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8 NCLEX Tips for Passing the Exam and Understanding Test Requirements

Concorde Staff

Concorde Staff

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Updated May 9, 2023. The information contained in this blog is current and accurate as of this date.
Nurse studying for NCLEX test requirements

The NCLEX, or National Council Licensure Examination, tests whether you have the knowledge and skills to safely and effectively practice as a nurse. The exam can be challenging, but you can increase your chances of success with proper preparation and a solid understanding of the requirements and format. This article provides NCLEX tips for taking the exam and outlines the test requirements. We also answer some frequently asked questions about the NCLEX exam and provide information about the nursing programs at Concorde Career Colleges.

8 Tips for Passing the NCLEX Exam

Explore the following eight essential NCLEX tips to help you prepare for this exam.

1. Study the Exam Format and Content

Understanding the exam format and content is crucial for success on the NCLEX exam (1). The NCLEX is a computer-adaptive test (CAT) that adjusts the difficulty of the questions based on whether you get the correct answer. The questions will become more challenging or easier depending on your performance. Understanding the CAT format and how the questions are structured is essential for managing your time and answering the questions accurately.

It is also essential to familiarize yourself with the types of questions that the exam will include. The NCLEX exam consists of multiple-choice questions and covers many content areas, such as health promotion, pharmacology, and the nursing process. Reviewing the test blueprints, which outline the content areas and the percentage of questions the exam will cover, will give you an idea of what to expect on test day.

2. Take Practice Tests

Practice tests provide an opportunity to:

  • Familiarize yourself with the question format.
  • Gauge the level of detail and critical thinking required.
  • Discover the types of questions that you may encounter on the actual test. 

By taking practice tests, you can also identify your strengths and weaknesses and develop a study plan focusing on the areas needing improvement.

Various resources, such as NCLEX review books, online practice tests, and review courses, are available for practice tests. Choosing a reputable source for practice tests is essential to ensure that the questions are similar in format and content to the actual NCLEX exam. Concorde's nursing programs provide students access to practice tests and review materials in their curriculum.

3. Create a Study Plan

Young adult studying to pass NCLEX exam

 

What To Expect When Taking the NCLEX-RN

A study plan allows test-takers to set specific goals and deadlines and helps them to focus on the areas that need improvement. Discuss your progress with your nursing program instructor. Once you have identified your strengths and weaknesses, you can create a detailed study plan with precise focus areas. You may also set specific goals and deadlines. For example, you can set a goal to finish a set number of practice questions by a particular date. Setting goals and deadlines can help you stay on track with your studies.

Try to incorporate different study techniques as you create your study plan. For example, you can use flashcards to memorize key concepts, take practice tests to identify weaknesses, and attend review courses or study groups. Incorporating different study techniques will help you to stay engaged and motivated, and it will also help you to retain the information better.

4. Understand the Nursing Process

When studying for the NCLEX exam, focus on understanding the nursing process and how to translate it to patient care. Review the steps of the nursing process and practice applying them to different patient scenarios. This review will help you to understand how to assess a patient's condition, develop a plan of care, and evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment. 

You may also seek to understand the different nursing diagnoses and how to apply them to patient care. Review the different types of nursing diagnoses, such as actual, risk, and wellness diagnoses, and practice connecting them to different patient scenarios. These activities will help you to understand how to identify a patient's health problems and develop a care plan. Additionally, it's essential to acknowledge nursing interventions and how to implement them effectively. Review the different nursing interventions, such as pharmacological, non-pharmacological, and educational, and practice implementing them in diverse patient scenarios. 

5. Practice Critical Thinking and Problem-solving Skills

The NCLEX exam tests your ability to think critically and solve problems in real-world situations. To pass the exam, you need to be able to analyze patient scenarios, identify health problems, and develop a plan of care. When studying for the NCLEX exam, focus on refining your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Review case studies and practice analyzing patient scenarios, identifying health problems, and creating a plan of care. This process will help you to understand how to think critically and solve problems in real-world situations.

You may also study how to analyze and interpret lab values and other patient data. Review the normal ranges for lab values, and practice interpreting lab results and other patient data. This practice can help you understand how to analyze and interpret patient data and use it to develop a plan of care. Additionally, you may study how to prioritize patient care. Review the priority levels, such as critical, high, moderate, and low priority, and practice prioritizing patient care in different scenarios. This exercise will help you understand how to prioritize patient care and provide appropriate care in real-world situations.

