Passing NCLEX: 10 Expert Tips

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In nursing, teamwork and innovation go hand in hand. 

Getting ready to tackle the NCLEX? You’re not alone. It’s a crucial step on your path to becoming a nurse, and success is non-negotiable. The NCLEX exam is known for being tough, but don’t let that scare you. With the right strategies, you can conquer it.

In this blog, we will equip you with 10 expert tips that have helped countless aspiring nurses pass the NCLEX with flying colors. Whether you’re a nursing student about to graduate or you’ve already faced this beast once and need a second shot, these tips are for you.

So, why wait? Let’s dive into these battle-tested strategies that can make the difference between a passing score and a disappointing setback. Are you ready to pass NCLEX? Read these tips on how to pass the NCLEX.

Tip 1: Know the Exam Format

passing NCLEX
Preparation is the key to success, just as it is for mastering the Next Gen NCLEX format. 

Understanding the Next Gen NCLEX exam format is your first step towards success and an NCLEX pass. Here’s what you need to know:

Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT):

The NCLEX is administered on a computer and adapts to your performance. If you answer a question correctly, the next one will be more challenging. If you answer incorrectly, it adjusts to your level.

Variable Number of Questions:

The exam can have a variable number of questions, typically between 75 and 145. It continues until the computer is confident in assessing your level of competence.

Time Limit:

You have up to six hours to complete the NCLEX, but it’s rare for candidates to use the full-time. Time management is crucial.

Two Main Types of Questions:

The NCLEX presents two primary question types: multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and alternate format questions (such as select-all-that-apply or ordering tasks).

Passing Standard:

There’s no fixed passing score for the NCLEX. The computer determines if you’ve met the passing standard based on your performance throughout the exam.

Preparation is Key:

Knowing the format allows you to prepare effectively. Practice with sample questions in the same format as the real exam to get comfortable with it.

Tip 2: How to Pass NCLEX with Effective Study Plans

how to pass the nuclei
Strategically planning your NCLEX study sessions with a well-structured schedule. 

To conquer the Next Gen NCLEX, a well-structured study plan is your secret weapon. Here’s how to create one:

Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses:

Start by identifying your strong and weak areas. This helps you allocate more time to subjects where you need improvement.

Set Realistic Goals:

Define clear, achievable goals for each study session. Break down your preparation into manageable steps.

Create a Study Schedule:

Establish a study routine that fits your daily life. Consistency is key. Allocate dedicated time for each content area.

Use Reliable Resources:

Invest in high-quality NCLEX prep materials. This includes review books, online courses, and practice exams. Ensure they’re up-to-date with the latest exam format.

Active Learning:

Engage actively with the material. Take notes, make flashcards, and teach the concepts to someone else. Active learning enhances retention.

Practice, Practice, Practice:

Solve plenty of practice questions. This not only tests your knowledge but also familiarizes you with the exam format.

Tip 3: Key Content Areas

When it comes to passing the Next Gen NCLEX, understanding the key content areas is essential. The exam covers a range of topics, and a solid grasp of these areas is your ticket to success.


The NCLEX content can be broadly categorized into four main areas:

Safe and Effective Care Environment:

This section focuses on nursing care that ensures patient safety and quality care delivery. Topics include infection control, safety measures, and ethical nursing practices.

Health Promotion and Maintenance:

Here, you’ll find questions related to promoting and maintaining the health of patients across the lifespan. This covers growth and development, preventive care, and patient education.

Psychosocial Integrity:

This area explores the emotional and psychological aspects of patient care. Topics include therapeutic communication, mental health, and coping mechanisms.

Physiological Integrity:

This is the largest content area, covering various physiological systems in the body. It includes questions about pharmacology, medical-surgical nursing, pediatric and obstetric care, and more.

Tip 4: Practice with Sample Questions for Passing the NCLEX

Practicing with sample questions is a game-changer. Here’s why and how:

  • Familiarity with Exam Format: It acquaints you with the types of questions and the time constraints you’ll face on the NCLEX.
  • Identify Weaknesses: Reviewing your answers helps pinpoint areas where you need improvement.
  • Builds Confidence: Success with NCLEX practice questions boosts your confidence and reduces test anxiety.
  • Adaptive Learning: Some practice exams adapt to your performance, focusing more on your weaker areas.
  • Review Incorrect Answers: Pay special attention to questions you answered incorrectly. Understand the concepts behind them.
  • Timed Practice: Mimic real exam conditions by timing your practice sessions. This helps with time management.
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Tip 5: Test-Taking Strategies

To excel on the NCLEX, it’s essential to employ smart test-taking strategies:

Read Questions Carefully:

Start by thoroughly reading each question. Pay attention to keywords like “not,” “expect,” or “first.”

Process of Elimination:

If you’re unsure, use the process of elimination. Rule out options that are clearly incorrect.

Prioritize Questions:

Don’t get stuck on a single question. If you’re unsure, mark it and move on. Return to it later if time allows.

Use the ABCs:

In prioritization questions, think about Airway, Breathing, and Circulation for patient safety.

Consider the Nursing Process:

Think about the nursing process: Assessment, Diagnosis, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation (ADPIE) when answering questions.

