8 Study Tips for Passing NCLEX-RN

8 Study Tips for Passing NCLEX-RN
Last Updated:  |   Staff Writers |   Licensure

When you earn your associate degree in nursing, or ADN, only one thing stands between you and your RN license - the NCLEX-RN. To receive your license, you must take and pass the exam. ADN training programs are designed with the exam in mind, but extra studying is needed to increase the odds of passing it the first time. Pick up some useful tips for passing the NCLEX-RN by reading on below.

  1. Learn The Exam - Even if you know the material inside and out, you could be thrown for a loop when you sit down to take the NCLEX-RN if you have never seen it before. Fortunately, many resources are available to help you get familiar with the exam prior to taking it. Use resources like study guides and practice tests to know what to expect. This will give you an idea of the types of questions that you'll have to answer and for the overall format of the exam.
  2. Focus On Memorization And Critical Thinking - While studying for the NCLEX-RN, remember that many questions may have more than one "right" answer. Your job is to select the right answer that is the most applicable to the situation in question. This means that you must employ critical thinking during the exam, so practice thinking like this while studying. If you haven't already memorized normal lab values, drug side effects, and disease symptoms, get up to speed with those because they are sure to appear on the exam.
  3. Take Plenty Of Practice Tests - When asked which study habits helped prepare them the most for the NCLEX-RN, registered nurses overwhelmingly say that practice tests made a major difference. All kinds of practice tests and exams for the NCLEX-RN are readily available online. Some are free, while others cost money. Take as many of them as you can in the days leading up to the exam.
  4. Study With Friends - It isn't always easy to motivate yourself to study. That's true even when it's for something that is as important as the NCLEX-RN. A great way to get around this problem is by meeting up with fellow nursing students a few times a week to study for the exam. Having others there to quiz you and otherwise help you study will make a huge difference. Helping others helps to reinforce your own understanding, making you even more ready to pass the exam with flying colors.
  5. Use The Process Of Elimination - While studying and taking practice tests, get into the habit of eliminating clearly false answers first. That way, you can focus on the remaining answers and arrive at the correct one more quickly. Remember, this exam is administered via computer. Once you have selected an answer, you are not permitted to go back and change it. By using the process of elimination, you're less likely to inadvertently provide incorrect answers.
  6. Stay Calm - In the weeks and days leading up to exam day, it's natural to feel more and more on edge and nervous. This mindset can negatively affect your ability to focus and study, however, so do your best to stay calm. When you feel yourself becoming too nervous, close your eyes and count backwards slowly from 10. Remind yourself that the exam will be over soon, and you will have your RN license.
  7. Be Prepared - The last thing that you need is to show up on exam day flustered and unsure about how to proceed. In the days leading up to the exam, get the exact address of the exam location and use a map app to figure out directions. If necessary, practice driving there to ensure that you know the way. Read and re-read the list of things that you are required to bring, which should include your driver's license, and make sure that you will have everything ready to go when the time comes.
  8. Don't Cram - Considering that you have spent two full years preparing to take the NCLEX-RN, there is no point in cramming to study for it the day before. In fact, doing that will cause you to miss out on much-needed sleep, and it will cause your anxiety levels to spike. Instead, if there are still a few areas where you are struggling, create a mini study guide and focus on studying that immediately before the exam. Otherwise, just head to the exam secure in the knowledge that you are ready to pass it.

Even the well-prepared nursing student has the jitters when it comes to taking the NCLEX-RN. Keep those nerves from getting the best of you by using the above tips. Before you know it, you'll have passed your test, received your license, and will be on your way to becoming an RN.

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