6. Seek Help When Needed

Student and mentor studying to pass NCLEX on computer


Preparing for the NCLEX exam can be challenging, and it's essential to seek help when needed. Ask for help from your nursing program instructors, seek additional resources, or join a study group. Connect with instructors or educational mentors for help if you struggle with a specific topic or question. They are there to support you and can provide additional resources and guidance. Concorde's nursing programs offer students the necessary resources, advice, and support to help them prepare for the NCLEX exam.

Additionally, seek out resources such as NCLEX tips in books, online practice tests, and courses to supplement your studies. Joining a study group can also be beneficial. It allows you to share resources, review practice questions and patient scenarios, and receive peer feedback. Additionally, studying together is a great way to stay motivated and on track with your studies.

7. Stay Up-to-date With the Latest Nursing Trends and Practices

The NCLEX exam also tests your knowledge of the latest nursing trends and practices. When preparing for the NCLEX exam, stay current with nursing trends. Review nursing guidelines, read journals, and attend continuing education courses. These resources will help you explore nursing trends and practices and provide the best possible care to patients.

It is also essential to understand the latest technology and equipment used in nursing and health care, such as electronic medical records, telehealth, and patient monitoring devices. Review this technology and equipment and practice using them in different patient scenarios.

8. Take Care of Yourself

Young adult student taking deep breath to manage stress

 

Taking care of yourself is crucial for passing the NCLEX exam. Self-care means getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. It also means managing stress and taking time to relax and recharge. When studying for the NCLEX exam, ensure you get enough sleep to be alert and focused during your studies. Need a digital hand? Explore these apps for students to make your life easier and more manageable.

Additionally, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can help boost your energy levels, improve your mood, and reduce stress. Additional activities include meditation, yoga, and spending time with friends and family.

Requirements for Taking the NCLEX Exam

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) vs. Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)

Before you can take the NCLEX exam, you must meet specific prerequisites and requirements:

  • Completing an approved nursing program: Test-takers must complete a nursing program approved by their state board of nursing.
  • Applying for licensure: Test-takers must apply to their state board of nursing and pay any required fees.
  • Passing a background check: Some states may require a background check before allowing you to take the NCLEX exam.
  • Meeting any additional requirements: Your state board of nursing may have further requirements for individuals (2) you must meet before taking the NCLEX exam.

It is essential to check with your state board of nursing to ensure you meet all the requirements before applying for the NCLEX exam. Concorde's nursing programs, nursing (pre-licensure), RN to BSN, and practical/vocational nursing prepare students for the NCLEX exam.

Passing the NCLEX exam is a challenging but achievable goal. Concorde's nursing programs allow students to learn and practice the skills included in the exam. With experienced instructors, a dedicated support team, and access to practice tests and review materials, our programs provide students with the resources and guidance to help them succeed. If you're interested in training for a career in nursing, consider enrolling in one of our programs today and take the first step toward passing the NCLEX exam and achieving your career goals.


Footnotes:

1. NCLEX & Other Exams - NCSBN, https://www.ncsbn.org/nclex.page

2. Nursing Licensure by State, https://nursinglicensemap.com/states

 

Next Steps?

Interested in learning more about our Nursing (Pre-Licensure) program? We have a Concorde representative ready to talk about what matters most to you. Get answers about start dates, curriculum, financial aid, scholarships and more!

  1. Program length may be subject to change dependent on transfer credits and course load. Please refer to current course catalog for more information. Concorde does not guarantee admittance, graduation, subsequent employment or salary amount.

  2. Professional certification is not a requirement for graduation, may not be a requirement for employment nor does it guarantee employment.

  3. Financial aid is available to those who qualify but may not be available for all programs. Concorde does not guarantee financial aid or scholarship awards or amounts.

  4. Clinical hour requirements and delivery may vary by campus location and may be subject to change. Concorde does not guarantee clinical site assignments based upon student preference or geographic convenience; nor do clinical experiences guarantee graduation, post-clinical employment or salary outcomes.

  5. Registration and certification requirements for taking and passing these examinations are not controlled by Concorde, but by outside agencies, and are subject to change by the agency without notice. Therefore, Concorde cannot guarantee that graduates will be eligible to take these exams, at all or at any specific time, regardless of their eligibility status upon enrollment.