Mastering the NCLEX on Exam Day

SimpleNursing Editorial Team Jun 12, 2023
A cheerful young nursing student sits in a classroom during a medical training lecture and takes notes.

After graduating from nursing school, the culmination of your education and training is put to the test with the NCLEX exam. The day before and the day of the exam can be filled with anticipation and nerves, but with the right strategies and preparation, you can confidently approach the exam. 

This crucial exam determines whether you have the knowledge and skills to become a licensed nurse. 

Proper preparation and a clear mindset on the day of the NCLEX exam are key to performing your best and achieving success. As part of preparation, remember to prioritize self-care, strike a balance between studying and relaxation, and stay positive throughout the exam.

Read more about the Next Generation NCLEX (NGN) here.

What to do the Day Before the NCLEX

The day before the NCLEX, the final step in your nursing school journey, can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. It’s essential to approach this day with a sense of calm and focus, allowing yourself time to review important concepts while also taking care of your mental and physical well-being. 

Here are a few key tips to make the most of this crucial day:

  1. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before the exam, as a well-rested mind will help you think clearly. 
  2. Engage in activities that relax and calm you, whether it’s taking a walk, practicing mindfulness or meditation, or spending time with loved ones. Managing your stress levels will help you stay centered and confident.
  3. Create a study plan for the day. Focus on reviewing key areas and topics that you feel less confident about. However, try to keep yourself from overwhelming yourself with too much new information. Instead, reinforce what you already know and understand. 
  4. Consider utilizing practice questions or taking a practice test to assess your readiness and identify any areas that need further attention.
  5. Ensure that you have all your necessary exam materials ready. Double-check your identification documents, testing site details, and any other required items. This will help alleviate any last-minute stress or rush on the day of the exam.
  6. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Remind yourself of all the hard work you have put into your nursing education and the skills you have acquired throughout your clinical experiences. Trust in your preparation and maintain a positive mindset, knowing that you have the knowledge and skills to succeed.

Remember, the day before the NCLEX is about finding a balance between studying and self-care. By taking care of yourself, managing your stress levels, and reinforcing your knowledge, you will enter the exam room feeling confident, focused, and ready to conquer the NCLEX. 

The Night Before the NCLEX

While it may be tempting to cram until the last minute, getting a good night’s sleep before the NCLEX exam is essential. Your brain needs adequate rest to function optimally.

  1. Ensure you get a full night’s sleep by creating a calm and comfortable sleep environment. 
  2. Avoid caffeine and stimulating activities before bed. 
  3. Instead, consider practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, to help you unwind.

The Day Before the NCLEX

Planning and organization can alleviate stress and help you focus on the exam day. Take the necessary steps to set yourself up for success.

  1. Review the NCLEX candidate bulletin to familiarize yourself with the exam format, rules, and requirements. 
  2. Prepare all the required identification documents, snacks, water, and comfortable clothing the night before. 
  3. Know the location and plan your commute to the testing center to avoid any last-minute complications. 

Should I study the day before NCLEX? 

While it’s important to maintain a calm and relaxed mindset, some candidates may benefit from a light review the day before the NCLEX exam. However, it’s crucial to strike a balance and avoid overwhelming yourself.

  1. Instead of engaging in extensive studying, focus on reviewing key concepts, high-yield topics, and test-taking strategies. 
  2. Briefly go over your notes, flashcards, or practice questions to reinforce your knowledge and build confidence. 
  3. Limit your study time to a few hours, allowing yourself breaks to recharge and relax.

Last Minute NCLEX Tips 

As the NCLEX exam day arrives, implement these last-minute tips to optimize your performance and boost your confidence.

  1. Eat a nutritious breakfast. Fuel your brain with a healthy breakfast that includes complex carbohydrates, protein, and fruits. Avoid heavy or greasy meals that could make you feel sluggish.
  2. Arrive early at the testing center. Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled exam time. This extra time will allow you to settle in, complete any necessary paperwork, and calm your nerves.
  3. Stay positive and confident. Remind yourself of the hard work and dedication you’ve put into your studies. Trust your abilities and maintain a positive mindset throughout the exam.
  4. Use effective time management. Read each question carefully, eliminate obviously incorrect options, and prioritize your time on challenging questions. Avoid spending too much time on a single question that might hinder the progress of others.

Take Advantage of Our Digital Study Tool 

Embrace the digital age and enhance your NCLEX preparation with interactive study tools and resources. They can provide personalized feedback, practice exams, and comprehensive content review to further boost your chances of success.

SimpleNursing offers online question banks, practice exams, and more on mobile and desktop. We help simulate the exam experience and identify areas for improvement.

Gain an edge on your journey to becoming a licensed nurse.

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