Passing NCLEX Study tips and tricks
Successfully challenging the NCLEX exam is possible. Preparation begins on the first day of nursing school. The Nursing curriculum is built to provide students with the opportunity to learn the core concepts necessary to pass NCLEX and to step on the floor as a new graduate nurse.
Organization is the key. You must have a designated space to study and you must have your materials and supplies ready. Textbooks, review guides, index cards and colored markers should be kept organized and accessible. Time management is also important. For example, if you have one hour to study, how can you make the most of that hour? You could spend 15-30 minutes reading, 15 minutes reflecting and making notes and 15 minutes with review questions.
How are you doing in your other courses? Students who are successful with NCLEX are often very successful in nursing school. Developing good study habits can result in better grades and translate to NCLEX success. How are your critical thinking skills? Are you able to solve problems and to find ways to be successful? Do you need to seek tutoring assistance from one of your classmates or instructors?
The NCLEX is designed to assess your ability to be a safe and competent nurse. Nurses are expected to have a strong knowledge in nursing content and be able to critically think your way through the problems. This comes with good study habits and with strategic use of practice questions. Get help from your instructors and classmates if you are having difficulty with organized study and review. If you study smart and work hard, you can be successful in nursing school and with NCLEX!
Nursing School is over! What next?
Completing nursing school and passing NCLEX is not the end for nurses. Nursing is a profession with a commitment to lifelong learning and professional development. There are so many options available for nurses. It is important to work where you have passion and interest. Otherwise you are working at a “job” instead of having a career (Buffington, Melynyk, & Neale, 2018).
When you are working where your interests and talent are a great fit, you and your patients will have a better experience. When you have found a position, you can choose to work or consider returning to school for additional education.
While working, you will evolve from “novice to expert.” This means that you will start as a new nurse and eventually, you will gain enough experience to be considered an expert at providing patient care. This is a complex process and does not occur overnight. You can pick up tips and best practices from your preceptors and colleagues.
Consider joining a nursing organization. This is important for networking and for continuing education opportunities. There are numerous organizations for nurses. Some are general, and some are specific. Many of them have their own peer-reviewed publications. This is where evidence for clinical practice can be found. Initially, you may want to join a general organization, such as the Ohio Nurses Association.
When you have gained more experience or switched to a specialty area, you should join the organization for your specialty. Remember that nurses are professionals committed to lifelong learning. This does not end when nursing school ends. It begins.
Buffington, B. C., Melynyk, B. M., & Neale, S. (2018, June). Career wellness. American Nurse Today, 13(6), 20-21.