NCLEX preparation quick tips
By GUIAN MIGUEL BANTA
Studying for the Exam
So, how must a test taker study? A student should mainly use two resources for studying and refrain from jumping from one to another. There is no perfect study guide, and there is no ideal time to review. No one wants to prepare for the NCLEX, but you have to pursue and dive in!
- When to start studying: First, have an NCLEX exam schedule made or planned. A test prep of around 3-6 months would be ideal. Slowly, and I mean very slowly, start taking questions on the NCLEX. When I say slowly, I mean the first one or two months, take 10-20 questions before going to bed or heading to work. Imagine, you’ll be able to answer roughly a hundred questions in a week! Some are better than none. Try splitting them into categories (Labs, Med/Surg, Maternity, Psych, Peds, Pharmacology, Fundamentals). It will help you rebuild and refresh your concepts! Nothing beats putting up a deadline and giving yourself a sense of urgency!
- How to get prepped: Knowing that your goal is to take the NCLEX on a specific month, purchase a reputable NCLEX review course (in my case, try taking the ARN Surepass Course), and start to use it until the latter part of the month before your exam. Many students are challenged because of time constraints due to work and family; what I like with online courses is that they offer FLEXIBILITY without compromising the quality of review you get! When I say flexibility, it’s not only the installment terms they give and the amount of test bank they have. It’s the real digital experience that can simulate your NCLEX exam that matters. Watch and attend lecture videos religiously. They are devised to give you needed “shortcuts” in learning. Take quizzes regularly and gain that habit to read them and understand their rationales.
Sidenotes: On quizzes, regardless if you get 40% or 100%. Just go! Push harder! Don’t get stressed out if you aren’t getting high marks every time!
- How many hours should you study: Timewise, don’t put a number on how many hours you spend studying, but do remember to put in many hours. I mean, A LOT OF HOURS! Suppose you’re a “fast test taker,” that’s great! Just mellow down a bit, focus on critical questions, and divert attention to your least acquainted areas. Study until you feel comfortable or until you hit a wall. Once you hit a wall, step away for a bit and come back to it later once you’ve taken some time to relax! Take a sip of coffee or do a round of Spotify to clear out your head, then go back to work studying!
- My Best Study Tip: Not knowing how many questions I would have to take during the actual exam, I tried to take as many as possible. When taking questions, I would suggest the “practice like you play” philosophy. You can “build your testing environment.” For me, that meant putting my phone away, finding a place where there would be no noise/distractions, no one else around, and no resources! Plus, try not answering your tests in your pajamas! While you’re taking questions, keep a blank sheet of paper nearby to write down topics that you might want to look over or review!