NCLEX Expert Advice for New Grads

Updated | Published
by Damion Jenkins Damion Jenkins, MSN, RN (Trusted Brand)

Specializes in NCLEX Prep Expert - 100% Pass Rate!. Has 12 years experience.

New Grads - Studying for the NCLEX the same way you studied for your nursing school exams will NOT help you pass the NCLEX! This article will explain what the NCLEX is all about and how you can prepare more effectively.

What You Need to Pass NCLEX

NCLEX Expert Advice for New Grads

As we are entering into a new season of Nursing Graduates - I wanted to take a moment to say - CONGRATULATIONS for making it this far in your nursing program! Nursing school is definitely one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it has opened so many opportunities for me as a professional nurse - so you should be excited for the adventure that lies ahead!

Okay - so to the point of NCLEX - I want to first say that studying for the NCLEX the same way you studied for your nursing school exams will NOT help you pass the NCLEX! You see - I've helped HUNDREDS of individuals over the years who have come to me frustrated, embarrassed, and even ready to give up on nursing altogether because they kept having a difficult time passing the exam. 

And let me clarify one thing real quick, because this is a common misconception - the NCLEX is NOT a test that determines your intelligence, your ability to be an awesome nurse, nor does it measure your eventual success as a nurse. The NCLEX is simply a test of critical thinking and test-taking strategy that challenges your understanding of the GUIDELINES, PRINCIPLES and RULES that guide decision making in nursing. 

The NCLEX Challenges your ability to SPEAK TO the roles and responsibilities of the nurse. It challenges your understanding of the limitations of your scope of practice. It challenges your competence at applying what you've learned to make decisions about patient care and nursing actions. Simply put - the NCLEX challenges your ability to pass the NCLEX. 

This is where MANY NCLEX Prep programs miss the mark. They focus too much on content (playing on your fear that you can't remember everything) WHICH YOU DO NOT HAVE TO - and they create these comprehensive "mini nursing schools" that forces you to sit through countless hours of nursing content lectures all over again - rather than helping you to leverage what you ALREADY KNOW so that you can develop the critical thinking and test-taking skills necessary to pass the exam.

So - why am I telling you all of this? 

I have helped so many people who are misled, taken advantage of, and give downright FALSE information about the NCLEX  and I want to make sure you are on the right path from the beginning. SO, the first place you should start - is HERE!

LEARN how to pass the NCLEX...
Download NCLEX Study Guide!

You should download the FREE NCLEX Study Guide that I created for allnurses and go through it slowly and carefully. There is a TON of eye-opening info here that will help you to start shifting the way you think about approaching NCLEX style questions. 

The next thing you should do is get a good q-bank to practice answering questions. There are tons out there and they are NOT all good options. For the sake of preventing legal issues, I cannot list them on this post - but if you are interested in speaking to me privately - I'd love to give you my professional recommendations for what I know to be of good value. 

Finally, the last thing you should do is seek out professional guidance if you are overwhelmed, having a hard time increasing your practice scores, or even passing the NCLEX. More than 20% of new grads have a difficult time passing the boards - and even if you find yourself in that position - it's not the end of the road - and it has NOTHING to do with you. Sometimes we're not prepared well enough from our programs of study to go in and rock the exam on the first attempt - and many of us require a period of time for review before we can. 

I'd be happy to answer any questions here on this post - or you can Private Message me - or click my bio where you'll find all of my contact information. 

I hope you find this information useful and just know that you are NEVER alone in the wonderful world of nursing. This is a team effort - always - and I am here for your NCLEX Success!


The Nurse Speak


Hi! I am Damion - an NCLEX Prep Expert Tutor and Writer! I am the owner and operator of

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1 Comment(s)

Hannahbanana, BSN, MSN

Specializes in Physiology, CM, consulting, nsg edu, LNC, COB. Has 52 years experience. 1,187 Posts

I taught NCLEX prep for a proprietary company for a couple of years- of ten sections, I taught five med/surg and the final test and review; other folks taught peds, psych, OB. 
I always started with a question: “What do you think the NCLEX pass rate is in our state?” Came the guesses — 60%, 50%, 45%... when I said, not even close, at the time the pass rate for all first-time takers was 95% in our state (it’s about 88% now, since one excellent university program that graduated about 200/year closed and there are more AS programs). I let that soak in for a minute.

“OK, tell me about your nursing faculty. Easygoing bunch, cut a lot of slack, let you slide on a lot of stuff, threw out a lot of exam questions so not too many kids failed, right?” They looked at me as if I had lost my mind entirely. “So. Your faculty worked you hard and decided that you were good enough to graduate and take NCLEX. And here you are. Can you all calm down now and we can have some fun with this?”

Because I’m a physiology and assessment fiend we went over a lot of those things because they wanted to, but I often used my go-to line: Why do we care?

We looked at situations and variables, judgment calls, and TEST-TAKING STRATEGIES. I explained that NCLEX, unlike exams some of them had endured before, was tested itself over huge populations and any of the questions that were too confusing or looked like they had two correct answers may have been being tested for a future iteration, and didn’t count in your score.

I asked them to think about what was really being asked, and (yep) why do we care. I told them that NCLEX was it a medical exam, it was an exam to see if you could apply basic norms (like common labs, physiology concepts, or growth and development milestones) to nursing assessment and care. Never, never, never choose the answer that says, “Refer to (dietary, PT, social work, chaplain...)...” because that’s not what they’re looking for —  what’s the nursing action? 
Remember that sometimes the correct answer is, ”Get more information.” Sometimes it’s, “Patient safety first.” 
They all did fine.