Study tips for the NCLEX

CategoriesTravel Nursing

After countless hours of studying and attending classes, only one test stands between nursing students and becoming a registered nurse: the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX. The NCLEX provides a range of 75 to 265 questions with a time allowance of 6 hours. 

If you didn’t know, the NCLEX uses a computerized adaptive testing format or commonly referred to as CAT, which means no two tests are the same. The CAT format will produce a new question throughout the test based on your performance from previous questions. 

Nursing students can pass this exam with the appropriate study guide and test-taking strategies. But, don’t worry, we crafted five essential study tips to help you prepare for the exam with ease and assurance. 

Create a Study Schedule 

Even if you are taking the test right after your nursing program, it is still best to thoroughly prepare and make sure you set aside time to study and review. Test registration is available six weeks before your program is completed and costs $300. That is why it is best to slow down and study to guarantee you’re ready to pass the NCLEX the first time you take it. 

Having an idea of the exam structure will help you know what you need to study for. The test is divided into four categories and six subcategories. You can find them here

Before you begin studying, we recommend finding a comfortable place to study, using a planner to map out a study schedule, taking advantage of your nursing friends, and blocking out a few hours a day to absorb the information. Cultivate a daily routine to allocate a precise amount of time each day on the topics you want to cover. If you need some tips, there are nursing forums at your disposal that can help you prepare for your exam and come up with a schedule. There are premade study guides and flashcards that provide a comprehensive breakdown of each topic. 

Use NCLEX study resources

Most students prepare for the exam by purchasing exam books and test preps. There are practice questions that will help you improve your test taking skills in NCLEX review books, or you can also take online classes. Here are a few recommended study books/ aids:  

‘Select all that apply’ questions 

These questions often invoke fear and anxiety. However, you should treat these questions as true or false. Read the question and cover up all the answers with your hands. Uncover the first answer and reread the question and first answer. Is the answer true being asked or is it false? Then, eliminate any incorrect answers this way. 

Rest before Exam Day  

The day before the exam is a rest day. Experts recommend giving yourself several hours to rest before any huge test. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, eat a healthy meal, aim to sleep around 7 to 8 hours, and make sure you have everything you need packed before the exam. 

It’s important to keep in mind that the NCLEX was designed to test your knowledge of the material that you have already been taught. Take a deep breath and remember that you have worked hard for this day. 

The Day of the Exam

The day of the exam is finally here! You prepped all you could, and now you are ready to take the test. Keep it like any typical day. If you typically eat breakfast, then eat. Plan to arrive 30 minutes before your exam and dress in layers so you feel comfortable. The NCSBN provided a few instructions to think about before exam day. 

And remember to trust your nurse’s intuition. Use the knowledge, logic, and gut to make an educated decision. We hope that you found this article helpful. If you did, pass it on to your nursing friends who could benefit from these test day tips, too!

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