What Is the National Average Pass Rate for the NCLEX- RN exam?

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Should you care about the overall results of the NCLEX RN exam from the previous year? Maybe even check for patterns and look up information that could help with an edge in the exam? Yes, you absolutely should, and I will explain why: 

The national average pass rates vary based on the demography. US-educated candidates appearing for the first time for the exam have a pass rate of 80 percent. Repeat candidates are around 40 percent. And internationally educated attendees fare lower at 43 percent.  

In this article, I will help you understand the result statistics behind the NCLEX RN exam and talk about an efficient method to ace the exam. 

How Many Candidates Pass the NCLEX RN Exam?

Thankfully for us, we do have accurate data to answer this question. As you might already know, the NCLEX RN exam happens all year round. And based on the statistics for 2022, the total pass rate for first-time attendees and candidates educated in US institutions is around 80 percent.

Here is the official report.

These stats differ considerably when you consider all the candidates that attend the NCLEX RN, for which the pass rate stands at 63 percent. The reason for the dip in these pass rates is that this metric takes into consideration all the exam repeats and internationally educated attendees.

Based on just stats, candidates educated in US institutions have higher pass rates compared to candidates who studied outside the US, which stands at nearly 43 percent. And here are some interesting things I found in the report.

Bachelor’s degree attendees have the highest pass rates  

It does make sense once you look at the syllabus of the NCLEX RN exam. In general, bachelor’s programs are much more rigorous and take two to three years to finish. And it’s no surprise these candidates are doing well on the NCLEX RN exam.

Their pass rates are the highest of all the candidates, which is around 83 percent. They also make up the largest demographic that attends the NCLEX RN exam. 

Diploma or associate degree candidates are a close second

In many states, associate degree programs are comparable to diplomas; and are sometimes interchangeable terms. 

Hence these candidates share the same pass rates is no coincidence, which stands at around 78 percent. Associate or diploma programs can take between 12 months to two years to complete based on the state and type of program. 

These candidates are the second largest demographic to attend the NCLEX RN exam. 

Repeat candidates — what’s the deal?

Here comes the part of the report that I found hardest to digest: Candidates who repeat the NCLEX RN exam have the lowest pass rates. If educated in the US, the pass rate is around 43 percent, and outside the US, the pass rate is just 27 percent.  

If you want to know why the NCLEX RN exam can be tough, please check this article. From the official report, if you want to generalize for simplicity’s sake, being educated in the US raises your chances of success when taking the NCLEX RN exam. 

And candidates reappearing for the NCLEX RN exam have a hard time passing the exam, which is doubly true if you’re educated outside the US.

What’s the Overall Picture of NCLEX RN Results for 2022?

If you want to consider all the attendees of the exams for the year 2022, the number of candidates appearing for the exam stood around 321,000, and the overall pass rate is around 63 percent.

So for every ten candidates, four will have to reappear again for the exam. These are the hard statistics that every NCLEX RN attendee is looking at. There are also differences in results based on which demography you fall under, but those stats are the final condensed version.

How Do the 2022 Results Compare to the Previous Years?   

The same patterns repeat. Bachelor’s candidates are at the top, and the rest of it perfectly fits in with the overall stats for 2022. 

The major difference I could find was that there was a significant increase in the number of candidates appearing for the exam in the year 2022. And this jump in numbers is from internationally educated attendees. 

It’s also interesting to know there is a mild dip in the overall pass rates starting from 2020 when the pass rate for US-educated candidates was around 86 percent.   

Final Thoughts 

Although 80 percent pass is a good figure if you’re educated in the US and are preparing for the exam. It is advised to stay on top and work hard as the NCLEX RN exam can be tricky. 

I say this because of the way the NCLEX board gauges your performance and makes every question from the exam match your skill set. In case you’re preparing for the NCLEX exam, why not try our free simulated practice test to see your performance? I guarantee it’s fun! 

I’m also inviting you to check our comprehensive study guide for the NCLEX RN, which has a pass rate of 97 percent and uses realistic simulated exams for training and grading.