NCLEX Success Tips
NCLEX Success Tips
All nursing school students in the U.S must take the NCLEX exam before they are allowed to practice as RNs or LPNs. It can be the most harrowing experience. Below is a collection of tips for NCLEX success.
What you will find here
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What is the NCLEX?
The meaning of the NCLEX
The NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) is a comprehensive, computerized adaptive test designed to identify those nursing graduates who can provide entry-level nursing care in a safe effective manner and approve them for licensure as nurses, whether Registered Nurses (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) also known in some places as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN).
What does the NCLEX Test?
The NCLEX is not primarily a test about content. Knowing the content is crucial to passing the NCLEX, but more importantly, the NCLEX tests the candidate's ability to apply the knowledge learned. While testing knowledge, abilities, and skills, the NCLEX also evaluated the nursing graduate's ability to think critically and make competent nursing decisions.
NCLEX Success Tips - While Still in School
Preparing for the NCLEX before Graduation
The first and biggest secret to passing the NCLEX is PREPARATION. But when is the best time to start preparing?
Preparing for the NCLEX exam starts the moment you walk into Nursing School and sit at your desk. Because the NCLEX is the final determining factor whether you will become a nurse, it makes sense that you should start thinking about it and preparing for it from the very beginning. Remember, the NCLEX exam is all about critical thinking and decision making, so he earlier you start the easier it becomes as you go, because habits take time to develop.
So how do you prepare for the NCLEX while in school?
- Master the content: Make sure you pay attention in class and learn the content as it's taught. If you don't understand something, ask, don't wait until the information has built up to unmanageable proportions before asking for help. You'll end up feeling overwhelmed.
- Practice thinking like a nurse. As you take in the content, think of patient scenarios and how what you're learning applies practically to those situations. Your instructors will often bring these scenarios up in class, so pay attention.
- Use your clinical sessions as learning times. This goes in tandem with the point above. While learning skills, pay attention also to how nursing decisions are made by the nurses and how your instructor critiques your decisions. Watch how tasks are prioritized and how tasks are delegated. This is crucial thinking at work.
- Practicing NCLEX-type questions from the very beginning. Get some good NCLEX review books that have the content arranged by topic, that way you can concentrate on the topics as you learn them and answer questions that are relevant to what you are learning. As you practice answering questions, it will become easier to think like an NCLEX candidate.
Remember that you're not just preparing for an exam, but for the rest of your career as a nurse. The things that you're learning now will carry you for the rest of your career. Thinking along these lines will help you persevere when the going gets tough and you feel like you can't study anymore.
NCLEX Success Tips - Between Graduation and Taking the NCLEX
The Intense NCLEX Preparation Time
So now you've graduated and it's time to prepare to take the NCLEX. Here are some pointers for you:
- Don't wait too long to take the NCLEX. Generally, the sooner you take it the better, because the material is fresh in your mind.
- Take a Review Class. Review classes are helpful because they condense the material and bring out the most pertinent information. There are many review classes out there, including Kaplan (which has a money-back guarantee if you don't pass!). Ask your faculty what class they recommend.
- Practice, Practice, Practice. Get a hold of NCLEX review books with questions and practice daily. Answer the questions and then go over them and read the rationales to understand the answers.
- Practice taking computerized exams.Both the Kaplan review program and the ATI program have computerized practice tests that will help familiarize you with taking exams on a computer.
Useful NCLEX books - Books to help you prepare for the NCLEX
This lens is in no way affiliated to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. , and all views represented herein do not in any way represent official information from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. . You may not hold the author of this page, or the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. liable for any consequences that may arise from using the information on this page.
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