Nursing Board exams, such as the NCLEX, are notoriously difficult, and that is because the National Council of State Nursing Boards demands that nurses demonstrate competency in the ever-developing field of health care. However, by establishing strong study habits, you will give yourself the best possible chance to pass the examination and obtain licensure.
Take a Review Course
A review course will provide you with an organized and strategic plan for preparing. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing offers an online review course that offers more than 2,000 pages of content, study tips and practice exams, all of which you can access 24/7 and at your own pace. You could also enroll in an in-class review course, such as the course offered by Kaplan, which consists of 21 hours of in-class instruction, more than 3,000 practice questions and many other resources.
Study All Content Areas
If you're taking one of the NCLEX tests, you won't be able to omit any content from your studies in the hopes it won't be covered on the exam. The CAT system gives you questions based on its estimation of your ability, so chances are you won't receive the same questions as anyone else in the room. Furthermore, the subject areas in these exams are fully integrated into the test under the heading of "Client Needs." Notwithstanding, even if you're taking a different test in a different format, such as the NNAAP or MACE, you don't want to risk skipping a subject area in favor of another.
Make a Study Schedule
Whether you are taking a formal review course or not, make a strict plan for the studying you plan to do on your own. This exam is direct preparation for your career as a nurse, so treat it with the same level of professionalism as the career itself. Furthermore, because of the massive amount of material you're going to have to internalize, scheduling time for each area of content might be necessary to ensure you can cover it all. If you can, find a study partner who can keep you motivated and on task, and for whom you can do the same.
Take Care of Your Body
The review period for a nursing board exam is a stressful one, and while you are focusing on developing you mental abilities with regard to comprehending and synthesizing information, you also need to keep your body in good working order. This means eating well and finding time to exercise, which will also help maintain healthy circulation and oxygenation to your brain. And make sure you sleep enough, especially during the week leading up to the exam. Being well-rested will help you to think clearly and efficiently.
- National Council of State Boards of Nursing: Passing Standard
- National Council of State Boards of Nursing: NCLEX Review Course Tour
- Kaplan Nursing: NCLEX-RN Review Classroom
- National Council of State Boards of Nursing: NCLEX-RN Examination: Test Plan for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses
Christopher Cascio is a memoirist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and literature from Southampton Arts at Stony Brook Southampton, and a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in the rhetoric of fiction from Pennsylvania State University. His literary work has appeared in "The Southampton Review," "Feathertale," "Kalliope" and "The Rose and Thorn Journal."