Planning and Studying for the NCLEX Examination: By Joy Seymour, MSN, RN, PHN


People who are successful are more likely to tell you that before they became successful they had the belief that they would succeed in their set goals. In other words, they made a conscious decision to believe that they were capable of achieving their goals. They were determined to win and planned to win. Therefore, if you want to be successful in passing the NCLEX exam, you must be determined to pass it and you must have a plan to be successful in this exam.

It is imperative to develop a suitable plan that will help you to achieve your goal of passing the NCLEX exam. It is vital that your plan is specific, measurable, realistic, achievable, and time-based (SMART). Your plan should fit into your personal, work, and or school life. If your plan is to pass the NCLEX examination, you may determine the following:

  • How many hours will you study daily or weekly?
  • How many pages of content will you read?
  • How many strategies will you practice?
  • How many NCLEX type questions will you work on each day?
  • How often will you take a break?
  • How many weeks after graduation will you study before taking the NCLEX examination?

Having a suitable and consistent place to study is important to achieving the most out of your study sessions. Choose a well lit room or area that is free from distractions to study. Use this area to study only. Try not to sleep, watch TV, or play games in this space. Whenever, you enter this room or space for studying, you should use the time for studying only.

When you have set your study time, try to adhere to it.  Make studying a priority. Remember to study both content and strategies when you are preparing for your NCLEX exam.

Remember to schedule breaks into your study time. Research studies have shown that people are more likely to understand and remember what they have studied if they study in segments and take breaks. Examples: Taking a 5 minute break after every 30 minutes of study time or taking a 10 minute break after every 50 minutes of study time.

If possible, it is best to study during the time when you are most alert:  If you feel more energize in the morning, this may be the better time to study; on the other hand, if you are more invigorated in the evening, this may be the better time to study.

Overcome procrastination by following your study plan. Make a conscious decision to stick to your plan and do it, even if you do not feel like studying. Keep the goal of becoming a licensed nurse before you at all times. You may need to make a picture board of your goal and place it in your study area, so that you can be reminded of why you need to work on your plan so that you can be successful in passing your NCLEX exam.

Plan to take your examination within 59 days after graduation. Research studies have shown that students who take the NCLEX examination sooner than later after graduation are more likely to be successful on the examination. Literature review shows that the average wait time for some students after graduation is 45 days.

I am encouraging you to stick to your study plan and if you do not have a plan as yet, create one and stick to it.

I wish you tremendous success.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Start a Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: