NCLEX Study Plan: The best tips for passing the NCLEX in 75 Questions

July 19, 2019

This post is sponsored by BoardVitals The opinions and text are all mine.

Graduating from nursing school is supposed to be exciting, but for me it was terrifying. No longer having to deal with class assignments and tests or clinicals meant that I truly had to start preparing for the NCLEX. 

For those who are unfamiliar, the national council licensure examination for registered nurses (NCLEX) is a computer adaptive test which tests the candidate's competency to provide safe nursing care as an entry level nurse. The test itself is a brutal one. Not only is their tremendous pressure surrounding the test for a job, but there also is now the added stress among classmates in regards to who takes the least amount of questions.

But what you really must remember as you are preparing for your NCLEX is that nursing school is actually preparing you to take the NCLEX rather than becoming an actual nurse. Learning how to be a nurse comes when you are working as an RN. And just like getting an A or B in the class does not matter after the fact, whether you take all 265 questions or 75 questions on the NCLEX does not determine the nurse you will become.

The NCLEX feels so high-stakes for a multitude of reasons and I understand because I was once there too, but it is not the end of the world if you have to retest. Some amazing nurse, like Nurse Mo, had to take the NCLEX twice. Give yourself a break if this happens to you and just do better next time. However, I am hoping that all of you pass the first time around and to help you, here are some key tips when studying for the NCLEX.

ONE// Know the test
First things first, you must adjust your studying for the test you are about to take. The NCLEX can be anywhere from 75-265 questions and up to a max of 6 hours. You should be preparing yourself to take the full test for the full amount of hours. Additionally, do not waste your time studying material that you do not need to know. Be sure to check out the NCLEX blueprint and make a study plan based on that. Here is for 2019.

TWO// Examine your mindset
Give yourself a bit of time away from studying after graduation so that you can fully unwind and prepare your mind. I suggest no more than two weeks away from the books to reset your mind that the NCLEX is not so scary. Go easy on yourself and practice positive self-talk. We are all our own worst enemies and being a relaxed but confident nurse to be will serve you well on exam day.

THREE// Get a question bank
The best way to prepare for the NCLEX is actually practicing questions. The NCLEX tests at the application level and/or higher. Questions also will appear in multiple formats: select the best choice, select all that apply, hot spot, etc. To better prepare yourself, make sure that you are practicing appropriate questions as indicated by certain phrases like "who would you see first", "indicates understanding", and "indicates further teaching".

BoardVitals has an excellent NCLEX-PN or RN question bank with more than 3,300 NCLEX style questions. You can select questions from certain subjects or take simulation tests that are designed to mimic what test day will be like. The questions also come with detailed rationales to help you understand concepts that you might need further knowledge on. Be sure to check them out here.

FOUR// Set a study schedule
When studying for the NCLEX, you really need to commit! Treat it as a full-time job. My suggestion is to print off a standard calendar of the month (or two) you plan to study in. On that blank calendar schedule in the times/days that you will study for. Include in there days for rest, practice questions, and practice exams. Make sure to also include what day you signed up for to actually test. Within your study schedule, make sure to set some goals. Maybe it is to slowly add 25 questions a day until you reach 265. Maybe it is to study a certain topic that you struggle with.

You can actually read about my NCLEX study plan in this old post here.

FIVE// Active vs. Passive Studying
Lastly, you want to make sure that when you are studying it actually counts! A common mistake individuals make are that they are just passively studying. You really want to make sure that every moment you are studying counts towards you passing the NCLEX in 75 questions. An example of passive studying is just copying your notes as-is. A more active way to study is to take what you have in your notes but rewrite them into concepts maps and connect the dots. Drawing connections between concepts will help you to recall and learn better. You could also teach someone what you are learning, which helps a ton!

I hope these simple tips help you achieve your goal of passing the NCLEX in 75 questions. Wishing you all the best on your NCLEX journeys!

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