Tip 6: Stress Management

Dealing with exam stress is crucial. Here’s how to manage it effectively:

  • Practice Relaxation Techniques: Deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help calm nerves.
  • Get Adequate Rest: Ensure you’re well-rested before the exam. Lack of sleep can impair your performance.
  • Stay Physically Active: Regular exercise releases endorphins, reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Positive Self-Talk: Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Believe in your abilities.
  • Healthy Diet: Eat nutritious meals and stay hydrated. Avoid excessive caffeine or sugar, which can lead to energy crashes.

Tip 7: NCLEX Resources

Selecting the right Next Gen NCLEX resources is pivotal for success:

NCLEX Review Books:

Invest in reputable review books tailored to the NCLEX. Look for books with practice questions and explanations.

Online Courses:

Consider enrolling in online courses specifically designed for NCLEX preparation. They often offer comprehensive study materials. You could also look into NCLEX tutors who can support you.

Practice Exams:

Utilize practice exams offered by credible sources. They simulate the NCLEX experience and gauge your readiness.


Flashcards are excellent for quick revision of key concepts and facts. Create your own or use pre-made sets.

Study Groups:

Join or form study groups with fellow nursing students. Collaborative learning can be highly effective.


Mobile apps offer on-the-go studying. Look for apps with interactive quizzes and content reviews.

Tip 8: Simulated Exams

Simulated exams are a powerful tool to prepare for the Next Gen NCLEX effectively. Here’s how to make the most of them:

Realistic Practice:

Simulated exams closely mimic the NCLEX format and difficulty. They help you become familiar with the test environment.

Time Management:

Practice managing your time during these exams. You’ll get a feel for how to pace yourself on the actual test day.

Identify Weaknesses:

Review your performance afterward. Focus on areas where you struggled and reinforce your knowledge.

Multiple Simulations:

Take several simulated exams to build confidence and adaptability. Each practice session enhances your skills.

Tip 9: Peer Support and Study Groups

Studying with peers can be a game-changer:

  • Diverse Perspectives: Study groups bring together students with different insights. You can learn from each other’s strengths.
  • Accountability: Committing to a study group ensures you stick to your study schedule and stay motivated.
  • Teaching Enhances Learning: Explaining concepts to others reinforces your own understanding. Teaching is a powerful learning tool.
  • Shared Resources: Study groups can pool resources like notes and practice questions, saving you time and effort.

Tip 10: Final Weeks Preparation

The weeks leading up to the NCLEX are crucial. Here’s a checklist to ensure you’re fully prepared:

  • Review Key Concepts: Focus on core content areas, especially those you find challenging.
  • Practice Simulated Exams: Continue taking simulated exams to assess your readiness.
  • Flashcards and Quick Reviews: Use flashcards or quick review guides to reinforce key facts.
  • Stay Healthy: Prioritize sleep, exercise, and a balanced diet to keep your mind sharp.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Continue practicing stress management techniques to stay calm.
  • Exam Day Preparation: Plan your exam day logistics, including transportation and arrival time.
  • Positive Mindset: Believe in your abilities. Visualize yourself succeeding on the NCLEX.
  • Final Review: In the days leading up to the exam, conduct a final comprehensive review of all content areas.

Passing the NCLEX: Conclusion

Mastering these 10 expert tips is your key to NCLEX success. Remember: strategic study plans, smart test-taking, stress management, and reliable resources are your allies. Stay focused, stay confident, and you’ll pass with flying colors.

For personalized guidance, contact Medic Mind US today to see how NCLEX tutoring can support you. Your nursing career awaits!


1: How many times can I take the NCLEX exam if I fail?

Answer: If you fail the NCLEX, don’t worry; you can retake it. The specific rules vary by state, but typically, there is a waiting period before you can retake the exam, and you may need to reapply and pay the exam fee again. It’s essential to use this time wisely for further preparation and addressing your weak areas.

2: Are there accommodations for test-takers with disabilities?

Answer: Yes, the NCLEX offers accommodations for candidates with disabilities. You must follow a specific process to request accommodations, which often involves submitting documentation of your disability. Common accommodations include extended testing time or special testing environments. Check the official NCLEX website for detailed information on this process.

3: Is it better to take the NCLEX as soon as I graduate or after more preparation?

Answer: The timing of your NCLEX exam is a personal choice. Some graduates choose to take it shortly after graduation when their knowledge is fresh, while others prefer more extensive preparation. It’s essential to assess your confidence and readiness. Many successful candidates do a mix of both: they start preparing while in school and take the exam when they feel adequately prepared.

4: Can I use online resources for NCLEX preparation, or should I rely on traditional study materials?

Answer: Online resources are valuable for NCLEX preparation. They offer flexibility and a variety of study materials, including practice questions, video lessons, and interactive quizzes. However, it’s crucial to choose reputable online resources from trusted sources. Many students find a combination of both online and traditional study materials to be effective in their preparation.

5: What happens after passing the NCLEX exam?

Answer: After passing the NCLEX, you can apply for your nursing license from your state’s nursing board. Once granted, you’ll officially become a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN), depending on your level of education. You can then start your nursing career, either by seeking employment or pursuing further education and specialization. Remember to keep your license up to date through continuing education requirements in your state.

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