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What to do (and not to do) the few days before the NCLEX

Updated on December 6, 2012

What did you do the day before your NCLEX?

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The best thing to do a few days before the NCLEX is to take your mind off of the exam

Besides subject matter knowledge and critical thinking skills, there are other things that a student can do to increase their performance on and likelihood of passing the NCLEX exam. As a nursing instructor, I can tell you that there is one thing that students can do that will enhance their performance more than anything else right before the exam. That one, specific, magical, special thing is…

To do NOTHING. Doing absolutely nothing the day or two before the NCLEX is the single best thing that I always recommend my students do before the exam. By nothing, I mean NO STUDYING. Many of you probably expected me to say go over drugs, go over labs, or review diseases or procedures. However, chances are that you have been in nursing school for between 1 and 4 years studying nursing, and that if you don’t know it by now, you probably don’t know it.

Does that mean that you shouldn’t do a quick review right before the exam? No, of course it doesn’t. Looking over labs right before the NCLEX is an excellent idea, as some are almost always certain to show up on the exam. Review your lab values once or twice for ten minutes before you walk into the test. However, you should do nothing more than that.

As a student and prospective nurse, you need to go into the NCLEX with a relatively clear head. This is a lesson that should be learned early. Once you have passed the NCLEX, you don’t want to enter a stressful shift already stressed. Like on the nursing floor, you should enter the exam with a clear head. If you already laid the ground work, then you should be good. You are not going to forget the basics if you have been studying up to this point.

So, I have said to do nothing. What exactly does that mean? Am I advocating you veg out on the couch and watch TV? Perhaps, if that is how you clear your head. The most successful NCLEX test takers I have seen usually go to Disneyland (or other amusement park), a major league baseball game or a basketball game, going to a family birthday party or get together, or even going to the movies with friends. You need to do something to keep your mind off of the exam so that you don’t stress out.

Best of luck on your NCLEX exam!



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