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When should I schedule my NCLEX exam?

Updated on December 6, 2012

How long after nursing school did you take the NCLEX?

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During my tenure as a nursing school instructor and NCLEX review lecturer, I often hear students who have graduated nursing school say, “I am not ready to take the NCLEX yet.” My response is most always, “You are more ready now than you probably will be in the future.”

Many schools don’t adequately prepare students for the NCLEX. I agree with that. I also agree that an NCLEX review is a good idea in the week or two following nursing school. However, studies have been conducted which show that there is a direct relationship between the length of time a student waits after nursing school to take the NCLEX and their performance on the exam itself.

In other words, the longer you wait after nursing school to take the NCLEX, the less of a chance you have of passing the exam. The longer you have been out of school, the lesser chance that you will remember critical things that were discussed during your theory/lecture and clinical rotations.

Granted, if you are one of those students who can constantly spend 4-8 hours per day reviewing questions and lecture notes every day, then maybe you have a chance of retaining or relearning the information. However, if were like me or most of the other people taking the exam, we didn’t have the luxury of spending all day studying for the exam for several months after nursing school. Most of us had jobs and were eager to get our licenses as quickly as possible in order to get a better paying and more stable job. Like I said, if you have the opportunity to take a short-term or long-term NCLEX review, I encourage you to do so. However, statistics do not lie. Taking your NCLEX as soon as possible ensures that you will have a better shot at passing the NCLEX.

Many students have come to me and asked, “but what if I fail and I am not ready?” There is a simple answer to that: you can take it again. If you wait three months after nursing school to take the NCLEX for the first time, you could possibly already have had the opportunity to take it a second time. This would give you two opportunities to take it in the same amount of time.

Take the NCLEX as soon as possible to maximize your chances of succeeding on the exam. Best of luck.



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    • alocsin profile image


      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I think it makes sense to schedule this as soon as you can after graduation -- so you can remember everything. Voting this Up and Useful.


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