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MY STUDY TIPS FOR THOSE TAKING THE NCLEX:

1. Stop working for however much time you think you need to review for the NCLEX. If
you just graduated and took your ATI or whatever, you probably need less time to study
for the NCLEX as everything is still fresh in your brain. Maybe 2 weeks. But if you have
graduated a long, long time ago or a repeat test taker, its probably a good idea for you to
give yourself 2-3 months of intensive study time. If you are an international graduate
nurse, regardless of whether you just graduated or not, take at least a month to review
solely for the NCLEX exam.
2. Start spending at least 3-4 hours a day to study and study for longer hours the nearer you
are to your exam date. Start answering 20 questions and study the rationales then
gradually increase the number of questions you are answering a day. I purchased NCLEX
RN Mastery so I can study questions on-the-go (when you are outside the house or at
work if you are working part-time). On my last two months I was studying 10-12 hours a
day, 5 days a week. I was working 2 days a week. You need to take a day or two away
from your studies during the week so you dont get overwhelmed with doing the same
thing day in and day out. Do something fun on those days you are not studying. Also,
during that 10-12 hours you are studying, you can take a two hour break to rest your eyes.
What I did was cook dinner, eat and watch TV for 2 hours. I did Sudoku (a fun game for
me where I still am exercising my critical skills and focusing skills), then I go back to
studying again.
3. Schedule your exam the same time you start your review each day. Make a regular
schedule for your study time. I was studying from 2 pm to 2 am 5 days a week for three
months. So when I scheduled my exam, I picked 2 pm. My mind was alert during that
time for answering NCLEX questions.
4. Make sure a day or two before your exam you are not cramming still trying to absorb
more information. You wont be able to. Just relax and do something fun again. I didnt
do that completely though but I was reviewing the essentials a little bit during those two
days and I wasnt answering anymore questions. I was just reviewing my highlighted
stuff and my notes.
5. Three to four days before my test I re-reviewed my notes on UWorld and the Mark
Klimek Audios particularly the Level Cs and Ds, laminectomy, hypo/hyper of
electrolytes, hypo/hyper thyroidism, Addisons and Cushings, SIADH and DI, DKA and
HHNS, hypo/hyper parathyroidism, insulin onset/peak/duration table, immunization
schedule, infection control airborne/droplet/contact/standard/neutropenic precautions,
end-stage renal disease, renal failure, herbal supplements, diets, positioning, IV solutions,
Cranial Nerves assessment, Glascow Coma Scale, drug toxicities and therapeutic levels,
all the crisis symptoms, uppers and downers, antidotes, pharma suffixes/prefixes/side
effects/adverse effects, EKG strips (what PVC, atrial fib, etc. look like), lab values and
what happens when its low or higher than the normal lab values, cultural aspects,
newborn-1 to 4 5-12 Adult RR, Pulse and BP, basic procedures. I also re-reviewed my
highlighted notes. Repetition is key to remembering. You dont want NCLEX to ask you

a simple question and you cant remember because you forgot your lab values or
whatever something you are supposed to already know by heart. That one or two
questions might be key to your either passing or failing. You cant take that risk during
the exam.
6. I found that the best review materials were the Mark Klimek Audios and Uworld. Not so
much NCLEX RN Mastery which I also used. I did not like Hurst or Kaplan. They made
me more confused and I was getting more incorrect answers during my practice tests than
when I am only studying Saunders and answering NCLEX Mastery or Uworld. Some
people like Hurst or Kaplan. Also, I did not think I needed to study LaCharity anymore.
Uworld has an excellent question bank on leadership and management and I felt that was
enough review for me to be able to answer the prioritization questions right.
7. I subscribed to Uworld for two months and started answering 75-150 questions a day.
What I did was after I read Saunders (sometimes just the triangle items or the ones with
NCLEX alerts), say on Cardio. I read Cardio first, answered the chapter test and studied
the ones I did wrong, then Cardio meds, answered the chapter test and studied the ones I
did wrong, then I go to Uworld and select the Cardio questions and study the rationales. I
finish all the questions on Uworld on Cardio before I move to the next system and do the
same procedure till I finished all of the Uworld questions the week before I tested. Also,
for topics I am not familiar with and want to know more about, I google searched them or
watched YouTube videos. For Cardio, I learned a lot about EKG from YouTube videos.
For pharma meds, I google searched them too when Uworld asks a question about a med
I am not familiar with. I did untimed mode in Uworld and reviewed the rationales for my
incorrect answers all at one time. I noticed if I study using tutor mode it takes me longer
to study the rationales. I didnt want that so I just went straight on answering 75 questions
then study the rationales. The Kaplan book has very good pharma drugs tables that you
can study. NCSBN also has an app for the cellphone that you can download. Its called
NCSBN RX Flashcards. And theres NCLEX RN Mastery as well.
8. On your downtime you can read the nursing pictures youve collected online and saved
on your computer. Pinterest has a lot of nursing pictures on a lot of things. If you are a
visual learner, you will benefit a lot from reading them and studying them. I wasnt
particularly fond of mnemonics. I couldnt remember what some of the letters stand for
but you probably can. I would read 20-30 of the pictures a day when I am tired of reading
Saunders or answering questions. Theres also mnemonics and terminologies on NCLEX
RN Mastery. Those are good too.
9. Very important to know: Make sure that when you answer the first 20 questions on your
NCLEX exam, you concentrate in answering most of them right so you will be way
ahead in your scores so the possibility of passing is higher. The computer is adaptive. Do
not rush in answering the first 20 questions. Take your time. If you do that you wont
have to sit for the whole 6 hours answering 265 questions. What the computer does is
start at level zero then it graphs your answers (goes up one level every time you answer a
question correctly and goes down one level every time you answer a question
incorrectly). If you go below the zero mark, the computer will keep giving you questions

