The National Council Licensure Examination® (NCLEX) is no joke and adequate NCLEX review shouldn’t be taken lightly. Most nurses agree it's the most difficult exam of their careers, but by preparing for the NCLEX ahead of time and with purpose, you could be one of the nursing students to wake up on exam day feeling confident and excited to begin the next chapter of your journey.
What's the best NCLEX review strategy? Prepping as early as day 1 of your nursing program
Even with copious amounts of NCLEX test prep questions, study guides, cheat sheets, and resources available to nursing students, most end up waiting until months or even weeks before to start preparing. The life of a nursing student is stressful enough, and it can be difficult to shake the stresses of the looming NCLEX, so do yourself a favor and start early. Like, Day-1 of nursing school.
You know it’ll be tough. You know you should prepare. But with the right preparation, passing the NCLEX is absolutely doable for every nursing school student. As long as you put in a good amount of targeted, strategic studying, you should be good to go on this binary pass/fail exam.
In 2017, a total of 157,720 U.S. education RN candidates sat down for the NCLEX, with a first-time NCLEX pass rate at about 87%. When the 41,411 people who didn’t pass the first time around took the test again, about 45% of them passed. Even if you don’t pass NCLEX the first time around, you can always take the test again after 45 days. But you cannot understand the importance of preparing for the NCLEX early.
Focus on familiarity
Although we recommend students start studying for the NCLEX and plan their NCLEX review as early as possible, it’s important to remember you won’t be a pro right out of the gate. Be okay with getting practice questions wrong, and take the time to learn from them. The true purpose behind studying early is to familiarize yourself with NCLEX-style questions. It’s more about understanding the thought process behind the exam questions, which can be completely different than what you’re used to. The content will come with time, focus on strengthening your critical thinking skills to become more effective as picking out the best answer to each question.
Hone your clinical reasoning skills
Preparing to become competent, confident nurses requires far more than just mastering facts and information. You need learning experiences that teach you to think on your feet and use your clinical reasoning skills to make sound clinical decisions in the midst of conflicting priorities.
The items in the NCLEX are designed to focus on ideal practice, which is not always what the nurse will experience in reality. This is where nurses must use their clinical reasoning skills. Many nursing curricula begin clinical experiences within the first nursing course. Still, there can be disconnects in many content areas. But we’ve got our top 10 ways you can build your clinical reasoning skills here.
The best NCLEX test prep solution
What really helps students adequately prepare for the NCLEX with confidence is an adaptive learning platform that meets students where they are at. In fact, adaptive quizzing is a low-stakes measure of NCLEX mastery. And with proven adaptive learning systems like Lippincott PassPoint, that’s easier than ever to do. In fact, 92% of all nursing students who have used adaptive learning love it!
Lippincott PassPoint is an industry leading learning platform designed to help students with NCLEX exam prep by offering adaptive practice quizzes simulated in the actual NCLEX test format. And guess what, students who take advantage of the Lippincott PassPoint learning system have a 93.70% NCLEX-RN pass rate—which is about 7% higher than the national average of 86.65%. If those numbers aren’t enough to encourage long-term exam prep, check out these raving testimonials by actual students who made PassPoint a core part of their coursework.
There can be feelings of apprehension around what the actual exam will be like on test day. With PassPoint, you can take unlimited simulated exams full of questions designed by the people who make the actual exam. That sort of preparation is invaluable, and removing worry about the exam format will help you walk out of the exam room with your head held high.
Adaptive learning, how you want it
You’ll hear it in the reviews, but nursing students love being able to study on their own time, on the device they prefer, using PassPoint for their NCLEX review. Reviewing practice questions here and there when you have a few minutes can be a great way to keep topics fresh in your mind, and when you have the time, you can sit down and work through tests simulating actual NCLEX exams, with instant feedback.
Not only is Lippincott PassPoint available across platforms, but the 12,000+ questions and materials presented are completely adaptive - meaning they adjust to your learning level and provides valuable insights on why questions were right or wrong, so you’re able to learn and gain experience as you practice. This means you can start preparing for the NCLEX early in your nursing program even if you don’t feel confident that you’ve been taught everything you need to know. Plus, with personalized reports detailing your progress, you can quickly identify which areas to focus your studies.
The best time to start is now
If you stay disciplined and consistent in the months (even years) leading up to the NCLEX exam, it’ll be nothing out of the ordinary come exam day. PassPoint isn’t a hack to passing the exam; it’s the best test prep for NCLEX, giving students all of the resources they need to feel confident about rocking the exam. If you made it this far, you’ll likely find value in the Lippincott PassPoint question of the day. You can sign up for it here, and after doing so you’ll receive a sample NCLEX question delivered to your inbox every day. Set yourself up for success with Lippincott PassPoint!