We were reading an article about NCLEX anxiety when it struck us…a big part of the stress students feel when approaching the NCLEX is fear of the unknown.
The test is a comprehensive assessment of what you learned in nursing school in its entirety, squished into 75-300 questions. Yeah, like you are supposed to remember everything you learned in nursing school! Herewith, five tips to help you prepare.
(1) To alleviate some of the anxiety that develops from knowing that the test covers your entire nursing school career, our professors suggested getting an NCLEX review book at the start of the program to have on hand throughout the years.
Save all your notes, books, study guides, etc until the test because these sources of valuable information can be very useful when studying. Then afterward you can burn all that stuff if the desire exists…
(2) Study aids are written for a reason. Some programs will offer review courses right there at the nursing school – TAKE ADVANTAGE! These review books and review courses prepare for the format of the exam, the number of questions, how it’s scored, and how to maneuver the computer system if you are not good at computers.
(3) The exam is tricky in that it gives you a certain number of questions based on how you are doing throughout the test so be prepared for that before going into the test. That way you are not surprised when your test shuts off at a random number like 157.
(4) Don’t wait too long to take the test! The longer you wait to take the test, the higher the anxiety will be, the longer you will have to wait for a license, the longer you will have to wait to get paid as an RN, etc. But allow yourself plenty of time to study, you don’t want to rush that aspect.
(5) Become acquainted with the format prior to entering the test. Most nursing schools have an exit exam that is in the same format as the NCLEX to prepare you for the type of test. The NCLEX is a computer test, which can be intimidating to some, so prepare in advance.
[Editor's Note: These tips were crafted in part by Nicole Lehr, RN].