12 Do's and Don'ts for a Successful NCLEX Exam
Are you anxious about the NCLEX Exam and unsure how to boost your confidence in preparing for it? Then worry no more. We've compiled a list of twelve dos and don'ts to help you prepare for and pass the NCLEX RN exam. So sit back, take a deep breath, and read the NCLEX tips below.
Don’t freak out
You've already gotten through the difficult part – Nursing School and taking your local board exam. If you're taking the RN test, you'll have six hours to complete the NCLEX, so you'll have plenty of time. What's one more test about assistive devices, contraindications, and pathophysiology after you've already taken so many? You've got this covered.
Trying to cram huge amounts of data into your brain at the last minute is a sure way to fail. Whether or not you have already learned the information, trying to cram benefits nobody and holds no value other than giving you a false sense of security about how you will perform on the test.
Review your NCLEX exam notes
This one follows on the heels of "Avoid Cramming" for a reason: reviewing your NCLEX RN notes for weeks, if not months, before your test date is critical to your NCLEX success. Several test takers who passed on their first try say they began studying for the exam at least a month in advance.
Everyone has unique ways of studying or reviewing the NCLEX exam, so find a system that works for you. Whether that means blocking out an hour every day to review all day, the key is finding and using a method of studying that will help you effectively review the material.
Make a study group
Study groups are excellent places to review, consult, and theoretically apply all of the information you've been reviewing with others in your situation. Having people review the test with you allows for a great place to talk about things you're unsure about, help others clear up their misunderstandings, and generally get a better sense of the scope of the information. As the saying goes, "two is better than one."
Start working on your NCLEX Practice Exam
Practice tests to help you fill up knowledge gaps and learn more over time. There are several excellent NCLEX practice exams available, so get a few and start working through them. Practice not only tests your ability to remember and apply the knowledge you've mastered, but it also prepares your body and mind for what to expect on exam day. The more you can do to familiarize yourself with the experience of taking the NCLEX ahead of time, the better you'll do on the actual test.
Make sure you get enough rest
Don't be the person who struggles to get through your NCLEX exam because you can't stay awake. Make sure to have plenty of rest, not just the night before. To be well-rested, you must have at least a few nights in a row of long periods of proper sleep, so do whatever it takes to ensure this occurs. A well-rested mind and body are essential for recalling and applying all of the information you've worked so hard to review for so long.
Don't go into your exam hungry
This is just as vital as getting enough rest: don't go hungry. Don't feast yourself on a huge plate of comfort food just before the test; instead, make sure you're not hungry and won't grow hungry during it. Prepare a healthy meal ahead of time and bring a snack with you. You are given a scheduled break two hours into the test, so make use of it to refuel so you can resume testing sharp as ever.
Do not avoid thoughts about the test day
Go ahead and consider it. We sometimes avoid thinking about things that bother us to put them off or prevent anxiety. However, significant events, such as taking the NCLEX, necessitate some thought, and you'll likely feel more prepared if you think about it more. So go ahead and consider the following:
- What requirements/materials should I bring before the test admission?
- When I arrive at the testing center, what rules and policies should I be aware of?
- How long can I set my pace in completing the NCLEX exam?
Consider each point that comes to mind, write it down, and stop worrying about things you can plan for right now!
Do not read quickly as if you already know the answer
If you've ever been advised to slow down, you should keep that saying in mind when taking the NCLEX. Some are strategic and cautious, but when it comes to taking the most crucial test of our lives against the clock, we all tend to fly through the questions that look familiar. The NCLEX is a killer for those who move quickly instinctively, and it will challenge you if you move too quickly.
Go over the questions again. Assume you have no idea what the answer is.
Do not compare the NCLEX to the tests you took in local board exams
Did you do well on your local board exams? Great! Prepare for a new standard of success because the NCLEX is an entirely different ballgame. Just because you did well enough in your local board exam does not guarantee that you will do well on this one. Unlike nursing school exams, which assess knowledge, the NCLEX assesses your ability to apply and analyze situations using your nursing knowledge from school. This test places a greater emphasis on reasoning and critical thinking rather than rote memory, making it even more tough and thorough.
Mentally and physically prepare yourself
Before any major test, it is critical to make healthy choices to prepare you mentally and physically for the exam. Mentally preparing for the test also entails giving yourself plenty of time to practice for it, so carve out time for a few final study sessions to avoid cramming right before the test.
Plan the route and arrive early
Make sure you'd know where you're going a couple of days before the test. Nothing compares to the kind of anxiety you feel when you're lost and trying to find your way to the most important test of your life. Allow plenty of time to get there in case of delays caused by traffic or bad weather. Show up at your NCLEX testing center at least 30 minutes before your scheduled testing time.
Have faith in yourself! You've gone a long way and proven your worth by graduating from nursing school and taking your local board exam. Soar high, future #USRNs.
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