.
Stress and Lack of Support: The demands of nursing school can be overwhelming, and students who lack a strong support system or effective stress management techniques may find it challenging to cope.
Not asking for help early on: Some students may hesitate to seek help when they first encounter difficulties, leading to falling further behind.
Fall behind in coursework: Missing classes, failing to complete assignments, or not keeping up with the course material can quickly become a more significant problem.

Expert Tips to Successfully Pass Nursing School 
While nursing school presents numerous challenges, there are several strategies students can employ to increase their chances of success. Let’s explore expert tips to help you successfully pass nursing school.
Time Management
Effective time management is crucial for nursing students. Create a schedule that allows for dedicated study time, attending classes, completing assignments, and engaging in self-care activities. Use tools like calendars, planners, or time-tracking apps to help you stay organized and on task.
Get Organized
In addition to managing your time, it’s essential to keep your course materials and study space organized. Maintain a tidy workspace, keep track of important documents, and use a filing system for your notes and handouts. Being organized will help you feel more in control and reduce stress.
Use Mnemonics
Nursing school involves memorizing a large amount of information, from medical terminology to drug names and dosages. Mnemonics are memory aids that can help you recall complex information more easily. Create your own mnemonics or look for existing ones to help you retain key concepts.
Complete Practice Questions
Regularly working on practice questions and sample tests is an excellent way to reinforce your knowledge and prepare for exams. Many nursing textbooks include practice questions at the end of each chapter, and there are numerous online resources offering NCLEX-style questions. Incorporating practice questions into your study routine will help you identify areas for improvement and build test-taking confidence.
Participate in a Study Group
Collaborating with peers can be a valuable way to enhance your understanding of difficult concepts and share study strategies. Join or form a study group with classmates who have similar goals and work ethic. Together, you can review course materials, discuss challenging topics, and provide support and encouragement to one another.
Use Outside Learning Resources
In addition to your required textbooks and course materials, there are many supplementary resources available to help you succeed in nursing school. Consider using online educational platforms, such as Kahn Academy or, to access additional learning materials and tutorials. YouTube can also be a great source of educational videos on nursing topics.
Good Sleep Habits
Getting enough quality sleep is essential for both physical and mental well-being. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and establish a consistent sleep schedule. Avoid studying late into the night, as this can lead to sleep deprivation and decreased cognitive function. Instead, prioritize sleep and make the most of your waking hours by studying efficiently.
Ask Questions
Don’t hesitate to ask questions when you need clarification or additional help. Your instructors are there to support your learning, so take advantage of their office hours or email them with your questions. Asking questions demonstrates your engagement and desire to learn, and it can help you avoid misunderstandings that could lead to poor performance.
Do Not Cram for Exams
Cramming for exams is a common but ineffective study strategy. Attempting to memorize large amounts of information in a short period can lead to increased stress and poor retention. Instead, study consistently throughout the semester, reviewing course materials regularly and focusing on understanding key concepts rather than just memorizing facts.
Maximize clinical experiences
Clinical rotations provide invaluable hands-on experience and the opportunity to apply your nursing knowledge in real-world settings. Approach your clinical experiences with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. Ask questions, volunteer for tasks, and seek feedback from your instructors and preceptors. The more engaged you are in your clinical rotations, the more you will learn and grow as a future nurse.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting realistic goals can help you stay motivated and track your progress throughout nursing school. Break down larger goals, such as passing a challenging course, into smaller, achievable milestones. Celebrate your successes along the way and use any setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning.
Have a Good Support System
A strong support system is essential for managing the stress and demands of nursing school. Surround yourself with supportive family, friends, and classmates who understand your goals and can offer encouragement when you need it. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help or advice when you’re struggling, and be sure to take breaks and engage in self-care activities to maintain your mental and emotional well-being.
Review Your Course Exams
After each exam, take the time to review your results and identify areas where you struggled. Look for patterns in your mistakes and use this information to adjust your study strategies. If you have questions about specific exam questions or topics, reach out to your instructor for clarification. Reviewing your exams can help you learn from your mistakes and improve your performance on future tests.
How Many Hours A Day Should I Study For Nursing School?
The amount of study time required varies by individual, but a general guideline is to dedicate 2-3 hours of study time for each hour spent in class. This equates to roughly 20-30 hours of studying per week for a full-time nursing student.
How To Pass My First Semester Of Nursing School?
To pass your first semester, focus on developing strong study habits, attending all classes and labs, and seeking help early on if you encounter difficulties. Building a solid foundation in the first semester will set you up for success in the rest of your nursing education.
How To Pass My Last Semester Of Nursing School?
In your final semester, prioritize your coursework and NCLEX preparation. Utilize practice exams, review your notes thoroughly, and address any areas of weakness. Stay focused and motivated, knowing that you’re in the home stretch of your nursing education.
How To Pass My Clinical In Nursing School?
To excel in your clinical rotations, arrive prepared, actively participate, and demonstrate a willingness to learn. Communicate effectively with your patients, instructors, and healthcare team members, and take advantage of opportunities to practice your skills.
Can I Pass The NCLEX-RN Without Nursing School?
No, you cannot take the NCLEX-RN exam without completing an accredited nursing program. Nursing school provides the necessary education and clinical experience to prepare you for the licensure exam and your future career as a registered nurse.
What If I Pass Nursing School But Fail NCLEX-RN?
If you fail the NCLEX-RN, don’t be discouraged. You can retake the exam after a specified waiting period, which varies by state. Use this time to review your weak areas, practice with NCLEX-style questions, and consider taking a prep course or working with a tutor.
Do My Nursing School Grades Really Matter?
While passing the NCLEX is the ultimate goal, your nursing school grades do matter. Many employers consider GPA when evaluating job candidates, and a strong academic record can open up opportunities for advanced practice roles or graduate school in the future.
How Many Times Can You Take the NCLEX?
The number of attempts allowed varies by state, but most states permit candidates to take the NCLEX up to 8 times within a year. However, it’s essential to thoroughly prepare for each attempt and address any knowledge gaps to increase your chances of success.

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