How To Study NCLEX PN: Study Tips and Exam Preparation

Studying for NCLEX PN with illuminated ideas.
Effective preparation for NCLEX PN.

Studying for the NCLEX PN exam? You’re not alone in this journey; we’ve got your back! In this blog, we’ll share battle-tested study tips and strategies on how to study for NCLEX PN that have helped countless aspiring practical nurses like you pass and excel in the NCLEX PN exam. 

NCLEX PN Study Plan

Preparing for the NCLEX PN requires a well-thought-out study plan. It’s not a test you can cram for the night before and hope for the best. The first step is understanding what the NCLEX PN exam is all about.

The NCLEX PN, or National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses, is a standardized test determining whether you’re ready to become a licensed practical nurse in the United States. The exam is designed to assess your knowledge, skills, and abilities to ensure you can provide safe and effective patient care.

how to study for NCLEX PN

It’s a computer-adaptive test (CAT), which means that the difficulty of the questions adjusts as you progress through the exam. It consists of multiple-choice questions and alternative item formats like select all that apply and fill-in-the-blank questions. Your performance is evaluated based on the difficulty level of the questions you answer correctly.

The NCLEX PN is a make-or-break test for your nursing career. A passing score is required for licensure; with it, you can practice as a practical nurse. It’s essential to be well-prepared to ensure your success on exam day.

Study Resources

Books and chalkboard for NCLEX PN prep.
NCLEX PN prep with books and a green board.

When preparing for the NCLEX PN, having the proper study resources is crucial. Let’s explore the key elements that will make your study journey effective.

Recommended Study Materials

To get started, you’ll need the suitable study materials. Look for textbooks, online courses, and other resources designed explicitly for NCLEX PN preparation. These materials should cover the core content areas and provide practice questions that mimic the exam format.

Recommended Guide on Question Varieties

Official Study Guides

Pay attention to the importance of official study guides. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) provides a valuable resource for the NCLEX-PN Examination Candidate Bulletin. It explains the exam’s format rules and even offers practice questions. Familiarizing yourself with this official guide can give you an edge in your preparation.

Official NCSBN Study Resources

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Personalised study plan and expert NCLEX tutoring with regular feedback and progress updates

Realistic Practice Questions

Practice makes perfect, and this holds for the NCLEX PN. Seek free practice questions NCLEX that closely mimic the questions you’ll encounter on the exam. Many review books and online platforms offer question banks that allow you to gauge your readiness. Solving these questions will test your knowledge and help you get comfortable with the exam’s format.

Now that you have the right study resources to help you on how to study for NCLEX, we’ll dive into effective study techniques in the next section. Studying is about what you have and how you use it.

Effective Study Techniques

Studying for the NCLEX PN is a significant undertaking, and effective study techniques can make all the difference in your preparation.

Active Learning Methods

  1. Flashcards and Mnemonics: Use flashcards to condense important information into bite-sized pieces. Mnemonics, or memory aids, are great for remembering complex concepts. For example, “Never Eat Soggy Waffles” is a mnemonic to remember the cardinal directions (North, East, South, West).
  1. Teaching Others: Explaining a topic to someone else is one of the most effective ways to learn. You gain a deeper understanding by teaching, and it helps reinforce your memory.

Handling Complex Topics

  1. Break It Down: When faced with a complex topic, break it down into smaller, manageable sections. Focus on one aspect at a time and gradually combine the pieces.
  1. Visual Aids: Visual representations like diagrams and flowcharts can simplify complex information. Use colors and illustrations to make it more engaging and more accessible to remember.

Now that you have effective study techniques in your arsenal, you’re better equipped to tackle the NCLEX PN material. The following section will guide you through test-taking strategies to help you perform at your best on exam day.

1-1 NCLEX Tutoring
Personalised study plan and expert NCLEX tutoring with regular feedback and progress updates

Last Minute NCLEX Tips

The NCLEX PN exam is just around the corner, and preparing for it is crucial. Let’s explore the strategies to help you perform at your best on exam day.

Test-Taking Strategies

  1. Time Management: Time is of the essence in the NCLEX PN exam. Practice with time constraints during your study sessions to get used to the pace. In the actual exam, allocate a specific time for each question and stick to it.
  2. Read Questions Carefully: The exam questions can be tricky, and the correct answer is sometimes hidden in the details. Read each question carefully, and ensure you understand what is being asked before selecting your solution.
  3. Process of Elimination: If you’re unsure of an answer, use the process of elimination. Cross out the choices you know are incorrect, narrowing down your options and increasing your chances of selecting the correct answer.

Last-Minute Review Tips

Dedicated student reading NCLEX PN study guides.
Last-minute revision for the NCLEX PN.
  1. Review Key Concepts: In the days leading up to the exam, focus on reviewing key concepts and areas where you might need extra reinforcement.
  2. Stay Calm and Rest: On the eve of the exam, ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Relaxation and a clear mind are your allies on exam day.

With these test-taking strategies and last minute NCLEX tips, you’ll be better prepared to confidently tackle the NCLEX PN. Success is within reach.


Your journey towards NCLEX success starts with adequate preparation including how to study for NCLEX PN. We understand the importance of this particular exam and the dedication it demands. That’s why we’re here to help you every step of the way.

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Q1: What is the passing score for the NCLEX PN exam, and how is it determined?

Answer: The passing score for the NCLEX PN exam isn’t a fixed number. It’s a variable score that depends on your performance during the exam. The computer-adaptive test (CAT) format of the NCLEX PN adjusts the difficulty of the questions based on your responses. To pass, you must consistently perform at or above the minimum passing standard set by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). In essence, the exam ends when it’s clear you’ve either passed or failed based on the difficulty level of the questions you’ve answered correctly.

Q2: How often can I take the NCLEX PN if I don’t pass on my first attempt?

Answer: If you don’t pass the NCLEX PN on your first attempt, don’t worry. You can reapply and retake the exam. However, some time restrictions vary by state. In most states, you can retake the exam after a 45-day wait. The NCSBN allows you to attempt the exam up to 8 times a year, but most states have additional regulations, so be sure to check with your specific state’s nursing board for exact details.

Q3: What should I do if I experience technical issues during the NCLEX PN exam?

Answer: Technical issues during the NCLEX PN exam can be stressful, but there are steps to follow. If you encounter problems, notify the test center staff immediately. They will document the issue. In some cases, the exam may be rescheduled or a refund issued. If your problems are due to computer malfunctions, you may be allowed to complete the exam on a different computer. Always promptly communicate issues to the testing center staff to ensure a smooth resolution.

Q4: Is the NCLEX PN indeed more challenging than the NCLEX RN?

Answer: The difficulty of the NCLEX PN vs. NCLEX RN is a common question. While both exams aim to assess your nursing knowledge, the content and focus differ. The NCLEX RN covers a broader range of nursing topics and is typically seen as more challenging due to its complexity. The NCLEX PN, on the other hand, is designed specifically for practical/vocational nurses and focuses on more fundamental nursing care tasks. The perception of which is more complex may vary from person to person, but the key is to prepare well for the one that matches your nursing career path.

Q5: Can I use a calculator during the NCLEX PN exam?

Answer: No, the NCLEX PN exam does not allow using calculators. You’ll need to perform calculations manually if required during the exam. The test will provide an essential on-screen calculator tool for simple measures. Brushing up on basic math skills for drug dosage calculations and other relevant areas is crucial.

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