How to Recover and Get Your Confidence Back After Failing the NCLEX

How to Recover and Get Your Confidence Back After Failing the NCLEX

Thousands of NCLEX-RN test takers have their nursing careers put “on hold” because they didn’t pass. Failing the test and delaying your career as a registered nurse is expensive, since you miss out on a yearly salary of up to $70.00 in some states. The longer you postpone the re-take, the more it will cost you in lost income. So how do you recover and get your confidence back after failing the NCLEX?

Well, at first you are likely to feel devastated—it’s okay. Treat yourself nicely and take care of yourself, perhaps a bit of pampering at a spa, go see a good movie, or do something else that usually puts you in a better mood. It may take a day or so for it all to sink in. Then you need to find a strategy to pick yourself up, get your confidence back, and try again.

1. Confront Your Feelings

Ok, so your months and months of preparation didn’t pay off the way you wanted it to. You may feel angry, sad, or depressed, and acknowledging those feelings will actually help you move on. Mourning your lost opportunity is a step toward letting go, while denying the reality or avoiding thinking about it makes it worse. It keeps you stuck when you could be facing the situation, which you must do, in order to solve it.

Take your time to connect with your feelings, perhaps write them down, and do this in a compassionate way. Studies have shown that when subjects wrote down their feelings about breakups, they recovered more quickly, and when employees confronted their feelings about job loss, they felt more in control over their situation and had a higher rate of re-employment. This is your first step towards getting your confidence back.

2. Failing Doesn’t Make You a Failure

Understanding that failing doesn’t make you a failure is a key tool in getting your confidence back. Most successful people know that failure happens to the best of us. It’s not that you are inherently prone to failure, you just happened to fail. If you haven’t failed at something, it means you’ve never tried anything. It’s very important to fully embrace the meaning of that just because you failed doesn’t mean that you are a failure.

Successful people visualize their desired situation (passing the test) and prepare themselves mentally by asserting to themselves that they will next time. Positive assertions influence their subconscious mind and transform their behavior, as well as reshapes their attitudes and reactions. This will help you the second time around.

3. Forgive Yourself

Research suggests that the ability to forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes is the key driver of success. Practice self compassion! Successful people don’t beat themselves up after making mistakes, since being too harsh on yourself does no good—it only dents your confidence further.

Remember, it’s just as bad to be mean to yourself as it is to be mean to others. The moment you forgive yourself is when you give yourself permission to rise again and be all that you can be. This is the state of mind for which you need to strive.

4. Body Language

If you see a confident person standing next to someone with low self-esteem, their body language is likely to give away who’s who. The confident person is likely to stand straight in an ‘open’ body posture. Interestingly, it’s not only the confidence that impacts the person’s body position, but it may work the other way around as well. Adapting a body position of confidence also impacts self-confidence. We can change not only how we feel about ourselves, but also how others perceive us, by changing our body language.

Engage in power poses, and you’ll subsequently start thinking and feeling more confident. Also, it’s said that self-confidence once had, never fully disappears. The self-confidence that spurred you toward winning on your high school sports or academic team may take some personal digging to find again, but it’s still there under the surface. All you need are the right tools to dig.

5. Find Your Grit

Research confirms that persistence and determination are as important for success as intelligence. Keep showing up, and you’ll gain respect from others and feel better about yourself! Ruminating about your problems, on the other hand, makes things worse and takes away your motivation for constructive action. Be dedicated and persistent in following your goal. Once you’ve confronted your feelings, forgiven yourself and found your confidence again, you need to get back on track to pursue your goal.

6. Analyze Your Failure

Figuring out where you went wrong in the test, can help you avoid similar mistakes next time. Work especially on the areas where you performed the weakest in the test. Make a proper study plan and stick to it. And most of all, remember that a dream delayed does not mean a dream denied. Prepare yourself to pass the test the second time around!

Crush the NCLEX is an online resource dedicated to helping professionals pass the NCLEX Exam on their first try. They provide reviews of nclex review courses and provide unmatched study strategies to fast track each student’s success. Learn more at

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