Preparing for the NCLEX Exam

Passing the NCLEX exam is a major hurdle that you will have to pass before you can become a practicing registered nurse.  Like any other part of your career, preparation is the most important part of the process.  You already know that you have to study, but the following are eight tips that can help make taking the test a little easier- and a lot less stressful!

  • Put together a study plan.  You should start studying for the exam a few months ahead of time, so creating a study plan for that period is the best way to make sure you cover all the material you will need to know.  Organize your notes to make them easy to understand.  One idea is to purchase a review book to study with, and then organize your notes in the same order.
  • There are many tools available to help you study for the NCLEX, and not using them will make taking the test far more difficult.  Look at different review books that your school recommends, and then use them to help break up material so it is easier to study.  There are also numerous online tools that can help you study.
  • Start or join a study group.  Going to a study group can force you to set aside time to study.  Learning from your peers is also a way to help you remember material, and gives you someone else to bounce ideas off of if you are having trouble understanding certain material.  Create mock tests, have question and answer time, and plan on doing something together to celebrate when you all pass.
  • Stop stressing out.  It is natural to worry about the test, and even the best student’s experience test anxiety.  You will need to reduce your stress to do your best, so start by telling yourself that you will do well.  Remember other tests completed during your nursing school career that you did well on, even when you were nervous.  And tell yourself that nothing is going to hold you back now!
  • Keep yourself healthy.  An overly aggressive study schedule, high stress levels, and busy lifestyles can lead to bad habits.  To keep yourself in fighting shape for your test, take care of yourself by exercising, eating right, and sleeping regularly.
  • Schedule a time to take the test sooner, instead of later.  You will be able to schedule a time for your test as much as a month before the test date.  Knowing when your test is and being sure that you have a seat will help lower your stress.  You will also have a better chance of scheduling an appointment at a good time of day for you, which will also lower your stress level.
  • Eat right for the day of the test.  Having a healthy breakfast will help you do better on your exam.  Enjoy your food, and don’t study while you eat.  You won’t retain anything you learn at this point, so focus on being relaxed and calm.
  • Get everything ready the night before.  Scrambling to get things ready the day of the exam is not only stressful; it can overwhelm your mind.  Get a bag ready with your identification, test taking tools like pencils and pens, and even a lucky charm or two.

Preparing for your NCLEX the right way will help ensure you are successful on the exam.  Be confident in all you have learned- after all, nursing school was the hard part, now you are ready to cross the finish line!

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