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I was unable to pass the nursing school's exit exam and obtain an associate degree. Is there any way I can still take the state board exam?

Monday June 24, 2013
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Dear Nancy,

I went to school to pursue an RN degree. According to the school’s syllabus, in order to receive an associate degree you have to pass their exit exam with at least a score of 69.3. I did this on the third try, but the director of nursing decided to change it to 70. The teacher who gave the test was not aware of the change. I am left with no degree and a student loan to pay off. Is there any way I still can take the state boards?


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Michelle,

You need to consult with a nurse attorney or attorney in your state who practices in the area of education law and represents students. It will be important for you to take with you any documents concerning this exit exam, your student handbook, the syllabus, the notice you received concerning the change and the fact that you would not receive your degree, and the facts surrounding the change for the pass rate.

Since possessing an associate degree is a prerequisite for sitting for the boards, you will need to legally challenge the decision to change the pass rate. The attorney will advise you if that is possible and what the next step in that process is.


Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.