Nursing is one of the most difficult programs out there, the studying, tests and stress never ends and as if that is not enough, you still have to take a licensing exam known as the National Council Licensure Examination also known as the NCLEX at the end of it all.
Today, I am going to share with you the best way to pass the NCLEX RN because you know what? No one wants to pay CAD$360 (that is how much it takes to write the exam) and have to write that exam again if they fail. No Way! I sincerely do not wish that on anyone. That is why I put together this article so that hopefully anyone that reads this will pass the NCLEX RN exam.
Tips For Taking The NCLEX RN Exam
1. Start Preparing for the NCLEX exam Early!
This might seem like common sense but way too many people fail the NCLEX exam because they did not start studying or preparing for the exam early enough.
Not to mention, preparing early for the NCLEX exam also means that you have enough time to cover all areas that will be tested and even go over them several times, subsequently allowing time for the material you study to be stored in your long term memory and thus improving your likelihood of passing the exam.
Also, studying early also prevents you from cramming which is hands down the worst way to study for the NCLEX exam, if you are wondering how early you should start studying for the NCLEX, its anywhere between 1 months – 3 months after your graduation from nursing school.
In fact, studies show that students who write their exam during this time had a high chance of passing their exams than students who waited longer. The reason for this is that the content you studied in school remains fresh in your memory until about 5-6 months post graduation.
Similarly, it is important to download the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NSCBN) detailed test plan. The NSCBN is the organization responsible for developing and writing the NCLEX exam. The detailed test plan for the exam can be found on their website so be sure to add that to bookmark it so that you are familiar with what kind of stuff will be tested.
2. Get an NCLEX Prep Tool / Study Material
Most people prefer studying NCLEX review books. If you do not know which books you should be using to study for the NCLEX, Check out my review on The Best NCLEX review book. There are a variety of good NCLEX review books that you can purchase on Amazon. The good thing about Amazon is that you can also buy the used version of study materials as well.
Also, there are Apps, Online test bank and online NCLEX prep tools as well. I strongly recommend you try a combination of the review book and the online review. I personally recommend Saunders for content review and Uworld for online practice review.
Specifically speaking, the online reviews tools are a must have because the NCLEX exam is on a computer and practicing answering questions online is a good experience for writing the NCLEX, you can spice things up by using a timer to time yourself while taking the practice questions online to get a feel of what it might be like.
3. Make a Study Schedule
Most people fail the NCLEX because of this! This is very important because In your study schedule you not only have all the areas that you will cover over the course of time that you spend studying but you will also have a section where you will record your areas of strength and weaknesses.
Now, if you find out an area of weakness, you have to work on that weakness to improve your performance in that area. Set a goal to review at least some questions every day. You can start off with 15 questions a day and gradually increase it to 60 questions per day. And do not forget to reward yourself for any task that you accomplish.
4. Give Yourself a Break!
Do not forget to take breaks in between your study sessions. Take short breaks during your study sessions. During your break do something rewarding like listening to music, eating some healthy snacks.
Do not get distracted by social media or the internet while studying that’s what your breaks are for. To pass the NCLEX exam you need to focus throughout your study sessions.
Switch off your phone if you have to.
5. Be Sure You Review NCLEX Test taking Strategy Books
This is a great Way to find out exactly what to know before writing the exam, ways in which the examiner try to trick you and how to overcome obstacles that may prevent you from being successful in the NCLEX exam.
This also gives you some ideas on how to be prepared for the exam as well as things to avoid because it helps you think critically.
6. Practice, Practice, and Practice some more!
Keep practicing till you get it right because practice makes perfect. Remember to focus on your weak areas and do not cram.
7. Do not stress, relax on the day of your exam
Try to be calm and relax. Do not study on the day of the exam, show up early, use the washroom before the test. Just make sure you are relaxed.
Listen to some calming music, pray whatever helps to reduce anxiety on the day before your exam if that helps. Be sure to sleep well the night before and have a good breakfast the morning of your exam as all this helps your brain to function well.
On the day of the exam be conscious of time there a maximum of 265 questions and you have 6 hours to complete the exam. I know what you are thinking “that sounds like an awfully long time” but realistically it is not if you do the math that means you will be expected to spend about a maximum time of a minute and 35 seconds on each question. So can you see how time is not on your side?
Another thing that is usually overlooked in terms of writing this difficult exam is taking breaks during the exam. It is important to take breaks! So how the break works is that when you are on your break, the exam is paused for the time being. Once you are back you can resume the test and pick up from where you left off earlier. This is crucial because every question counts you don’t want to be in a situation where you feel so tired and then you feel the need to start picking random answers.
Have you ever been in a situation where you are writing a tedious exam or test and then you start becoming tired and then you say to yourself “At this point, I don’t care if I pass or fail anymore I just want this to be over”? We’ve all felt that Way at some point. You do not want this to be you when writing the NCLEX so take breaks!
You Are Almost A Registered Nurse!
Finally, be positive and optimistic you have made it this far.
You made it through nursing school, which is hands down one of the most difficult programs out there. You deserve a pat on the back for your hard work. I sincerely hope you pass the NCLEX. Just study hard and prepare as well as you can be!
If you have any feedback, questions or concerns I would like to hear from you. if you have had any experience writing the NCLEX exam. Kindly share with us some tips that you used in studying for the exam in the comment section below.
Also, if there is any tip that you are currently using to study for the exam or have used in the past that deserves to be on this list please leave your comments.
Thank you for reading!
Pam is the founder and author of InfoWatchNurse and ThinkStethoscopes. Pam is an award-winning leader. In 2017, She pioneered the first ever peer tutoring program for nursing students at York University. She was also a Peer Tutor and Mentor for nursing students. Today, Pam creates posts and articles on health topics to give back to the nursing community. She blogs about nursing, health, nursing skills and other health related topics on her websites. You can connect with Pam on Linkedin and Instagram.