NCLEX® Study Plan

Making a detailed NCLEX study plan will reduce stress, keep you on track, and greatly improve your chances of passing on your first attempt. To help you get started, our nursing experts compiled their go-to NCLEX study tips for success, including downloadable NCLEX study tips to align your efforts with exam requirements.
NCLEX® Study Plan
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What to Study for the NCLEX

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it’s worth exploring what exactly you’ll need to know for your exam.

To point you in the right direction, the NCSBN has compiled an NCLEX-RN Test Plan and NCLEX-PN Test Plan that outline the distribution of content for each exam. The main categories are client needs, integrated processes, and clinical judgment.

There are also a few specific NCLEX question types that we suggest you spend extra time reviewing. Dosage calculations have always given students problems, while the Next Gen NCLEX has introduced bow-tie questions and “unfolding” NGN case studies:

Dosage Calculation Questions

Learn how to answer nursing dosage calculations quickly and accurately with easy-to-follow tips, formulas, and examples.

Bow-Tie Questions

Master challenging bow-tie questions with six helpful tips on successfully answering these complex questions.

NGN Case Studies

Tackle NGN case studies with our expert advice on the structure, scoring, and approach.

How to Study for the NCLEX

Now that you know what to study, let’s take a look at how. Our data shows that completing exam-style practice questions is the most effective way to prepare for the NCLEX. For example, students who achieve an average UWorld NCLEX QBank score and “High” self-assessment score pass 98% of the time. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and the NCLEX is no exception. Other keys to success you should look for in an effective NCLEX review course include:

  • A testing environment that mirrors the real NCLEX
  • Detailed rationales that explain right and wrong answer options
  • Supplemental lecture videos to reinforce highly tested concepts
  • Active-learning tools like flashcards and digital notes
  • CAT exams and self-assessments for additional practice and to determine your readiness

Sample NCLEX Study Schedules

Our nursing educators recommend developing your NCLEX study plan as far before your projected exam date as possible. This will give you time to dive deeper into the material, tackle difficult concepts in bite-sized chunks, study with other students, remediate weaknesses, and adjust as needed.

6-month NCLEX study plan example

Whether you plan to take the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN, the pace and focus of your studies will largely depend on how many days out you are from your exam and how long you can prepare each day. As such, our sample NCLEX study plan can be used as a rough guideline:

As you refine this outline into a daily NCLEX study plan, be specific about how many hours you will dedicate to practice questions, flashcards, note-taking, and content review.

Ten Tips for NCLEX Success

Preparing for the NCLEX can be an incredibly exciting, yet nerve-racking process. It’s your last hurdle to become a licensed nurse, but where to start?

1-month NCLEX study plan example

If you wait to begin your review, there are still effective ways to maximize your odds of passing the NCLEX. Let’s assume you only have one month before your exam date and are just starting your dedicated preparation. You’ll want to retain as much material as possible while avoiding burnout, so it’s even more important that you be specific and strategic with your study plan. Here’s an example of how you can target a single NCLEX subject, such as Child Health, in a limited period of time:


Create a flashcard deck for Child Health

Create a My Notebook section for Child Health

Complete 25 Child Health practice questions (create flashcards and notes as you practice)


Watch lecture videos on Child Health topics

Add notes to your notebook to deepen your understanding

Complete a 10-question practice test with “unused” Child Health questions


Complete a 25-question practice test with “unused” Child Health questions

Create flashcards and notes as you practice


Review your Child Health flashcard deck and notebook entries (make edits as needed to clarify ideas)

Practice your flashcards in “Study Mode” to leverage spaced-repetition technology

Complete a 10-question practice test with “unused” Child Health questions


Scheduled break, yay!


Complete a practice test with “marked” and “omitted” Child Health questions

Spend extra time reviewing these answer explanations, summarizing content in your notes, and watching related videos as needed


Complete a practice test with “incorrect” Child Health questions

Spend extra time reviewing these answer explanations, summarizing content in your notes, and watching related videos as needed

With this type of short-term NCLEX study plan, make sure you pay attention to the number of topics you need to cover. If you’re strong in Child Health, maybe you can get away with spending only four days reviewing it before moving on to Adult Health. Once you get into the final week before your exam, plan some time to go over your flashcards and notes from past topics, and take a self-assessment to get into a testing mindset.

NCLEX Advice from Nurses Who’ve Passed

Maya Uworld
UWorld Nursing
Play Video about Maya

Conquer NCLEX without burnout! Nurse Maya shares her advice for managing test stress through self-care & mindset mastery.

UWorld Nursing
holly uworld
Play Video about holly uworld

Study smarter, not harder! Nurse Holly shares advice on building an NCLEX study plan that includes goals & rewards to keep you motivated.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best way to study for the NCLEX is to create a study plan featuring a comprehensive question bank with detailed explanations and active-learning tools. Schedule how long you’ll study each day, take practice tests, and target areas you struggle with. Here’s how you can prepare with the UWorld NCLEX QBank.
Our nursing educators recommend starting your NCLEX preparation during nursing school, approximately 6 to 12 months before your projected exam date. This will give you time to learn about the exam, turn your weaknesses into strengths, and build your test-taking endurance.
The day before the NCLEX, you should balance last-minute review with preparing for the following day. Pack all of your required documents, determine when you need to head to the testing center, etc. You should also focus on remaining calm, getting a good night’s rest, and having confidence in what you’ve done to get to this point.
The UWorld NCLEX review course is among the highest-quality courses available. We offer comprehensive NCLEX coverage, realistic NGN and classic questions, detailed explanations with engaging visuals, concise lecture videos, active-learning tools, performance tracking, and more.
Generally speaking, students who complete their entire UWorld NCLEX question bank feel more confident heading into the exam and perform better than their peers. We suggest dividing the number of questions in your QBank by the amount of days before your exam to figure out how many questions to complete per day. Assume it will take you 5-7 minutes to read each question and rationale.

Read More About the NCLEX

NCLEX Exam Information

Learn the structure and format of the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN exams, including their length, how many questions there are, and other important information.

NCLEX Eligibility, Registration, and Cost

View our guide on NCLEX registration. We’ll walk you through when you’re eligible, how to sign up, applicable fees, and specific policies you’ll need to know.

NCLEX Scoring Guide

The NCLEX is a computerized adaptive test (CAT). Dive into what this means, and how new partial-credit scoring will impact your exam results.

NCLEX-RN Test Plan

Explore essential resources within the comprehensive NCLEX-RN Test Plan. Uncover content areas, subcategories, and summaries to gain essential insights.

NCLEX-PN Test Plan

Uncover essential insights within the comprehensive NCLEX-PN Test Plan. Explore content domains, subtopics, and summaries to guide your preparation effectively. 

Next-Gen NCLEX

Review how the NCLEX has changed to better examine your clinical judgment. The updated NGN includes new question types and scoring to be aware of.

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