Are you a nursing student preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination, also known as NCLEX? You have already taken a fair share of exams as a college student. Still, the NCLEX is unlike any other you have taken before. It is the ultimate challenge to becoming a licensed nurse.
Studying for the NCLEX can be daunting, but you should not worry. In this article, we will provide some tips and tricks that will assist you in prepping for this critical examination. From effective study strategies to valuable resources, we have got you covered. Let us dive in and get you on the path to success!
How Hard Is It to Pass the NCLEX?
The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is a challenging exam designed to assess a nurse’s competency to provide safe and effective patient care. The difficulty of the exam will range from one person to another. It depends on various factors, some include:
- Nursing Education
- Prior experience
- Type of questions presented
- Level of critical thinking and analysis required
However, passing the NCLEX requires a solid understanding of various nursing concepts and the ability to apply them to real situations. The exam is computerized and adaptive. This means the questions will become less or more complex depending on whether you answer correctly.
The NCLEX exam is a term used to refer to the general examination. However, there are two separate exams. The NCLEX-RN is for aspiring registered nurses, and the NCLEX-PN is for practical nurses. However, the NCLEX often refers to the NCLEX-RN.
Passing the NCLEX requires a solid understanding, as mentioned earlier. The examination structure for RN candidates includes a minimum of 85 questions and a maximum of 150. You will have 5 hours to complete all the allocated questions.
To fully understand how to pass NCLEX, let us reflect upon the passing rates. While it might sound crazy, the 2022 pass rates were not high. In fact, 63.39% of NCLEX-RN candidates passed the examination only. However, more people passed the NCLEX-PN, as the passing rate was 67.46%. These statistics are provided by the NCLEX report.
Remember, the NCLEX pass rate will vary by state and year. Hence, while the above numbers might be a little low, it is essential to note that proper preparation is what you need to successfully get through the exam.
Type of Questions and Format of NCLEX
The NCLEX is a standardized test utilizing Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT). This sophisticated testing method presents test-takers with a series of questions based on their previous responses. You will receive a more difficult question if you answer a question correctly.
As the test is no standard test, it is not about memorizing facts and figures. The exam evaluates your ability to think critically and solve problems. These are essential aspects of each nurse to help in the workforce when caring for patients. To achieve this goal, the NCLEX uses a variety of questions and formats. Find out more below:
- Multiple-choice questions present a stem or questions followed by several answer choices. These are not straightforward, and sometimes the answer options might all seem correct, making it crucial to identify the best answer.
- Select-all-that-apply questions: this requires you to choose all the answers that apply to the presented scenario. These questions can be tricky since selecting even one wrong option will mark the whole question as incorrect.
- Alternate-format questions: these are designed to test your critical thinking skills. These questions require you to fill in the blank, drag and drop answers into the correct order, or identify the right image or chart.
Overall, the NCLEX format and question types will target specific aspects you must have learned throughout your education. So, how to study for the NCLEX? You can do so by preparing yourself by practicing the questions above.
5 Study Tips to Pass the NCLEX
Preparing for the NCLEX can be daunting. However, you can increase your chances with the right study strategies and techniques! Here are the best study tips for NCLEX to help you succeed during your nursing journey!
Create a study schedule tailored to NCLEX
Developing a study schedule can help you organize your time and ensure that you cover all the critical content areas. You can check what subjects are covered through the Nurse Journal Organization. This also allows you to review all the topics, take practice tests on time, and identify strengths and weaknesses.
While you might believe it is unconventional, studying and listening to music helps increase focus and reduce anxiety. It also helps improve cognitive function. Choose music that is calming, and stay away from distracting lyrics.
Join study groups
Joining a study group can allow you to find support and help from more qualified people. It also holds you accountable. It will enable you to find an opportunity to discuss challenging topics with other nursing students and gain a novel perspective.
When you join study groups and meet like-minded people studying for the NCLEX, try to help them. Teaching others allows you to reinforce your knowledge and increases your retention of information. You can also offer to tutor other nursing students or explain complex concepts to friends and family.
Understand test-taking strategies
The NCLEX, as discussed earlier, is designed to test your critical thinking and decision-making skills. Hence, understand the test-taking strategies required. Learn how to analyze questions, eliminate incorrect answers, and identify the best answer option. Want to learn how to start studying for NCLEX? It all begins with learning testing strategies.
