By Alice Johnson-Davis, RN, MSN

If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 of this article for the first three tips for preparing for the NCLEX. Here’s a refresher course before we dive into the next three tips:

  1. Access the NCSBN (National Council of State Boards of Nursing) to understand the concept of the NCLEX exam.
  2. Gain information about the NCLEX exam from the NCSBN.
  3. Ask yourself, how do I learn best?

Now, let’s continue…

4. Finalize your preparation methods and materials

If at any point you have questions or confusion about how to go about your preparation, don’t wait until it is too late to seek help or resources. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Seek out friends who have recently (within 6 months) taken and passed the NCLEX for their recommendation of preparation material.
  • Seek out information about in-person class presentations or online self-study.  The internet provides a wealth of information on these resources.
  • Several self-study programs provide a “free trial” for a limited time.  This is an excellent opportunity to review how information is presented, the visual graphics utilized and the resources provided. 

5. Engage in studying

Now that you have laid the groundwork for the “how”, it’s time to start doing. 

  • Set a time frame for when you wish to take the NCLEX.
  •  Determine your study schedule that will allow for work and family time/commitments.

6. Determine the role of additional resources in your study plan

At times, you may be listening to the instructor, reading the rationales, looking at the graphics, gaining content information from an online program, but you just aren’t “getting” the concept that is leading to the correct answer. Now what?

  • As a supplement, YouTube videos are a valuable assistive tool.  They can be very straightforward, include bare-bones information, and often contain a live demonstration.
  •  Use the internet to look up words that you do not know the definition of or cannot understand the context in which the word is being used.  You may read several pieces of information from different sites to enhance your understanding.  Repetition is the key to learning and this is a great resource.

For even more tips for preparing for the NCLEX, stay tuned for Part 3 for the last three tips on preparing for the NCLEX.

About the Author


Alice’s career as a registered nurse has spanned more than four decades, and she has found professional success in many different aspects of nursing. After obtaining a BSN and MSN, she worked as a critical care nurse, taught nursing at a collegiate level, worked with international nurses to help them prepare for NCLEX success, and has mentored thousands of young nurses.  In her personal life, she enjoys taking Pilates, gardening, and traveling to experience new adventures with her husband, Tom, and daughter, Austin.