How To Pass The NCLEX


Would you study for 72 hours straight prior to an exam or in four-hour intervals over a two-month period for a very tedious exam such as the NCLEX?

Studies show that instead of an all-out marathon session, a staggered regular study period is more effective compared to the former. Not only that, varying your learning style is another key to successfully ace any exam.


This keeps the doldrums of laborious studying out of the door.  From time to time you could switch from solitary reading to group discussions which enables you to have the best of both worlds: getting insights from independent studying and getting other insights from the things your other group mates have tackled.


If you find it hard to organize your study habits, here are some tips to facilitate easier studying:


First of all, it’s important to take responsibility for yourself and for everything you do.


You can’t expect to graduate from nursing school and abandon all the books you’ve had for four years and expect a brilliant serial recall of the books you’ve had for four years six days before the NCLEX exam. 


Second, know your priorities and take it from there. In short, learn to focus.  You don’t have to be a genius to achieve stellar heights just to pass the NCLEX.  You can be very conventional and normal and still pass this stringent exam.  The secret is to know how to set your priorities by not letting friends or acquaintances dictate your life.  Sometimes learning how to say “no” to partying and therefore, no to booze for a few months can lead you to victory.


The third key to success is knowing yourself.


Learn how to determine your peak periods of the day whether it’s in the wee hours of the morning, afternoon or late in the evening.  Maintain a regular study hour. Work to your strengths, not your weaknesses.


Fourth, the NCLEX review should be a review in the literal sense.  This is no time to learn topics for the first time.  You should have had it in your undergrad years.  Nothing to fret though, if in case you encounter some difficulties in understanding material, learn by writing and progress from simple to complex. 


Practice makes Perfect as the adage goes.  Similarily, the other flip adage would be the ‘5 P’s’ – Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!


Another generic review strategy is this: ASPIRE.  This acronym stands for Approach (also a variation for attitude and arrange), Select (also stands for study and survey), Put aside, Investigate, Reflect and Evaluate.


It’s a prerequisite of study courses to hold a very positive and can-do attitude before you embark on this task.  Selecting the bulk of your study materials is also imperative to success; being organized helps.  Piecing together means the ability to summarize everything you studied alone or in groups.


Learning to retrace your steps is a key skill here.  Always investigate the materials you never understand.  Make a list of key terms that seem out of your league.  Investigate. 


Reflect on the contents and know how to apply material to the real world and trying to relay this knowledge to other people will make you twice as successful as the others.  Evaluating means the ability to synthesize everything on the review process-- from plotting out your development to making a pattern for improvement.


That’s the highest level in the higher order thinking skills. The good news is, you’re getting there. Everything is in order and you’re quite set to take the NCLEX. As long as the panic attacks are'nt there to get you, the bottom line is - always know your stuff. (Check out these NCLEX study guides - good enough to make sure your panic attack never has a chance of appearing!)


Or as the Special Forces say – “Train Hard – Fight Easy”!!


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