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How Soon Should I Begin Studying for NCLEX

Hi all,

I was accepted this summer into an ADN program and we begin classes in a couple of weeks. I've already purchased books and done some minimal research in regards to NCLEX prep (I found a Saunders 4e and was considering purchasing 5e). I've heard different things, but what is the overall opinion as to how soon I should start studying for the NCLEX aside class material?

I want to make sure that I am well prepared, but I don't want to over-do it to the point where it becomes detrimental.

Also, any suggestions as far as materials used for NCLEX prep?

I appreciate all the help I can get, thanks.

RunBabyRN

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology.

Don't worry about content yet, but do work on NCLEX-style questions. Understanding the thought process behind NCLEX-style questions, which are completely different from other exam questions, will help you succeed in nursing school and on the NCLEX. The content will come with time. I didn't start prepping for the NCLEX until probably March or April before graduation (in May), tested in June, and licensed 2 days later.

pmabraham, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care.

Good day, hotmessmanda

I've heard Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN® Examination, 6e is the book to get if you want to start early. I'm currently reading How to Succeed in Nursing School by Caroline Porter Thomas, BSN, RN and she recommends. Mosby's Comprehensive Review of Nursing for the NCLEX-RN® Examination, 20e in her book. I don't start clinicals to January; and I'm planing to get the Saunders book later this fall with a wait and see on Mosby's.

Thank you.

la_chica_suerte85, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

Review books are great and all (I use them to supplement my regular studying). We have ATI prep for my program and the overall message (that I have heeded and it has served me incredibly well so far) is this: everything you do is NCLEX prep and you are studying from day one.

I mean this to say that all the material you encounter, the way you think about skills, meds, pt teaching, care plans, everything is intended to prepare you to gain the critical thinking skills necessary to tackle NCLEX questions. NCLEX asks questions of you in a very "special" way that requires a different way of thinking in order to deal with them successfully. This will become apparent as you go. As the 1st response said to practice NCLEX-style questions, you need to begin and never stop preparing yourself to "think like a nurse." Good luck! :)

ThePrincessBride, BSN

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU.

Honestly, at this stage of the game, I wouldn't even be worried about the NCLEX. I just finished my second to last semester, and after I finish finals next week, I plan on studying (giving me five months to study). Just focus on acing your nursing classes and you'll be fine!

I agree with the ThePrincessBride, I wouldn't worry about the NCLEX just yet. What you should realize is that studying for your tests throughout nursing school and learning the content (rather than just memorizing/cramming for a test) IS preparing you for the NCLEX. Throughout school you will learn content which will give you the foundation that you need for the NCLEX. Then in your last semester you could start preparing about the test taking strategies of the NCLEX....but for now it's all about getting a good foundation, and that's what nursing school will give you.

:)

SeattleJess

Specializes in None yet..

... What you should realize is that studying for your tests throughout nursing school and learning the content (rather than just memorizing/cramming for a test) IS preparing you for the NCLEX. Throughout school you will learn content which will give you the foundation that you need for the NCLEX. Then in your last semester you could start preparing about the test taking strategies of the NCLEX....but for now it's all about getting a good foundation, and that's what nursing school will give you. :)

Thanks, OneHappyRN. This sounds like good advice from you and ThePrincessBride. I had to smile when I read hotmessmanda's post because I had the same urge to start training for the NCLEX before I started school. Once I was accepted to nursing school, I read Allnurses posts and bought some NCLEX review materials. They were cheap and although the content was meaningless to me at that point, it was helpful for me to see the kind of questions and the rationale for the answers. I liked having an early peak at a cheap, used book but I agree it would be pointless to get too far into learning test style before I know the content.

SeattleJess

Specializes in None yet..

By the way, 'manda, I think your idea to learn about test strategies is really, really smart. In addition to my cheapo NCLEX review, I got a book called Test Success: Test-Taking Techniques for Beginning Nursing Students, 6th ed. P. Nugent & B. Vitale. It really helps with "critical thinking" questions, the same type that are on the NCLEX.

Wishing you the best!

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the input! I'll definately look into the Nugent and Vitale book, and the Mosby's as well.

ArrowRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Vascular, E.N.T.

The earlier you start the better prepared you will be for both nursing school and the NCLEX. Many nursing students fail out first semester because they were not prepared to be faced with the type of questions in nursing school. It's not like math where there is only 1 absolutely correct answer...there are 4 correct answers and 1 most correct answer. The sooner you get used to this, the more confident you will be.