NCLEX Study Plan Three Months Before the Exam
You made it this far, and now it is time to discuss the three-month study plan for NCLEX-RN. If you are three months away from your exam, it is time to buckle down and start prepping for the big exam! But do not worry. You can conquer the NCLEX and become a licensed nurse with the right study plan!
Below is a fun and engaging three-month study plan to help you prepare!
Month 1: Review and Assess
Review all the essential nursing concepts and skills you have learned throughout the school. A good study guide for NCLEX is the Elsevier Fundamental Concepts and Skills for Nursing. Also, you should use review books, videos, and practice questions to assess your knowledge and identify areas of weakness. Focus on understanding any of the underlying principles of nursing rather than memorizing the facts and figures.
Month 2: Practice, Practice, Practice
Now that you have identified the weaknesses above, it is time to start practicing. Take practice tests and quizzes regularly to get comfortable with the exam format and develop your test-taking skills. You can check the NPE exam provided by the NCLEX. Use online resources like the NCLEX Mastery App or the UWorld Nursing to get access to practice questions and detailed explanations.
Month 3: Refine and Refresh
In the final month, focus on refining your knowledge and refreshing your memory. Use flashcards, study guides, and review books to reinforce key concepts and prepare for the exam. Also, practice time management and pacing yourself. This allows you to complete the exam within the allotted time frame.
Bonus tip: Make It Fun!
Studying for the NCLEX does not have to be a chore. Use creative study techniques like mnemonic devices and games to make it fun and engaging. Host study groups and reward yourself when you complete a successful study session.
NCLEX Study Plan One Month Before the Exam
It is crunch time! You only have one month to study, so what do you do? Do not fret because we have a unique study plan for your one month of learning! Here is the best NCLEX study plan for one month.
Week 1: Take a Practice Exam
Start by taking a full-length practice exam to assess your current knowledge. This will help you identify the areas that need improvement. Use this week to review content areas where you struggled on the practice test.
You can also turn the practice section into a game! Challenge yourself to beat your previous score or compete with friends to see who can answer the most questions correctly!
Week 2: Study with a Buddy
Studying with a friend or classmate can be an excellent way to remain motivated and accountable. Use this week to review key concepts and practice questions together. You can also create a friendly competition to see who can answer the most questions correctly. Turn it into a fun activity by hosting a study party and providing snacks and drinks.
Week 3: Simulate Exam Conditions
With only two weeks, it is time to start simulating exam conditions. Take practice exams using a timer and try to answer as many questions as possible without taking a break. This will help you build your endurance and time management skills. You can also create a study playlist of your favorite songs while taking practice exams.
Week 4: Final Review and Relaxation
In this final week, focus on reviewing important facts and notations. Make sure you take breaks, get enough sleep, and care for your mental health. Use relaxation techniques, including yoga, meditation, or breathing, to reduce stress.
NCLEX Study Plan One Week Before the Exam
If you only have one week left for the exam, you need better NCLEX exam tips. These tips will also help you learn how to pass NCLEX after failing. Below is a brief explanation is how to split your week and prioritize your studying!
- Day 1: Start by taking a practice exam. Use this day to review content areas you struggled with in this examination. Use flashcards and quiz apps to get you through.
- Day 2: Practice time management on day 2. Use this day to take practice exams using a timer and attempt to finish as many questions correctly in a short time.
- Day 3: Review key concepts of nursing. Use study guides, review books, and identify weak areas. Keep your memory refreshed with ideas and flashcards.
- Day 4: Take a break. While a few days are left, taking a day off might be essential. Do something fun and try to get your mind off the exam.
- Day 5: Simulate exam conditions. With only two days to go, simulate the actual conditions. Take an exam with a timer, answer questions like you would in the exam, and manage your skills and endurance.
- Day 6: Do a final review and relax. Get sleep, focus on your weak areas, and work on aspects that reduce your stress.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Study for the NCLEX?
Studying for the NCLEX may be a challenging yet rewarding process. You may confidently approach the test and achieve NCLEX success by following a well-rounded study strategy and employing effective tactics. Remember to use different resources, learn test-taking skills, and build a support network.
Don’t forget to add interesting and exciting study approaches to make your preparation more productive and enjoyable. You can pass the NCLEX and start your career as a registered nurse with commitment and hard work. Best wishes!