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You’ve completed your degree and now only one thing stands in the way of you becoming a registered nurse: the NCLEX exam.

Following these NCLEX study strategies as well as your own personal study strategies will help you feel confident on test day– and on your way to becoming a licensed nurse!

  1. Create a study plan and stick to it.

    Creating a study plan that you can stick to will help you adequately prepare for the test. Remember that you’ve been preparing for this test since you began nursing school. Use your knowledge of how you’ve studied for big exams in the past, and factor in other commitments to develop a schedule that works best for you.

  2. Familiarize yourself with the test format.

    The NCLEX tests your knowledge in four major areas: safe effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity. The questions, however, are presented in a random order.

    The exam can  be tricky since there are many different question types, including multiple choice, multiple response, fill-in-the-blank, hot spot, exhibit, drag-and-drop/ordered response, and audio.

    Read each question thoroughly and find the best answer by analyzing answer choices and specific words used in the question.

  3. Take a prep course.

    Taking a prep course helps you review the base content in a focused way to help improve your quality of studying. Peterson’s offers an NCLEX online prep course that contain interactive lessons while allowing for the flexibility of your schedule.

  4. Use practice tests.

    Working through practice tests help you understand and prepare for the type of questions you can expect on the exam. Practice tests also help you simulate the actual testing experience under timed conditions.

    Check out Peterson’s NCLEX practice tests to help you prepare for the NCLEX exam.

  5. Review key test elements.

    Reviewing study materials that you received while in school, such as study guides, class notes, and previous tests, will help refresh your memory of key topics that will be on the NCLEX. Peterson’s online prep course and practice tests will also help test your knowledge, solidify concepts, and make you feel prepared for test day.

  6. Relax the night before the test.

    Using the knowledge you’ve already gained and reviewed to the fullest extent, take a day of rest to help set you up for success. Relaxing the night before taking the NCLEX will help prepare you to take the exam from a calm and thoughtful state of mind.

  7. Arrive prepared for the exam.

    Plan extra time to arrive at the testing center so you feel relaxed and not rushed. Make sure to eat and hydrate prior to the exam so you can perform at your optimum level.

  8. Maintain a good test-taking pace.

    You have approximately five hours to complete the exam. When reviewing a question, eliminate all of the options you can, choose the best answer, and move on. Don’t spend too much time on each question, and maintain a healthy test-taking pace. If you run out of time, don’t guess the answers. Guessing on a computer-adaptive test (CAT) may actually lower your score.

Prepare for your NCLEX exam with test prep from Peterson’s!

RELATED: Peterson’s Launches NCLEX-PN Exam Prep Video Series

Download the NCLEX Study Guide.

NCLEX Study Guide