How to Pass the NCLEX

First, give yourself a huge pat on the back for even making it this far! Passing nursing school is extremely difficult and not for everyone. The last step in achieving the ultimate goal (being a legit NURSE!!) is to pass the dreaded NCLEX test. Let me give you some pointers that I used in order to make this happen. Trust me, I was anxious and crazy before, during, and after the test too. It is totally normal!

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1. Practice, practice, practice

There are books and websites where you can go to just to practice answering the types of questions that are on the test. It sometimes is not even about the information, but the WAY it is written. Practicing answering the types of questions you will get will help to better prepare you and make it easier to answer them. Sometimes there will be even a similar question that comes up on the real exam too.

2. Don’t overthink it

There are so many questions that we think are trying to trip us up, only to realize that it was as simple as it was stated. Just look at the facts of the question and make a straight-forward answer. Not all questions are worded in a way to make you over-analyze.

3. Get a study buddy or study group

During nursing school and when I was studying for the NCLEX I found it helpful to get together with a friend and discuss topics we had trouble with. We would explain different topics to one another or ask each other questions in order to really get the information imbedded into our brains. It also helps to know that you are not alone in this and may help to boost your confidence!

4. Don’t focus all your time on stuff you already know

I had a hard time with this! It is easy and rewarding to go over information that you know already, and it is fine to do this to keep it fresh in your mind. But all your time does not need to be focused on the topics you already have conquered.

One way to do this is to dedicate specific days and times to whatever the topic is you are struggling with and just focus on that topic. Don’t try to focus on too many new/complicated things in one day.

5. Schedule your test close to graduation

I have found that people who scheduled their exam more than a few months, 6 months, or even a year out from their graduation had a much harder time in passing. Not only that but some had to take it several times, or maybe didn’t ever pass at all. Set a date for a month or two from when you are done school and use that time to prepare yourself while the information is freshest in your mind.

6. Don’t analyze how well you are doing by how many questions you are getting

Some people get 75 questions and some people get all 265. I got all 265, while my study-buddy got the minimum of 75. It doesn’t matter how many you get, just as long as you answer each question with intention. Try not to look at the number or amount of time you have invested, just keep going one question at a time.

7. Take a test-prep course

I took the Kaplan test-prep course, which I found to be extremely helpful. Our school did offer this course for us so we did not really have a choice, but I know many others who have taken it on their own and have found great success with it.

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In closing, please be sure to remember that YOU CAN DO THIS! If you passed nursing school, anything is possible. This is the last hurdle before making your dreams come true. Do everything you can to MAKE IT HAPPEN!


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Making the most of your time

I am the type of person that can never sit still. I feel like there are always 1,000 things to do and no time to get them all done. What I have learned over time is how to cram in as much as possible throughout my days to make free time for later on. Now this may not sound very admirable, but for me it makes me feel like I am superhuman some days. Here are some tips and tricks I use on the daily.

  1. Walk the long way into work / take the stairs. It helps to get some extra steps in for the day without really correlating it with exercise.
  2. Get up frequently from your desk. Staying sedentary is not great for you and really doesn’t give you any energy either. It honestly makes me feel more tired. Throughout my days I try to at least stand up every hour, stretch, squat, do jumping jacks, take a quick walk, or just do my work while standing for a little while. This too adds some extra movement in for the day, and trust me, it adds up.
  3. Make phone calls during your drive to or from work (safely of course) or listen to a podcast. When I know I am going to be sitting in traffic or in the car for a long time I try to make calls to either friends, family, or bills I need to go over/have questions about. Sometimes I even put on a podcast or audio book of something interesting and I feel like I am being productive!
  4. Do your grocery shopping online! It takes up so much time to go to the grocery store. Why not fill your cart in the luxury of your home, or while on break at work, or when standing in line somewhere. I have found it so much easier this way and have saved hours and hours of time by shopping online. The best part is you can either get them delivered (for an extra fee) or schedule a time to pick them up (I do it on my way home from work).
  5. Prep your food for a couple of days ahead of time, or make grab and go healthy meals/snacks to make life easier throughout the week. Sometimes when I do this I put on my favorite show or watch the news on my phone which kills two birds with one stone!
  6. I also like to fold and put away laundry while watching something I enjoy. Laundry is probably my least favorite task, but this makes it much more enjoyable.

There are plenty of ways to get the most out of your time, you just have to get creative! Use the little minutes you have here and there to get done anything you can and you will feel so accomplished each day!