How Nursing Students Can Prepare For the NCLEX

As a nursing student gaining on the end of your schooling, you’re probably considering taking the NCLEX exam. After all, this is what you’ve been preparing for all this time, right? And once you pass it, you will be a fully licensed nurse, ready to practice in the United States. No pressure, but it’s a bit of a big deal. After all, your performance on the exam will determine whether you will be able to continue your nursing career.

If you’re worried about taking the exam, try to relax a little bit. Yes, it is difficult, but it’s not impossible, and if you go in prepared, you should do just fine. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the NCLEX examination.


This may seem obvious, right? After all, what have you been doing in nursing school if not studying like crazy?

After graduation, it’s a good idea to take a brief break to let your mind relax a bit and prepare for the next thing. Go on a short vacation or treat yourself to a day out. Once you’ve had a short amount of time to clear your head, get right back to it.

When you begin to study, make sure you are familiar with how the test is arranged and how the questions are written. There’s a very specific way the test is created so you’ll want to make sure you’re comfortable with the setup before you take it. We recommend taking a lot of practice exams to get used to the NCLEX because sometimes it’s not that you don’t know certain concepts, but that you aren’t familiar with the question structure.

Sign Up for a Review Course

Because the NCLEX is so notoriously difficult, there are a lot of companies that have created review courses to help potential nurses prepare. There are a few options to check out if you’re looking for the right review course:

  • In-person classes. These classes work like a normal class. Participants sign up and then physically attend the course. There will be an instructor that will help guide you through the NCLEX preparation.
  • Online classes. A growing trend in education is the use of online classes as an alternative to classes that require physical attendance. These classes offer more flexibility and will allow you to complete them on your own time.
  • Review books. If you are self-motivated, you can simply buy an NCLEX review book and work on your own. These books should contain a lot of practice questions as well as test-taking tips.

Check out the Test Plan

Like a road map, the NCLEX licensure exam Test Plans offer specific information about what will most likely be on the test and which concepts are covered. The Test Plan is provided by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, so you can be sure that it will contain all the necessary information that you might need to pass. The plans are kept up to date and are revised every three years according to surveys of newly licensed nurses that have begun practicing. These plans will be an excellent guide to help you know what is most important, what is most difficult, and what is most useful for your future career as a nurse.


This is definitely easier said than done, but we’ll say it anyway: try to relax! There’s no denying that the NCLEX is a difficult exam; it was meant to be! After all, you wouldn’t want to be licensed as a nurse if you didn’t have the full foundational knowledge you need to enter the career, right?

But don’t let all that get to you. If you study consistently and take advantage of the many resources available to you, you will be able to remain calm and confident. If you’ve done everything you can to prepare, you have no need to fear.

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