NCLEX EXAMINATION | How to Pass the NCLEX the First Time

Passing the NCLEX-RN exam is the last major milestone standing between you and your ultimate prize -- a Registered Nurse license. It’s hard to stop the panic from setting in, but you have been preparing for this test for years! You are more ready than you feel.

Many nurses have come before you and know exactly how nerve-wracking this time can be. Rest assured, we will help you pass the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination -- Registered Nurse) the first time.

First Steps

Congratulations! You’ve graduated from a rigorous nursing program. After years of tedious studying and long clinical days, you have earned the ability to take a week or two off from the grind of education. Give yourself a break to unwind and make time to treat yourself.

What can you do with all of your newfound time? Rest! Sleep in past sunrise or connect with family and friends that you’ve missed during your nursing school journey. Focus on wellness activities like yoga, meditation, long walks, massages, or warm baths. Nurture your soul, so you are relaxed and open to focusing on the NCLEX.

Don’t take too much time off from nursing material. Staying fresh will allow you to retain the knowledge you gained in school. However, the NCLEX will require additional training.

Once you are ready, you’ll need to apply to your board of nursing/regulatory body (BON/RB) and register with Pearson VUE for an Authorization to Test (ATT). Schedule the NCLEX a couple of months out so that you can work towards this target date. Plan to spend about two months of studying for the NCLEX-RN.

Preparing for the NCLEX

You want to review enough nursing information to pass the exam without frying your brain. Choose a schedule that identifies which days of the week you plan to study and how long you plan to work. While students differ in the amount that they can comfortably achieve in one day, previous success stories show that between three to four hours of studying each day is ideal.

Your studying agenda should also describe when you will take practice exams. You can set any goal that works with your strengths and weakness, so long as you are intentional.

Do not cram! It’s appropriate to take a few days off each week, as long as you make the days that you work worthwhile. Set a goal to complete a specific number of questions a day or complete a certain number of practice tests.

Engage in active studying, rather than passively staring at pages of notes or rewriting information from NCLEX prep books.

Study With Mnemonics

Mnemonics are a memorization technique that allows you to remember complex concepts easily. These are typically a short phrase or acronym that you can call on.

Study by Teaching

Reciprocate study sessions with your peers by teaching lessons to each other and quizzing each other. If you don’t have any classmates willing to study, educate a layperson all about nursing topics. If you can teach your businesswoman mother about cytokines and the inflammatory process, you’re killing it!

Keep Practicing

Schedule at least two online mock NCLEX exams into your plan to help you become accustomed to long stints of computer testing. Being able to sit and mull over nursing questions for long periods will simulate the endurance that you need for the NCLEX.

Dealing with Low Practice Test Scores

Are you panicking about low practice test scores? Preliminary exams are not the official NCLEX so don’t take the results so harshly. Use them as a tool to help develop your strengths and tease out your weaknesses.


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