When it comes to preparing for and taking your NCLEX® exam, it is helpful to take advantage of every opportunity to increase your chance for success. That’s why tips from others can be so beneficial.
Whether it’s advice on when to start preparing, how to build a study plan, or what to expect on test day — any input from those who have successfully traversed the NCLEX landscape can help you reach your goal and become a practicing nurse.
Harper Lee said: “Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.” As you prepare to take the NCLEX, it can be helpful to reach out to nurses who have successfully completed the exam.
Here are some test taking tips and thoughts from students who have passed their NCLEX exams:
Prioritize Study Above All Else
There is no single tip or trick for easy success. The NCLEX is meant to determine nursing competency, and assure that you are prepared to practice as a nurse. Therefore, there is no magic tip that will fool the computer on test day.
Make rigorous and efficient study your number one focus in the weeks and months leading up to test day. Build a study plan and stick with it. When you have sufficiently prepared ahead of time, other tips and suggestions will help you successfully demonstrate your knowledge on test day.
“I studied content first that I wasn’t strong on. I used UWorld for awhile and then went through my incorrect questions in UWorld and made quizzes out of those.” -Shannon L.
Make Your Exam Day as Stress Free as Possible
Pulling one last all nighter to cram the night before the exam is not an element for success. Neither is skipping breakfast or arriving late to the exam site.
Though it’s natural to feel nervous, try to make exam day as relaxing and stress free as possible. Get a good night of sleep, eat a nutritious breakfast, and think positive thoughts the morning of your exam. This will have your body and mind relaxed and ready for the testing experience.
“A good night of rest. Breakfast and I didn’t study that day. I did this both for my LVN and RN NCLEX. Passed both on the first try.” -Grace T.
Pace Yourself Throughout the Exam
The NCLEX is a rigorous exam that can take up to five hours to complete. Avoid the temptation to rush, and don’t panic if you don’t know the answer to a particular question. There will be questions in which you are unsure of the answer; that’s the way computer adaptive testing (CAT) works. Be aware of the clock and work carefully but deliberately through each item. Remember, once you provide an answer, you cannot return to that question, so make sure you are confident of the answer you give.
“If I could give any real advice it is that don’t let the number of questions freak you out. If you feel frustrated halfway through the exam, close your eyes, take a deep breath and tell yourself you can do this.” -Shannon L.
Remember Your Clinical Experiences and Think About Real Life Scenarios
The NCLEX is more than an examination of your didactic learning experience; it is meant to test your skills as a nurse in clinical situations. When reading a question, imagine what you would do in a real life setting, remembering back to your clinical training and any experiences you have had in healthcare circumstances. When you combine what you’ve learned in the classroom with what you learned during clinicals, you’ll be well prepared to answer questions correctly.
Don’t Go Through Your NCLEX Journey Alone
Nursing is more than a career, it’s a calling. And one of the joys of your calling as a nurse is that you have a community of other nurses who are here to help. In the days, weeks, and months leading up to your NCLEX, enlist the help and encouragement of others. Join (or start) a study group, ask established nurses for advice, or become part of an online community of nursing students and practicing clinicians. You’ll be amazed at how beneficial these connections can be.
“Finally passed with 146 questions, 40 SATA . . . Thank you to everyone in this group for the encouragement and for giving each one motivation to continue to learn from each other.” -Einky C. (UWorld Nursing Facebook Group)
Trust Your Preparation and Lean Into What You’ve Learned
Once you get to test day, you don’t need a hype man or a last minute cram session for success. The time you’ve put into preparing for the exam is going to be the determining factor for how well you do. If you’ve put in the hours to study and prepare for your exam, that work is going to pay off with a passing score.
Now that it’s test day, take a deep breath, relax, and trust what you’ve learned through your study. There’s nothing more to do now than to simply demonstrate your nursing knowledge. As one student told us, once you get to the day of the exam, there are only two things to do . . .
“Healthy breakfast and prayer.” -Jojjit R.
Getting ready for an upcoming NCLEX® exam? Let us help! Over 700,000 nursing students have used UWorld for their NCLEX exam preparation since we launched our nursing product in 2015. Check us out today to see how we can prepare you for the test and for a lifetime of clinical success.