How to Study for the NCLEX-RN® Exam
Passing the NCLEX exam is a crucial step in becoming a licensed nurse, and it requires a lot of preparation and hard work. Below are some tips on how to study effectively for the NCLEX exam:
Types of Tools to Use to Study for NCLEX-RN
There are several types of tools that you can use to study for the NCLEX-RN. Some of the most popular ones include:
- Study guides: These are books that provide a comprehensive overview of all the topics covered on the NCLEX-RN exam. They often include practice questions and answers as well.
- Practice tests: Taking practice tests is a great way to prepare for the actual exam. You can find free practice tests online or purchase them from test preparation companies. My recommendation is using the NCLEX-RN prep from TrueLearn. They have over 1000+ practice questions and performance analytics that help you pass your NCLEX-RN on your first try! You can even highlight and make notations on your practice tests to go back and review later!
- Flashcards: These are a great tool for memorizing key concepts and terms. You can create your own flashcards or purchase pre-made ones. I enjoy using ANKI for virtual flashcards to help with spaced repetition. They are great for traveling, whether you are waiting at your dentist appointment or have some free time to review your virtual flashcards on your mobile app.
- Mobile apps: There are numerous mobile apps available for studying for the NCLEX-RN exam. They often include practice questions, flashcards, and other study materials.
- Online courses: There are many online courses available that provide comprehensive NCLEX-RN exam prep. They often include lectures, practice questions, and interactive learning activities.
Overall, the key to success on the NCLEX-RN exam is to use a variety of different study tools and resources. Combine different approaches to customize your own learning and to make the most out of your study time.
Study Plan Schedule for the NCLEX-RN
A good study plan schedule for the NCLEX-RN will depend on your individual needs and study habits. However, here is a general guide to help you get started:
- Make a study schedule: Plan out your study sessions in advance and stick to a consistent schedule. Determine how much time you can realistically dedicate to studying each day or week and make a schedule accordingly.
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses: Take a practice test or assessment to identify areas where you excel and areas where you need extra help.
- Focus on weak areas: Spend more time studying areas where you struggled in the practice test. Use study materials that focus specifically on those topics.
- Use a variety of study materials: As mentioned earlier, use a variety of study materials such as textbooks, practice questions, flashcards, etc.
- Take breaks: It is important to take breaks throughout your study sessions to avoid burnout and maintain focus. I enjoy studying for 50 minutes and taking a ten minute break in between.
- Practice, practice, practice: The key to success on the NCLEX-RN exam is practice. Use as many practice questions as possible to become comfortable with the format and content of the exam.
- Prioritize sleep and self-care: Do not neglect your health while studying. Ensure you are getting enough sleep, eating well, and taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally.
Remember, everyone’s study plan will be different. Experiment with different study methods and schedules to find what works best for you. Good luck!
How long does it take to study for the NCLEX-RN?
Generally, most nursing students take anywhere from 4-12 weeks to prepare for the exam. However, some may take longer or shorter depending on their individual circumstances.
The amount of time it takes to study for the NCLEX-RN exam can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. These factors include your level of familiarity with the content, your study habits and schedule, and how much time you are able to devote to studying each day.
It is important to note that the NCLEX-RN exam is incredibly comprehensive and challenging, so it is crucial to give yourself enough time to prepare thoroughly. Additionally, you should aim to use a variety of study resources and methods, including practice exams, review courses, and flashcards, to ensure you are fully prepared on test day.
Areas to Focus on the NCLEX
The NCLEX covers a wide range of topics related to nursing practice, including healthcare management, pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, and patient care. As such, when you are planning out how to study for the NCLEX, it is important to make all of these areas a focus during your test preparation.
Some specific areas you may want to pay particular attention to include:
- Nursing process: This involves understanding the steps involved in nursing care, such as assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.
- Patient care: This includes knowledge of patient safety, infection control, and providing comfort measures to patients.
- Pharmacology: This involves understanding the different types of medications, their uses, side effects, and interactions.
- Anatomy and physiology: This involves knowledge of the human body and its different systems, including the cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous systems.
- Healthcare management: This includes understanding the organization and delivery of healthcare, as well as legal and ethical aspects of nursing practice.
By focusing on these areas, you can build a strong foundation of knowledge that will help you succeed on the NCLEX exam.
Best Practices and Tips
How you study for the NCLEX-RN exam might be different from how someone else approaches the exam. But there are some core tips that apply to everyone.
- Start preparing early: It is important to start studying well in advance of the exam. Give yourself at least 2-3 months of dedicated study time before you plan to take the NCLEX.
- Create a study schedule: Make a study schedule that includes daily goals and milestones. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you cover all the necessary material.
- Use NCLEX prep materials: There are many NCLEX prep materials available online, such as practice tests, review books, and flashcards. Use these resources to familiarize yourself with the format and content of the exam. One of my favorite study resources is using Picmonic’s nursing mnemonic library and TrueLearn to help me prepare for the NCLEX-RN exam. Picmonic is amazing at helping you retain important concepts for the NCLEX-RN exam. Using TrueLearn is important in practicing NCLEX-RN style questions to help you pass!
- Understand the test format: The NCLEX-RN exam is computerized and adaptive, which means that the difficulty of the questions will increase or decrease depending on how well you are doing. Make sure you understand how the test is structured so you can prepare accordingly.
- Focus on weak areas: Identify your weaker areas and focus on improving them. Spend extra time studying topics that you struggle with, and don’t neglect other areas in the process.
- Take breaks: It is important to take regular breaks during your study sessions to avoid burnout. Take a walk, listen to music, or do something else that relaxes you.
- Stay motivated: Keep the end goal in mind and stay motivated throughout your study period. Visualize yourself passing the NCLEX and working as a licensed nurse.
Remember, passing the NCLEX exam takes time and effort, but with the right preparation and mindset, you can succeed!
About the Author
Sandra Wong is currently a family nurse practitioner student in southern California. She previously was a dermatology medical assistant and a former medical scribe at Hoag hospital in the internal medicine and general surgery departments. She graduated from the University of California Riverside with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and recently obtained her masters in public health and received summa cum laude. Her experience in social circles spans over 250 public events as a national spokesmodel and official ambassador for major companies in the automotive, media, and branding industries. Her social media platform features lifestyle advice, spokes modeling experience, and her involvement in the medical field. A passionate fitness enthusiast, Ms. Wong’s social media also incorporates her workout regimen in relation to her medical goals. Her passion is to bring together people and experts in the medical field to share their experiences, and network with fellow physicians to inspire the next generations of medical professionals with as much passion as she does and to provide support and encouragement.