How to Prepare For Nclex RN

Registered Nurses are required to be licensed in all states of the US. To earn this licensure, nursing school graduates need to pass the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurse). This is a standardized, computer-based test offered in the US and Canada. Passing this test demonstrates to licensing boards and potential employers that a nursing candidate has developed a thorough understanding of the basics of this field, including patient care, medical procedures, medical ethics and so on. After clearing this exam, registered nurses can find work in various healthcare facilities, including nursing homes, home health services, clinics and physicians’ offices.

Now comes the question of how to prepare for the NCLEX-RN? Even though the test is a challenging one, it can be passed with flying colors if you do the right preparation. The following guide provides helpful ideas on how to pass the NCLEX-RN.

Know the Basics

It is important for candidates to know beforehand what to expect in the test. The NCLEX-RN is a comprehensive test, with a minimum of 75 questions and a maximum of 265 questions. 15 of these questions are pre-test and are not counted towards the candidate’s final score.

The test will be 6 hours long and will include an introduction and tutorial section on how to take the test. This time also includes scheduled breaks, which are optional. The test will stop automatically when the test taker has either passed or failed the exam.

Have a Study Plan

This is one of the most integral parts of the test preparation. Studying without a plan can be a complete waste of time. It is important to keep track of your progress throughout the preparation process. Here is an example of the study plan format you can follow:

Study Days. Break Day. Practice Days: You can create a schedule where you determine which days of the week you will study, when will you take a break and how many days you will spend on practice every week. Make sure you plan out your goals before each session. For instance, how many questions do you plan on doing in a particular practice session or how many topics will you cover.

Form a Study Group

Forming a study group can provide you with the right kind of support and mindset you need to ace the NCLEX-RN. For instance, you might be strong in one topic, and weak in another. With a study group in place, you can get help on the areas where you are weak and help others where they are lacking. Each person in a group may have different ways of remembering concepts or approaching questions.

Use Effective Learning Resources

There are countless study resources out there for aspiring nurses. Websites, online tutors, in-person study courses, textbooks and blogs etc are all available for students to use. Make sure you understand the kind of resources that work best for you and invest in them.

Practice. Practice. Practice

The importance of practicing cannot be stressed enough, when it comes to the NCLEX-RN. The test is not a memory-based one. It has more to do with applying concepts to real-life situations and finding the best solution. More often than not, there will be more than one correct answer to a question. So you need to ensure you are very clear on your concepts.

When attempting practice tests, always review your answers at the end to see where and why you went wrong. Use study guides that explain answers in detail so you can understand the conceptual basis of questions asked.

Give Yourself Breaks

Breaks are a necessary component to enhance performance. If you do not take breaks, the stress and anxiety will begin to take a toll on you. This will most certainly affect your ability to concentrate and process knowledge. Keep your breaks healthy and fruitful to recharge yourself and reduce mental blocking.

Stick to a Routine

Having a routine can benefit you in numerous ways. It will help you stay on track with your preparation, along with keeping you healthy and fit for the exam. Make sure you take your designated breaks, spend some time exercising and spend a few hours with your friends or family as well. Most people find it easier to concentrate when all other routine tasks are going as planned. For instance, if you take care of paying the bills and preparing food on time, you won’t have to worry about it while you are studying.

Work on Your Test-Taking Skills

Conquering the NCLEX-RN has a lot to do with knowing the wording of the test well. Use test-taking strategies to cancel out the obvious wrong answers. Avoid extreme answers like ‘All of the Above’ or ‘None of the Above.’ Keep in mind the following recurrent themes in NCLEX-RN questions:

Be Prepared for the Exam Day

The entire months-long preparation process leads to the test day. Make sure you are mentally and physically prepared for this day. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep before the exam and make sure you have a healthy and wholesome breakfast on the day. You may want to bring extra layers of clothes with you in case the exam room gets too cold. Besides that, make sure you set up a reliable schedule and try to arrive early to the test center. Put all your required documents in a place where you certainly won’t forget them in the morning.

Believe in Yourself

Believing in yourself can take you farther than you think. If you have come this far, there is nothing stopping you from acing the test. Keep in mind that the passing scores are quite high, at 91%. So go in with loads of confidence and self-faith. You got this

  • Calling the doctor right away is never the best first option
  • Use deductive reasoning, even if you have no idea about the concept
  • If you cannot figure out the answer in any way, try to rely on your ‘nurse intuition’

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