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Tips and Tricks to Prepare for the NCLEX

You're sitting at a cheap, wooden desk in a dark cave. The hood of your sweatshirt surrounds your face. Hours have gone by, but luckily the library is open 24 hours a day. At this point you've read the same question at least four times, not actually retaining the words. "When am I ever going to actually use this?" you complain to yourself. You are a nursing major, and you reluctantly began to study for the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) just a few days before exam day.

The NCLEX, contrary to popular belief, is not intended to make your life miserable. It is strictly intended for safety, especially for first-year nurses. The NCLEX tests students on what they need to know and do to be safe.

Here are six tips and tricks for preparing for the NCLEX, assembled with help from Corrine Floyd MSN, RN, senior clinical instructor at Columbia College.

  1. It is best to study in chunks while going through the program. Mastering particular subjects along the way is much better than cramming a week in advance.
  2. Many nursing students like to study with other students, while some like to study alone. There are also a variety of studying styles you can try, so figure out which method is best for you. If you didn't do well studying a certain way the first time, try a different study method the next time.
  3. There are multitudes of online resources to help you study. Columbia College's program supplies resources such as the HESI and Kaplan University NCLEX preparation course. Nursing faculty also recommend studying additional online resources and books to assist with retention of the material.
  4. Make sure to eat healthily and sleep well the night before the exam. Try some de-stressing techniques like meditation or a little exercise.
  5. On exam day be sure to read your test day literature, but leave everything in your car. Make sure to go to the bathroom before you start the exam, take some relaxing breaths and stay positive. 
  6. Absolutely do not go out with friends or family the night before the exam. Some students prefer to do a final study session alone the night before the NCLEX, and may choose to stay in a hotel room to avoid any distractions.

By following these tips, you'll avoid studying like a caveman in the library on the nights leading up to your exam. Ultimately, that will lead to better results, and a better start to your nursing career!

This article was written by Hannah Huedpohl.

After spending a year and a half at the University of Missouri, Hannah decided to continue her studies at Columbia College. She will graduate in December 2016 with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing. Hannah likes the outdoors, musical instruments and dogs.

Time Management, Degrees, Columbia College

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