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Blog Post

By: Jersey College // May 08, 2015

10 Tips to Prepare for the NCLEX

How to prepare for the NCLEX?

     Upon completion of nursing school, all PN and RN graduates must successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become licensed nurses. The curriculum at Jersey College is designed to facilitate your learning process so that you will have the knowledge and abilities to be a safe and effective practitioner – key areas you will need to demonstrate on the NCLEX. Passing a comprehensive examination can be challenging. Having the proper tools and perseverance are the keys to success. Preparation for the NCLEX begins on Day 1 of nursing school. Throughout your studies, you will find your coursework, assignments, and testing follows the NCLEX blueprint designed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Successful completion of the program requirements will be the first step of your preparation. The second step will be to demonstrate your ability to retain and apply the knowledge you have gained throughout the program on the NCLEX. The following are a few tips that can facilitate your success:


  1. Be confident. You have graduated from nursing school. You have passed all of your courses. Know that you have put forth your best efforts in your education and that you have the knowledge to pass. You are ready.

  2. Take an NCLEX Review Course. Jersey College provides a comprehensive NCLEX review as part of your program of study. You can also complete an online NLCEX review such as the one created by NCSBN.  There are many different review options available to students. As students have different learning styles, you may choose to seek an additional review that you feel works best for you. Trying to focus on everything you have learned throughout the program can become overwhelming. Many of the products have practice exams to help you understand your areas of need so that you can focus on information that you need to study.

  3. NCLEX Review Books. My personal favorite is Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX Examination. There are over 1,000 Q & A review cards that follow the test plan framework for the NCLEX. If you have used this book throughout your program, you may have memorized many of the questions. You can find other great books such as Hogan’s Comprehensive Review in the school library.

  4. Complete 150-200 practice questions per day. These questions can be from any NCLEX resource you choose. Read your question first without looking at the answers. Think about what you would do as a nurse if you were standing at that client’s bedside. Then read the answers and choose the option that is closest to your response. Remember tip #1- Be confident. Trust your first guess. As nurses, we sometimes call this intuition, but really this is an educated decision based on what you know, through what you have learned in class and your experiences at clinical.

  5. Understanding the rationales. The most important advice for NCLEX review is understand the rationales. As you review the rationales to the questions, it is important to understand why the wrong answers are incorrect. This will give you a clear picture of what the question was asking and why the correct answer is the best decision for the patient scenario in the question. Most NCLEX questions are based on your ability to apply the knowledge you have learned to a patient scenario. The test seeks to ensure that you will make safe decisions as a nurse, and that you are able to identify critical patient changes requiring intervention. The rationale will often assist you in identifying why the correct option is a priority decision for the patient’s care. 

  6. Choose the best time to study. Make a plan to study on a schedule that is the same each day. If you are a morning person, this would be the best time for you to study. You may want to also find a place that is not distracting. You may also want to find a place that is not distraction where you can concentrate, such as the college, local library, or coffee house.

  7. Get plenty of rest and stay on a healthy diet. You will retain more information if you are healthy and well rested. Take frequent breaks while you are studying to re-energize.

  8. Studying in groups. Some students benefit from working with other students to discuss the questions and rationales. If studying in a group, keep the group focused on learning. Make sure you also take time to study your individual needs on your own.

  9. Utilize your mentors.  A mentor can be there for you to assist with knowledge, test taking, and to provide you support in your journey. Your instructors are also available to you for tutoring and NCLEX preparation even after you have graduated.

  10. Perseverance. We all have an internal drive that keeps us moving forward. Remember why you want to achieve your LPN or RN license and how the opportunities you will gain from licensure will change your life. There is plenty of time to rest and reacquaint yourself with your family and friends as soon as you pass. Use this time now to focus on your studies.