How to Prepare For the NCLEX-PN Exam – Study Tips and Resources

How to Prepare For the NCLEX-PN Exam
How to Prepare For the NCLEX-PN Exam

The NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) is an examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States. There are two types, the NCLEX-RN and the NCLEX-PN. After graduation from a school of nursing, one takes the NCLEX exam to receive his or her nursing license, a requirement before practicing nursing in any state.  NCLEX examinations are developed and owned by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN). For public safety reasons, each state board of nursing issues a license based on the successful completion of the appropriate NCLEX examination.  NCLEX examinations are designed to test the knowledge, skills and abilities essential for the safe practice of nursing for entry level personnel.  Before you can take the examination, you will need to attain an “Authorization to Test (ATT)” from your local Board of Nursing. 

How to Prepare For the NCLEX-PN Exam…


Graduate from an Accredited Practical Nursing Program…

It should go without saying, but we are going to say it anyway, that attending and graduating from an accredited nursing program that has an established, high NCLEX-PN Pass Rate is pretty important and the first step in preaparing for the NCLEX-PN exam.  It’s certainly not going to help your odds if the program that you just spent all of that money, time and energy on, did not properly prepare you for the exam.  Make sure the school of nursing you choose has a high NCLEX_PN Pass Rate for their graduates.

Understanding the Exam…

Review the Candidate Bulletin on the NCSBN Website.  The bulletin provides valuable information about the testing process, testing format, testing centers and further preparation tips beyond this article. Download and review the most current NCLEX-PN Test Plan. This document will break down the structure of the exam and the topics covered. It will give you a good idea of which topics you should spend the most time studying. Subjects may include coordinated care and safety, health promotion and maintenance, physiological integrity-basic care and comfort, pharmacological therapies and physiological adaptation.  Be sure to check this site often and before you actually test, as the exam format and the topics covered are subject to change.

Review your coursework, text books and notes from your practical nursing program …

Develop and follow a study plan that will allow you to review all of the material you covered in class in smaller, more manageable sessions.  Don’t try and study the entire course in one day, spread out your study plan over enough time to allow you to study the key points from your entire course without an all-night cram session.

Form a study group…

Get together with your classmates and form a study group for the NCLEX-PN exam.  They can be a tremendous help when recalling certain material or sharing notes or perspectives that you might not have.

Use practice exam questions…

There are several published study guides on the market for the NCLEX-PN exam.  If you have the means these guides can be a great tool.  They often have a series of practice questions that are in the same or similar format as the actual NCLEX-PN exam itself and can put you at ease with this format very quickly.

Taking and passing the NCLEX-PN exam can and should be a milestone in your journey to start a new career and a capstone to an academic achievement that you earned.  You can increase your chances of passing the exam and reduce test anxiety by being properly prepared before, during and after your exam.

If you are preparing for the NCLEX-PN exam, we would like to officially wish you…the best of luck!

and by that we mean:

“Luck is when opportunity meets preparation” – Seneca

For more information about a career in the practical nursing field, or to speak with an admissions representative and apply for career training, contact Centura College today by visiting our Practical Nursing Program Webpage.  You can also learn more about Centura College at our Consumer Information Disclosure page, Your right to know.


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