so you can go above the zero level or it will just give up on you and you end up with a
blue screen and fail. You have to have more correct answers than incorrect answers and
try to keep going up one level higher each time you answer the questions. I dont know if
this makes sense to you but I hope you know what I mean.
10. Answering SATA (Select All That Apply) questions: During the NCLEX exam, I
personally think you should feel optimistic when the computer keeps giving you a lot of
SATA questions. That means the computer thinks you are worth passing. Multiple choice
questions are harder to answer I think. For SATA, you just have to think if the answer
choice is a true or false statement. You base your selection on that. For SATA questions
remember you cant select only one. It has to be two or more and one less the number of
answer choices given. Say if theres 6 answer choices, you have to select at least 2 (not1)
up to 5 true statements (not all 6). If your gut feeling thinks it might be a correct
statement, it probably is. If you are unsure if the answer choice is correct, just dont pick
it. Its probably wrong anyway. Sometimes we answer one more answer choice we
shouldnt have picked. So dont be trigger happy and think Ill just pick this one too
because only two choices may not be enough. If you think theres only two right
choices, stick to it. Do not add an extra one. Pay attention to the hypos and hypers
questions on SATA. Sometimes it gets confusing and you select a hyper sign and
symptom when its asking you for a hypo answer.
11. RN/LPN/UAP: The RN cannot delegate assessment, teaching, fresh post-op assessments,
discharge teachings, evaluation and plan of care. The LPN can reinforce teachings done
prior by the RN and can monitor stable conditions for the RN, do urinary catherization,
administer medications. The UAP assists with the patients ADLs, follow-up vitals but no
assessments, and no invasive procedures and only stable patients.
12. Floaters to other units: Say a pediatric nurse is being floated to the med-surg unit. What
do you assign to the pediatric nurse? Assign that nurse stable patients and patients who
have conditions similar to the conditions being treated in the pediatric unit. The pediatric
nurse would have experience in monitoring that patients condition. You pick an answer
choice like an adult patient with asthma or pneumonia not an adult patient with BPH or
placenta previa as those conditions only exist in adulthood.
13. Procedures put in the right order questions: You just have to know how the procedure is
done. Like stoma care, NGT, eye/ear irrigation, wound care, tracheostomy care, burn
care, etc.
14. Also study postmortem care. Like for autopsy purposes or cultural considerations on
postmortem care or organ donation or advance directives. Like the family wants to do
something with the body before it goes to the morgue or something cultural
considerations or how advance directives are done.
15. Prioritization listen to Mark Klimek Audio #12.

