What Are the Best Tips for NCLEX-RN® Prep?

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  • Written By: Susan Abe
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2019
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The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®) is a standardized test that nursing school graduates must take and pass to become licensed to practice as registered nurses (RNs) in the United States. It is a product of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), an organization that also oversees a similar test for practical nurses (PNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs). The NCLEX-RN® is administered by the company Pearson VUE via a computerized system that generates a unique examination for each nursing student as he or she takes the test, so each standardized test is also an individualized examination. The best tips for NCLEX-RN® prep tips include making sure to complete all of the requirements for registering to take the test, using practice tests, reviewing your class notes and textbooks before the exam and arriving at the test center early, well-rested and ready to do your best.

As with all formally administered standardized tests, NCLEX-RN® prep involves completing certain requirements. For RN nursing students, these requirements include successfully graduating from a school of nursing, applying to your state board of nursing for licensure by examination and registering with Pearson VUE to take the examination. Upon completion of these hurdles, you must then confirm with Pearson VUE the examination site at which you choose to test. NCLEX-RN® prep might also include obtaining official photo identification to gain admission to the testing center.


When you have a test center site and appointment date, carefully review the Pearson VUE test center admission requirements. Collect your required forms of identification, your testing admission ticket and directions to the test center. Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your exam time to complete your registration and identity confirmation. Review the test procedure and schedule as outlined by your admission ticket. This careful organization and preparation will help decrease test anxiety and allow your attention to remain on your study for the NCLEX-RN® test.

Your nursing school can also assist you in your NCLEX-RN® prep activities. Some schools have access to computerized practice tests to simulate the experience of the real examination, and most schools can refer you to companies that sell software or book practice exams. The more experience you have in the actual test-taking, the less you will need to concentrate on technical aspects of the examination and the more attention you can pay to answering test questions correctly. If you are already proficient with computerized testing, use this time to review your nursing textbooks and class notes. Look for articles that provide you with test-taking hints and strategies to use when you are unsure of an answer.

Finally, recognize your own test-taking needs, whether they include having a lucky charm or wearing comfortable shoes. Try to get a good night's rest before your test day, and be positive. If you have made yourself familiar with the Pearson VUE testing rules and schedule, computerized testing in general and subject material to be covered in the examination, you can arrive for your nursing boards examination knowing that you have completed your NCLEX-RN® prep activities to the best of your abilities.


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