The thing about nursing school is that it is a lot of material and fast. I always started studying a week or two before classes started. They expect you to have already began studying when you walk into class. I can remember that every single semester there was someone complaining two weeks into the term about how they were drowning and wondering how they expected us to do it all. Personally, I always silently thought that it was there own fault for not even cracking a book till the day of class (or later). If you have your syllabi and feel ready, go ahead and start getting into the material, don't be one of those people who can't keep up cuz you waited too long. Plus, it gives you a little jump start (I think) when you have already covered the first weeks material. Then class is a second review aND when you go over it at home again that's a third review already.

As for NCLEX stuff, way too far off! Don't even begin to worry about that yet! Hope this helps :)

Let me rephrase that, you are always being prepared for NCLEX from the moment you start school. However, I wouldn't stress on finding materials and such for it just yet as you enter your first semester

vintagemother

Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC,.

I didn't formally study for the nclex until I scheduled my exam. That gave me about 2 weeks. I did review approx 2500 questions during the time frame. I passed.

My school did incorporate some required NCLEX prep throughout the program, though. I did only what I was required to.

Looking back, I think it would have been helpful to have studied NCLEX style concepts and questions as we covered a particular unit in school. It would have helped me understand the SElect all that apply style questions and to get more familiar with nursing school style tests.

I would start right after your first test in Fundamentals. There is a series of books, _______ Success (Fundamentals, Test-Taking, Med-Surg, etc.) which I think someone has mentioned, that will help you A LOT. Each one is designed to help you pass NCLEX style questions on a specific area of content. I used one or two of these books a semester.

Honestly, it depends on how well you do with NCLEX style questions. I sucked at them, so I had to start early. If you are one of the lucky ones who can do that type of question with no problems, then you can wait until later. I started right after I got my first round of Cs and was able to get my grades up using these books, and I passed the NCLEX the first time with 75 questions. (I also used three different NCLEX reviews during my final semester and tested right after I graduated.)

To be blunt, if you don't want to be one of the people who posts about failing the NCLEX for the third, fourth, fifth, etc. time, then I would start as soon as you have enough content under your belt to answer questions.

I didn't formally study for the nclex until I scheduled my exam. That gave me about 2 weeks. I did review approx 2500 questions during the time frame. I passed.

My school did incorporate some required NCLEX prep throughout the program, though. I did only what I was required to.

Looking back, I think it would have been helpful to have studied NCLEX style concepts and questions as we covered a particular unit in school. It would have helped me understand the SElect all that apply style questions and to get more familiar with nursing school style tests.

Same here. I studied content with whatever textbooks and materials I was required to buy. My second year, I purchased a Saunders review book and didn't end up cracking it open until 3 weeks before my NCLEX.

Your professors will likely have NCLEX style tests, so getting ahead of the learning curve will benefit you. Google and the library have tons of resources.

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma.

I would start right after your first test in Fundamentals. There is a series of books, _______ Success (Fundamentals, Test-Taking, Med-Surg, etc.) which I think someone has mentioned, that will help you A LOT. Each one is designed to help you pass NCLEX style questions on a specific area of content. I used one or two of these books a semester.

Honestly, it depends on how well you do with NCLEX style questions. I sucked at them, so I had to start early. If you are one of the lucky ones who can do that type of question with no problems, then you can wait until later. I started right after I got my first round of Cs and was able to get my grades up using these books, and I passed the NCLEX the first time with 75 questions. (I also used three different NCLEX reviews during my final semester and tested right after I graduated.)

To be blunt, if you don't want to be one of the people who posts about failing the NCLEX for the third, fourth, fifth, etc. time, then I would start as soon as you have enough content under your belt to answer questions.

I used the Success Series throughout my educational experience; it was a recommended reading listing (worth paying attention to recommended books! ;) ) and used their books during my studies and reviewed it for my NCLEX early on; they also have flash cards for Pharmacology I used to help study during Pharm and NCLEX.

Worth looking into buying once you start your first week of classes. :yes:

The day you start nursing school. Don't worry about content (all of that will come as you progress through your program). Focus on test taking and questions. Buy the Saunders comprehensive NCLEX book and use it in each class you take as preparation for your class tests (the book is separated by subjects) and ultimately NCLEX.

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