16. When you answer questions, use your knowledge first then your common sense and if
you really dont have any idea about the question do smart guessing to eliminate wrong
answers. Never just guess. Exert extra effort to squeeze your brain for your stock
knowledge first. Sometimes the clues to the right answer is right there in the question.
Like the question will mention the word hemoglobin, the answer will have hemoglobin
too on it or something to that effect.
17. Uworld trains you to do critical thinking on passing level questions. When you review the
rationales, you see a trend in the answer choices. You get to recognize the diseases
associated with the symptoms mentioned in the answer choices. When you know what
disease that particular answer choice is describing, it will be easier for you to pick the
right answer. When I was taking the test, I was already at that point where more or less I
am able to do my own rationales in my head. It made it easier. Do not take your test till
you are able to tell yourself that you can analyze and break down the questions and
answers and do your own rationalization as to why an answer choice is better than all the
others.
18. For each question you are answering figure out what strategy skill you can use
Maslows, ABCDs, coma coma clause, modifying clause, unexpected vs. expected, acute
vs. stable, level Cs and level Ds vs. levels A or Bs, newly admitted or fresh post-op 12
hrs vs other medical or to be discharged, lab abnormalities, general anaesthesia vs local
or regional, acute vs chronic, changing assessments vs unchanging assessments, etc.
19. Critical Unstable patients hemorrhaging, high fever > 105 degrees Fahrenheit,
hypoglycemia blood glucose of 8, pulselessness or breathlessness, platelet <40,000,
ph>6, K>6, CO2>60, O2<60, hgb<6
20. The more vital the organ, the higher the priority (tie breaker):
BRAIN then LUNGS then HEART then LIVER then KIDNEYS then PANCREAS
21. General guessing skills: From Mark Klimek
- Rule out absolutes
- If 2 answers say the same thing, both are wrong.
- If 2 answers are opposite, one of them is probably right
- Umbrella strategy if all of them are correct, look for the one that covers all answers
- If a question gives you 4 right answers and asks you to prioritize ask yourself If I
didnt help this patient first what would be the worst outcome? Pick the one that
would cause the most severe complications or will cause death if not treated first.
- If stuck between 2 answers, reread the question to get your clue to the right answer.
- Mark Klimek said only do the Sesame Street rule if you cant eliminate. Mini, mini
miney mo which of these things is not like the other.
- The right answer tend to be different from the others. The wrong answers tend to be
similar.
- Dont be tempted to answer because of your ignorance. Base your answers based on
your knowledge.

You have no right to go against your gut answer unless the other is more superior.
Articulate a reason why another is more superior than your gut answer.

22. Expectations:
- Dont expect the exam to stop at 75 questions. Be prepared to answer all 265
questions for 6 hours.
- The longer you go, youre doing fine and are still in the game. Keep your focus. Each
correct answer counts towards your passing the test. Do not rush answering questions
when you have only a few hours left. The computer might stop before you finish 265
questions anyway. Just make sure you are concentrating, not rushing. Understand
what each question is asking and answer to the best of your ability each time. Do not
waste your answers. Dont ever give up or get too tired of answering questions.
Remember, you want that RN appended to your name thats why you studied this
hard for the test and this is your moment to make it happen.
- Dont expect to know everything and dont expect everything to go right.
- Keep praying. Pray before you start reviewing for the day. Pray for focus and
concentration and remembering what you studied. Pray for understanding the
different principles, techniques, strategies and rationales. Pray for guidance. Pray the
same way before and after you take your test. It will calm you down knowing
someone up there will be helping you pass. And when you do pass, do not forget to
thank whoever you are praying to. Ask your close friends and family to keep praying
for you too. That will help you too. I had my little nephew and niece pray for me too.
I guess God heard their prayers for me. I am Catholic so I pray the Chaplet of Divine
Mercy almost everyday. I think its a very powerful prayer and it also helped me pass.
- Persevere. This is one step closer to freedom from financial worries. Youve reached
this far, persevere some more. Do not slack off in your studies. Try to stick to your
study plan. And get the support of the people around you. Tell them to not distract
you while you are studying.
- Stay positive. I keep a motivational/inspiration board in my room. I stick small
colored index cards with inspirational quotes in them on my board. I also printed
some of them and taped them in front of me beside my laptop (and the lab values on
the other side of my laptop so I can keep memorizing them). Everytime I feel unsure
of myself unsure if I am ready to take the test or not, I just read them over and over
again till I feel better and then I go back to studying.
- Discipline yourself and dont go to parties during the time you are supposed to be
reviewing. I was almost a recluse when I was studying. I refused invitations to go
here and there most of the time. I didnt tell everybody I was studying for the NCLEX
either. I just kept quiet about it. That way if I failed, only a few people know and I
wont feel so rotten about myself. And dont think negative. Think about that RN
after your name. That sounds good, doesnt it?
Well, I hope I have helped you. The best of luck future RNs!
Maria E. Meyer, RN