Nursing is a field full of challenging work, incredible life altering moments, and the opportunity to do good in the world! This article is on passing NCLEX Nursing Exams, a rite of passage in the medical world. If you are considering the NCLEX, this article will show you some great resources to study with as well as help you take the first step toward getting approved for the NCLEX Exam!

After years of school, you are ready to jump into a career as an RN or PN. Passing this exam is one of the final steps to being a fully-fledged nurse and a landmark indicator of how ready you are for the world of nursing.

The National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX has one primary goal, to test participants on whether they are ready to enter the medical field as an entry-level nurse. It’s a bit different from most of the training and tests that are taken while studying in college. The National Council Licensure Examination eschews the conventional format of knowledge testing and instead seeks to examine your skills in practical real-life situations. This is not a simple 45-minute quiz, but rather an all-day event with multiple sections that attempt to see how you as a nurse make life-altering decisions and perform your duty.

While those who have studied at an American institution often do well by the time they are taking the examination, it can be a nerve wracking experience. The NCLEX questions are not meant to be solved through rote memorization and instead strive to see if you understand what being a nurse entails.  On top of being a challenging licensure for Americans, those who did not study in America statistically fair the worst. For instance, during the first quarter of 2016, only a third of international participants passed on the first try. That can be so frustrating! Spending months or years, only to fail right before the finish line. Don’t let that happen to you!

This guide will help give you the confidence to pass this final hurdle as you work towards becoming an RN or PN.

To begin, there are two common certifications with a similar sounding name.

NCLEX-RN Vs. NCLEX-PN

The primary difference between these two exams is the education level required. The RN is for those training to be registered nurses and the PN is for those who are training to be practical nurses. This means the RN requires a four year-degree at a credited Academic institution while the PN requires completion of a PN course which usually takes around a year. By now, you most likely are beyond picking between the RN or PN path, but if you are new to nursing overall, this is a very important piece of nursing that you should know.

Once you’ve decided which path you are taking, it’s time to schedule the test!

How to take the NCLEX?

The first step to taking the NCLEX exam is to apply with a Board of Nursing or Regulatory Body. The BON/RB is the one that certifies you to get certified. While a little redundant, this process means that only those who meet specific requirements can even attempt licensure. Once the BON/RB signs off on you, it’s time to get an ATT (Authorization to test). To get an ATT, go to Pearson Vue and register for the exam as well as pay the exam fee. Afterwards an ATT will be sent to you.

The ATT is usually valid for 90 days and signifies that you are able to take an NCLEX exam. Once this arrives, you can schedule your exam and get ready for some NCLEX questions!

Review until you can review no more! 

After you done with applying for the test (At this point you should have had the bulk of your medical training under your belt!) the first step to success is to become aware of what the exam covers. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing has plans online that outline the test and what is involved (https://www.ncsbn.org/testplans.htm)

Reading through the outlines gives you a feel for what knowledge you need and what should be studied. These outlines are updated annually so make sure you are using an up to date and valid guide. Practical steps for Passing NCLEX nursing exams include,

  1. Print out the requirements and Study Plan
  2. Read through it 2-3 times.
  3. Highlight any areas that you are struggling in, lack confidence, or need to understand better
  4. Create a detailed study plan around these areas of weakness
  5. Study these areas of weakness every day until the big day and review the areas that you are confident in 1-2 times a week.
  6. Study, study, study!

After the review, study.

Creating a study plan, learning where you need to improve your nursing skills, and reading up on the exam are all great steps toward success but they are just steps. In order to fully learn what’s necessary for this exam, you have to study DAILY.

There are several ways to study for the RN or the PN but one of our favorites is by using visual and auditory learning methods. This is best done with a mixture of NCLEX practice tests and videos. A primo resource in general for both Tech exams and Medical certifications is Exam-labs.com. Nowhere else can you find hundreds of free test guides that walk you through the hardest parts of various certifications. They not only have practice tests, Exam-Labs also has videos that help to reinforce the subject you are learning.

Exam-labs.com offers solid resources to study for the NCLEX exam, not only do they offer practice tests, they also continually update which tests are available and the NCLEX questions are kept up to date as well. This is a great resource for seeing what material the certification includes so that you can ace your tests!

Our favorite method of learning is to take the NCLEX practice test and highlight strengths and weaknesses. By highlighting the problems, you struggle with and can’t answer, you can find out which area you need to study the most. By highlighting strengths, you can identify with area you are excelling in and what needs to be studied less.

Practice with a medical buddy!

One last thing to do before the dress rehearsal is to ask those who have gone before you for advice! Passing NCLEX nursing exams is not nearly as difficult if you lean on the support of those who have already passed it. If you know a registered nurse, see if they have taken this test in the last several years. If so, it’s the prime place to bounce questions off of them and research how to pass. This coupled with taking online practice exams will make you basically unstoppable!

Take it and make it!

 We know testing is a stressful time. On top of that, being a nurse is a challenging career. The best way to get that NCLEX test over with, is to apply today, secure an ATT, and take the NCLEX within 90 days! It sounds obvious but so many people sit around waiting for a windfall, or live fearfully until the day they actually sit down and start answering questions on the NCLEX. Instead, take the confident route, head onto exam-labs, interview a doctor, and build upon your understanding of nursing! If you create a plan, study, and take test, you’ll do far better than those who simply waltzed through school and expect to be Doogie Howser on day one.

We are sure by following this guide, you can finish this and finally become an RN or PN If you are ready for the NCLEX and this has helped you, or have a friend who needs a study tool, like, comment, and share this post! The world needs more nurses!