Ultimate Guide to Survive Nursing School and NCLEX

What an exciting time! You have been accepted to nursing school. But, let’s be honest it’s kind of a nightmare. Everything you learned about test taking goes out the window. You have to cram a bunch of information in a few days. You went from having one correct answer, to TWO possible correct answers but one is “more” correct.  And don’t get me started on select all that apply questions where it can be only one or all options that can apply. Huh?! Here’s how to help you with the adjustments.
Find out what kind of learner you are: visual, auditory, or hands on. Look up new ways to understand the information. Sometimes it can feel like learning a foreign language in class and then hearing it from a different perspective at home can really change things. I am pretty much an all around learner but mainly hands on but you can’t always be present in the clinical setting. I found that reading the content aloud helped me to internalize the information or looking at videos online. Michael Linares Simple Nursing  Search any topic related to exams. There are charts you can draw out as he goes along and make your own summarized study guide. He simplifies all things “nursing”.
Make a study group and divide certain sections to make a study guide based on what you have read and researched from the text books or in class power points. Combine your efforts together and it cuts your study time significantly. If you work in the medical setting do not try to apply your experience to anything from school. Real life medicine isn’t usually from the books they standardize lesson plans from.
Answering questions:
“Kaplan Decision Tree” is the best thing you can memorize. It is mainly used for the NCLEX but can definitely be applied to school as well. There is no possible way you can learn everything about nursing. So learning how to break down the questions to an answer that makes sense to what the question is truly asking. I didn’t learn about it until I graduated and this was a key factor in passing my NCLEX on the first try. I got ALL 265 questions.
Here is the 5 step breakdown:
Print this image and keep it near you when practicing questions for school or the NCLEX. With time you will break the steps down on your own and it will become second nature.
NCLEX Preparation: 
You have finally finished the torturous process. You are graduated and now it’s time for your boards.
TIP: Relax until you get your access to schedule your test date.
It is usually 2 weeks to a month after you graduate. Clear your mind. You just went to school taking tests practically every week.
Use UWORLD or Kaplan NCLEX Preparation. I personally found that UWORLD looked more like the NCLEX and the rationales are extremely helpful. Practice doing a certain amount of questions in one sitting. Starting with 75 as the least possible amount you can have and working your way up to 265. Spending a few hours 4-5 days a week until test day comes.
Relax the day before you take your test. Get a massage, go to a yoga class, do what makes you happy. And the day of your test prepare yourself the same way you studied each day. Don’t add anything new to your routine. Evidence shows your test scores are better when you keep the same routine you study with.
Good Luck and happy studying.
Whenever you feel like your goals are far from your reach, always remember…
“Short term sacrifices for a long term goal”.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Daniel says:

    The Kaplan Decision Tree was a game changer. It was finding an oasis in a barren desert.. And just like that, everything finally made sense! Oddly enough I miss those days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pamela RN says:

    I just love your suggestions and tips.
    Best Nursing Schools California


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