Becoming a Nurse

Your NCLEX Preparation Guide

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So you’ve found the perfect ABSN program, started your coursework and are developing your nursing skills in labs and clinicals. It seems like the only major thing left standing between you and your future career as a nurse is the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN®.

At first glance, the exam may seem daunting, but we’re here to help answer all your NCLEX questions and make sure you have everything you need on your NCLEX preparation journey.

All nursing students must take the NCLEX to receive licensure to become a practicing nurse. The Notre Dame of Maryland University Accelerated 2nd Degree Nursing program excels at preparing our students to pass: the first-time NCLEX pass rate for NDMU ABSN students in 2019 was 91.3%, above the national average.

Did you know 6 million nursing students have taken the NCLEX since April 1994?

NCLEX Questions: What to Expect

While we can’t give you an overview of exactly which questions are going to be on the NCLEX, we can give you a leg up on what kind of topics to expect. Keep In mind the NCLEX includes answers to some questions that are all correct, and you’ll have to choose the most correct response. Luckily, you’ll have about five hours to take the test, so be sure to think through each one thoroughly.

1. Managing Care

The NCLEX will test your ability to prioritize patient care, create a safe patient care setting, and respond to urgent situations.

2. Allergies and Illness

Some questions will give you hypothetical patient information that you will have to treat diagnostically. The patient could be suffering from allergies, illness or disease. Knowing how to diagnose a patient will show up in many different forms on the test.

3. Communication

As a nurse, communication is key. The NCLEX will ask questions that test your ability to gather information, provide advice and support, and relay findings. It’ll also challenge you to overcome situations that may be tense — such as dealing with upset or unruly patients.

4. Safety and Sanitation

Making patients feel safe and supported is the mark of any good nurse. As such, you’ll be asked about sanitation procedures and best practices for treating a diverse group of people tactfully.  

5. Terminology, Equipment and Procedures

As a health care provider, you’ll work with many different medical tools every day. The NCLEX will test your knowledge about what each tool is, what it’s for, and when to use it.

three NDMU nursing students with lab coats working with a simulation manikin

Of course, this is just a broad list of the things you’ll encounter while taking the NCLEX. For a more in-depth look at test questions, we recommend taking a practice exam.

Preparing for the NCLEX

One of the best ways to be sure you’re ready for the NCLEX is to take a practice exam. Taking a practice test can help you understand the pace and structure of the test and lower any test anxiety you might have.

There are lots of free resources available to help you prepare for the NCLEX.

You can take multiple practice exams until you feel comfortable; it’s a good way to review questions you’ve missed and identify which areas you may need to focus on.

There are some free practice exams online, and others available to purchase through the National Counsel State Boards of Nursing, or NCSBN.

Here are more tips to be as prepared as possible for the NCLEX:

Give yourself enough time to prepare

To give yourself ample time to study, you’ll want to start preparing for the NCLEX about six months in advance. You cannot study for the NCLEX in one week. If you want the best shot at doing well, you’ll need about 26 weeks to really dive in and understand everything that will be asked of you during the exam.

Join a study group

Studying with your peers can maximize your study experience and bring you closer to your cohort. Having some support from other students who are facing the same upcoming challenge as you can also be comforting. Plus, with a group, you can create study games, hear different perspectives, and quiz each other on the more challenging topics.

Are you ready to start accelerated nursing school?

If your calling is to become a nurse, the NCLEX is just one more stepping stone to take on your way to a fulfilling career.

Are you feeling more prepared about passing the NCLEX exam and embarking on your nursing future? Then you’re ready to begin your nursing journey at Notre Dame of Maryland University’s ABSN program, which offers both on campus and online-based delivery modalities. 

Contact us today to learn more about our accelerated BSN programs in Baltimore.

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