The first and biggest secret to passing the NCLEX is PREPARATION. But when is the best time to start preparing?
Preparing for the NCLEX exam starts the moment you walk into Nursing School and sit at your desk. Because the NCLEX is the final determining factor whether you will become a nurse, it makes sense that you should start thinking about it and preparing for it from the very beginning. Remember, the NCLEX exam is all about critical thinking and decision making, so he earlier you start the easier it becomes as you go, because habits take time to develop.
So how do you prepare for the NCLEX while in school?
- Master the content: Make sure you pay attention in class and learn the content as it’s taught. If you don’t understand something, ask, don’t wait until the information has built up to unmanageable proportions before asking for help. You’ll end up feeling overwhelmed.
- Practice thinking like a nurse. As you take in the content, think of patient scenarios and how what you’re learning applies practically to those situations. Your instructors will often bring these scenarios up in class, so pay attention.
- Use your clinical sessions as learning times. This goes in tandem with the point above. While learning skills, pay attention also to how nursing decisions are made by the nurses and how your instructor critiques your decisions. Watch how tasks are prioritized and how tasks are delegated. This is crucial thinking at work.
- Practicing NCLEX-type questions from the very beginning. Get some good NCLEX review books that have the content arranged by topic, that way you can concentrate on the topics as you learn them and answer questions that are relevant to what you are learning. As you practice answering questions, it will become easier to think like an NCLEX candidate.