How to prepare for the NCLEX

Are you a nursing student getting ready for the NCLEX exam? Here’s how to prepare for success.

For nursing students in their last year of studies, passing the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) may be one of the more nerve-wracking experiences of their lives.

Much depends on how well they do on this exam, so it isn’t surprising that many nursing students want to get a very high score. However, some students may feel pressured and anxious, so they try to seek ways on how they can perform better during the actual exam.

If you want to do well in the exam, here are some tips to follow so that you can prepare for the NCLEX the right way.

Understand the concepts

The reason nursing studies usually take four to five years to be completed is to allow the necessary information to be gradually absorbed. There’s much to understand before you start imbibing specific facts and working in the health industry.

Generally, it would be best to comprehend the flow of the information and start making logical connections from fact to fact. Once you get the logic, memorization gets easier.

This is especially true if you seek help with a review system, such as the Daily NCLEX Challenge. With a review system, you’ll be emailed one question per day about nursing concepts. This will immensely help you gain confidence and knowledge because if you can absorb one concept per day, passing the exam comes one step closer to reality as you’ll be confident in answering the questions.

Be patient with yourself

One reason some nursing students feel so stressed out is they anticipate that the NCLEX will be difficult for them to pass. Inevitably, there are difficult questions in this nursing exam. But if others were able to pass with very high scores, you, too, can pass. 

However, this means that you need to have a lot of patience and learn to absorb the knowledge over a reasonable length of time. If you try to absorb too much knowledge over a short review period, you might just make yourself anxious. 

Seek nursing role models

It’s important to have at least one role model in the nursing profession to pattern your learning style after. Do you have at least one instructor in nursing school whom you greatly admire? Then, try to remember how that instructor approaches the learning process when they teach.

This will help you see how a real expert in the nursing field absorbs information, then applies it to real interaction between nurses and patients. 

With help from your role model, you’ll be able to discover that you actually understand more about the field of nursing than you previously thought possible. This is because you’ll have someone to ask for any clarifications about difficult concepts that you may encounter. 

Try group study 

The field of nursing shouldn’t be done in isolation. At some point, you’ll be mingling and working with your peers in the nursing field before, during, and after you take the NCLEX.

As each nursing student has their own strong points and weak points, you should attempt to join group study sessions with your co-students. Not only will you be learning from each other, but your friends can help you feel more confident about your skill levels.

Take note that a group study isn’t a guarantee that you’ll pass, but the odds of your passing will go up as you’ll be more inspired to study and learn. 

Take NCLEX mock exams

It‘s always good to challenge yourself at different points in the review period by attempting to answer NCLEX mock exams. The mock exam you take may be composed of questions from previous, real NCLEX versions. If possible, take more than one exam of varying levels of difficulty. 

The point here isn’t to get a very high score each and every time. Rather, you’re attempting to familiarize yourself with the way questions and answers are phrased.

Your instructors in nursing school may have presented the same information in a different way, so taking a mock exam helps you develop a greater capacity for comprehension.

Apply the rules to the facts

The human body is a logical organism. This means that as you follow the flow of your knowledge of the human body, you’ll discover that this organism’s parts are interconnected. What happens to one body part will inevitably affect how the other body parts function. 

If you get this basic rule, then it’ll be easier to assess each patient’s case as it’s presented. You’ll have a holistic understanding of how the human body works.

Test yourself under time pressure

When you’re reasonably confident that you can pass the real NCLEX, it may be time to try the mock exams under time pressure. You can do this on your own or with a friend who’ll time you. 

The point here is not to panic just because there’s a clock ticking. Rather, you’ll learn how to think clearly and logically so that the odds that you get the correct answer go up, too. 

Real nurses often have to quickly come up with solutions to problems of real live patients, which is one of the reasons why the NCLEX is taken under time pressure. When you go back over the exam later on, you may see areas in your reasoning that need additional work. 

If you like, you can take mock exams multiple times until you start to feel that you can ace the real NCLEX.

Prepare for success in your NCLEX

It can be tempting to keep drilling yourself in nursing concepts seven days before the NCLEX is administered. But don’t do anything for those seven days. It’s unlikely that you’ll make huge leaps of progress by that time, even if you put yourself under additional pressure. 

Extra pressure will just make you tense and agitated, which isn’t good if you want to become a practicing nurse eventually.

So, go do some stuff that’ll make you relax, such as listen to your favorite music, watch a movie, eat pizza and ice cream, or maybe just talk to your plants. That way, you’ll be ready to take on anything when the day of the actual NCLEX arrives.