5 Genius Tips to Pass your NCLEX Exam in First Try

Attending a nursing school to become a nurse isn’t everyone’s cup of tea; a lot of dedication is required to become one. Nursing students go through a lot in nursing schools, and as a result, they come out bright and shining. After graduating, there is just one little, though not easy, step every nursing graduate should cross before finally becoming what they’ve dreamt of for years, a practical nurse. Here, you can find useful tips that may help you pass your NCLEX Exam in the first attempt.

To get their license as a Practical or Registered Nurse, graduates of nursing school should all pass the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) PN (Practical Nurse) and RN (Registered Nurse) examination.  The NCLEX exam is conducted by individual SBN (State Boards of Nursing).  This exam is often referred to as “State Boards” or “The Boards.” The purpose of the NCLEX test is to find out if it is safe for an individual to start practice as a registered nurse or vocational nurse/entry-level practical nurse.

This exam is considered as a tough one to crack for most nursing students. However, with proper guidance and preparation, this daunting task can become an easy one. Regardless of your grades in nursing school, you will have to work hard to achieve success in this exam. The minimum amount of intensely focused studying required to crack this exam is 1-2 months. If you wish to prepare with a little more leisure, make sure that you do it for at least 3-3.5 months.

1. Format

NCLEX uses computerized adaptive testing (CAT) format. It means that every single test is unique. The algorithm works in such a manner that it produces the next question based on the performance of the previous question.  There are different questions on different topics, and each item asked will be the base for the next one.

The NCLEX-PN and RN exams are based on the “Meeting Client Needs” structure.  The framework contains four main categories and eight sub-categories. Several nursing courses are based on the medical model that allows students to take separate surgical, medical, psychiatric, pediatric, and obstetric classes. But, for the NCLEX-PN, all of the models included in one exam.

Types of Questions:

All question are mainly multiple-choice, and each item will have four possible choices. Also, it has an alternate question type that includes multiple responses, hot spots, fill-in-the-blank, drag-and-drop, and chart/exhibit. All questions include INC (Integrated Nursing Content).

In the NCLEX-RN examination, the minimum number of questions you answer is 75, and the maximum is 265. Whereas to pass the NCLEX-PN exam, the candidates need to attempt a minimum of 85, and a maximum of 205 items. The test ends at the time when the aspirant has responded to sufficient questions to pass the test. The confidence interval in the test is 95%, i.e., it is a compulsion that you must answer with 95% confidence. Otherwise, even if you have covered sufficient questions, the result is declared in negative.

Suppose there are five levels of difficulty and for question one, the computer gives you a level-1 item. After that, the scale of difficulty is raised or lowered according to the answers provided by you. Even though you have answered the minimum number of questions correctly, you should be able to reach a level-5 item at least once during the exam. Once you attain that level, the test ends.

Understanding this concept is important, but there is no need to focus much on it during the NCLEX examination. Also, prepare to be in the exam hall for 6 hours for the RN and 5 hours for the PN exam.

2. Manage Stress

It is super important to not stress out during the test as keeping the stress by your side won’t help you in any way. The calmer and collected you can be, the better you will perform in the test. The NCLEX exam, along with the knowledge of the students, also tests their endurance. Therefore, it is essential to keep your stress at bay. Here are some of the ways you can overcome stress:

  • Take the exam as all the other tests you have appeared for in the past.
  • Try and build up your mental strength, have a balanced diet, sleep and exercise.
  • Make sure that you don’t cram for this exam, and get a good night’s sleep before the exam. It is advisable that you don’t study on the day of the test too.
  • Remember, once you’ve gone through most of the topics in your syllabus, there is no need to worry. It is crucial that you put in a substantial amount of time to study every day, at least for a month before the NCLEX exam.

3. Make a Plan & Stick to it

It is imperative that you have a study plan in place. Just the process of making one will get you ahead of many others. While preparing an NCLEX study plan, your awareness of the topics will increase. This process will ensure that you won’t put off studying until the last moment because you already know that a certain amount of time is needed for you to explore each topic thoroughly. “Getting started is the key to getting ahead.” Start now!

4. Improve your Exam Skills

In an NCLEX exam, you will most certainly encounter some questions which you don’t have much knowledge about. Therefore, spend some time on the internet a day or two before the examination on how to take multiple choice question examinations. This way, you will have a few tricks under your sleeve for the questions you do not know answers to. One of the most convenient ways to answer unknown questions is the elimination method. In this, you strike out all the answers which you know are wrong, and based on your knowledge and understanding, you will choose the best suitable solution.

5. Mock Tests

Taking multiple mock tests before an exam will help you in gauging your performance and ability to score well. By doing this, you will not only know how well you can perform but also which areas you need to focus on. It is vital that you make a note of topics from which you weren’t able to answer questions. The best thing to do is to practice as much as you can for the examination.

At last, the most important thing you should do is to believe that you can do it. Since you have already graduated from nursing school, the task of passing this exam is not extremely difficult. You are already equipped with all the knowledge required to pass the NCLEX-RN or PN examination. You need to brush all the knowledge up which you have learned in the years you’ve spent in nursing school.


By diligently following the tips mentioned above, you can crack the NCLEX exam in your first attempt and become a registered nurse.  Just believe, be confident, and get your license!

Moreover, if you weren’t able to pass this exam for the first time, you can retake this exam after 45 days. To appear once for this exam, it costs $200. Therefore, it is advised to sit for this exam only when you feel that you have studied appropriately and have confidence of passing the exam.