When to Start Studying for the NCLEX® (2024)

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Upon completion of nursing school, aspiring nurses must successfully pass the NCLEX exam before becoming certified clinicians. This makes the NCLEX a high-stakes exam with immense career implications. It is for this reason that students often ask the following questions:

  • When should I start studying for the NCLEX?
  • How much time each day should I commit to studying?
  • What is the best way to study?
  • How have others successfully prepared for NCLEX success?

If you are a nursing student who is asking these questions, there is no need to be overly stressed or worried about your NCLEX exam. With the correct study resource, a little guidance, and a lot of determination, you can be confident on exam day and well-positioned to pass on your first attempt.

Here are a few things to consider when preparing for your NCLEX exam . . .

Build a Study Plan Early and Stick to It

If you wait until midway through your final semester in nursing school to start thinking about how you will prepare for the NCLEX, you’re putting yourself under undue pressure.

The smartest thing you can do is to start preparing for the NCLEX 6–12 months before exam day. That preparation begins by developing a study plan.

A good study plan will identify the best preparation resource, set up a calendar of daily study time, consider study partners who will keep you accountable, and allow for remediation of subjects or systems that need more study than others.

Don’t wait until the last minute to study, and don’t study without a solid gameplan. If you’ll do the foundational work of creating a study plan, you’ll learn on a daily basis, building your confidence and knowledge all the way up until test day.

Study with Purpose

A mistake many students make is “random study.” Without proper guidance, a study session can be intimidating and grow frustrating. Sprawling books, monotonous lectures, and forum horror stories can leave a well-intentioned study feeling like there is simply too much content to cover.

The best NCLEX prep will allow you to choose your subject or system in order to drill down on weak areas first. Furthermore, specifying your topic of study will allow you to move from one subject to another week-by-week as you march toward exam day.

Use Your NCLEX Preparation as Part of Your Education

Rather than graduating from nursing school and then beginning to prepare for your NCLEX, why not incorporate your study into your learning experience?

An online learning tool like UWorld is more than a test prep product; it is an active learning resource that will educate you while preparing you for the NCLEX exam. This is why many students begin working through the UWorld QBank while they are in nursing school.

Additionally, this is why nursing programs across the country are utilizing UWorld as part of their nursing curriculum.

If you want to be as prepared as possible on day one of nursing practice, don’t look at your education and your NCLEX preparation as two separate activities. Use the online learning tool that will boost your education while preparing you for exam success.

It’s Never Too Early to Start Preparing for the NCLEX

For all the reasons already mentioned, start preparing early when thinking about your NCLEX.

We recommend a 180-day comprehensive study plan.

When you allow yourself this much time to study and learn, your daily study sessions will not be overwhelming. Instead, you can build in a manageable amount of time each day to accent your education and prepare for the most important exam you may ever take.

When you think ahead, building a long-term study routine, studying isn’t tedious or intimidating; it can actually become an enjoyable endeavor, giving you learning advantages that will come in handy on exam day and in your clinical practice.

UWorld has you covered when preparing for your NCLEX exam. With NCLEX-style questions, vivid illustrations, and unparalleled, industry-leading rationales, you will learn and prepare at the same time. Click here to discover why over 700,000 nursing students have used us for their NCLEX prep since we launched our Nursing QBank in 2015. Let us help you find NCLEX success. The stakes are too high to settle for anything less.

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When to Start Studying for the NCLEX® (2024)
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