After working diligently and graduating from a nursing program, the only thing that stands between you and your nursing career dream is getting a Registered Nurse license. This last milestone requires you to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
But, for many aspiring nurses, the thought of taking this test can cause panic. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Many nurses have walked this path before and succeeded.
The first thing you need to note about NCLEX is that it requires endurance to prepare and complete. NCLEX is different from other tests you may have taken before. It’s not a test you can cram for and pass.
If you’re planning to take the NCLEX, how can you ensure you pass it the first time you register for it? Below are 5 tips to help you pass the NCLEX:
1. Know How NCLEX Is Administered
When preparing for NCLEX, you need to understand how it differs from other tests. The NCLEX is administered using the computerized adaptive testing (CAT) format, which means no two tests will be identical. Once you start taking the test, the questions are automatically adapted to the responses you give.
Though the NCLEX provides a maximum of 265 questions and a minimum of 75 questions, the test uses an algorithm to generate every question based on how you perform in the previous question.
According to NCLEX requirements, candidates must maintain a passing score to be considered successful in this exam. This requires them to answer enough questions correctly to maintain a 95% confidence level. If they don’t achieve this confidence level, candidates are considered to have failed the test.
The NCLEX uses a mix of multiple choice and multiple answer questions. Other formats that questions take are hot spot, ordered response, and calculations with graphs and images also appearing on the test.
Each question on the NCLEX is as important as the next and candidates can’t try to self-evaluate as they take the test.
2. Have A Study Plan
NCLEX is a major exam that can make or break your nursing career. As such, it’s important that you’ll have full attention when you prepare for it. The best way to ensure that you prepare adequately for this exam is to develop a study plan and stick to it. Break your preparation period into smaller bits and ensure that you study a bit each day; have goals for every study session.
For every question that you handle during your study time, ensure you know why you got it right or wrong. You can do this by paying attention to both content and the strategy as well as understanding each answer’s rationale.
3. Know What The NCLEX Covers
Knowing the areas that the NCLEX covers can help you adequately prepare for this licensing exam. The NCLEX is developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing in partnership with different stakeholders, such as nursing and educational testing experts. As such, each question in the exam is rigorously analyzed and tested to guarantee its validity.
To know what areas the NCLEX will be testing and the content that you need to cover in each area, take a look at the test plan that the National Council of State Boards of Nursing places on its website. From the test plan, you’ll get an idea of the range of questions to encounter in the NCLEX.
This plan can be a useful tool for testing your knowledge of different topics. It can also help you prepare adequately for each study area.
4. Manage Your Anxiety
If you’re experiencing anxiety due to the pressure that comes with the need to achieve the licensing milestone, apply stress management strategies that you learned in nursing schools. To reduce stress, allow study time to be a part of your daily routine without letting it consume your entire life. The most important thing is to utilize this time to study properly so you feel confident and well prepared for the exam.
Some useful things you can do to overcome anxiety include maintaining a balance between your work and personal and study life. Also, get quality sleep as this will help you relax and restore your brain’s energy. Lastly, make exercise a part of your daily routine. This will not only help your body, but it’ll also enhance your thinking skills and boost your memory.
Further, alleviate logistical stress by familiarizing yourself with the NCLEX rules. Consider visiting the testing center before the testing day to understand the process involved. Know the route, the traffic patterns in the area, parking spaces, and where you’ll be dropping your stuff before getting into the exam room. Ensure that you get enough sleep the night before the exam and bring the necessary documents to the exam room.
5. Stay Positive
Since the NCLEX is a tough exam, you need to prepare for it. When you’re preparing and taking the exam, it’s usual to feel frustrated. Accept that it’s a challenging exam—if it wasn’t, anyone could’ve become a nurse.
There will be times where you’ll question everything you learned in nursing school and your ability to succeed in your nursing career. But, despite experiencing these emotions, maintain positivity. Believe in yourself and the abilities you have. Better still, start seeing yourself as a registered nurse because passing NCLEX is the last step towards realizing your dream.
Graduating with a nursing degree is a great achievement. It’s proof that you’re competent enough to join the nursing profession. But, before you do so, you need to pass the NCLEX exam to become a Registered Nurse. Taking the NCLEX exam is not a walk in the park. But, this doesn’t mean you cannot pass it on your first attempt.
The secret to passing this exam lies in preparing adequately. To successfully take the test, give yourself two to three months to study and prepare for the exam. Follow the five tips discussed above and put yourself on the path to passing the NCLEX exam on your first attempt.