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Study Tips for Passing NCLEX-RN & NCLEX-PN in the First Attempt

You have worked hard through your nursing school and have passed multiple rigorous exams and clinical practice sessions. As a result, you believe yourself ready to get the license and become a Practicing Nurse. The only thing in between your goal and you is the NCLEX-RN exam. Though it is quite a competitive exam, you can manage to achieve a high score if you work both hard and smart. So, here are five tips to ace your NCLEX-RN exam on the first go!

  1. Understand the Exam:

You need to understand your enemies before conquering them! Though it is an extreme example, it does apply to your exams.

Before even thinking about giving the exam, you need to understand it. You need to know its format, length, number of questions, type of questions, topics, passing criteria, and more! Knowing this, you will be able to create a strategy that will be best suited for you to achieve a high score. It will also help you ensure that you receive no surprises while giving the exam.

If you want to understand the NCLEX-RN exam, you can go through our article explaining all the crucial facts about the NCLEX-RN exam.

2. Create A Study Plan:

Here comes the most fun part of studying→ creating a study plan! Don't we all love to create THE STUDY PLAN that will help us top the exams? But when it comes to execution, very few individuals follow their study plan effectively. This is either due to an over-ambitious plan, not having any break or buffer time or just faulty planning.

It is not that hard to create a plan to help you complete your studies and have a social life. You just need to make sure that your schedule is flexible and personalized to your skills, needs, and learning capacity.

You should choose an ideal date for giving the NCLEX-RN exam and create all your study plans according to it. After that, review the number of days you have before the exam and the number of topics you need to cover. After getting a good idea about it, you can create a study schedule according to your needs.

You should allow extra time for breaks, daily chores, exercise, and some buffer time to cover up your studies if you missed a few days. Allot specific days for studying and other obligations. A schedule that facilitates a good work-life balance is the most effective in letting you complete your preparation without burning out.

Do not try to cram for your exams if you want to get a good score! The exam is designed to test the knowledge you have acquired in years of nursing school, not days before the exam.

3. Use Active Learning Techniques:

Not all study methods are equal. Ironically, research has shown that the most common techniques like repetitive reading, highlighting, and notetaking are the least effective in helping you study. Many capable students lag behind because their study methods aren't smart enough. Here is the list of smart study techniques with their level of effectiveness.

Sr. No.Study TechniqueDescriptionEffectiveness/ Utility
1Elaborative interrogationCreating an explanation for why a fact or concept is actual.Moderate
2Self-explanationLinking newly learned information to known information or explaining steps solved during problem-solving.Moderate
3SummarizationWriting summaries of the known text.Low
4Highlighting/underliningMarking important portions of materials while readingLow
5Keyword mnemonicUsing keywords and imagery to learn and relate new materialsLow
6Imagery for textAttempting to form images of text materials while reading.Low
7RereadingRereading text material again after an initial readingLow
8Practice testingTaking practice tests over to-be-learned materialHigh
9Distributed practiceAdministering a schedule of practice that spreads out study activities over timeHigh
10Interleaved practiceImplementing a schedule of practice that mixes different kinds of problems or a plan of study that combines different types of material within a single study session.Moderate

From the above table, you can conclude that distributing multiple practice tests over your study schedule is best for maximum retention and a higher score in the NCLEX-RN exam.

4. Use Online Practice Questions and Question Banks:

As concluded above, one of the best ways to study is to test yourself regularly. But testing can be a very tedious process. You not only have to search for the question to create a question bank or test, but you also have to solve and evaluate them regularly. This can take up a lot of your time that you can use for learning new material or dealing with other tasks.

Using an online Question Bank and Testing services can help you save valuable time. And If you get this material from a good source, the questions will be created by experts who have evaluated multiple exams. These experts know which type of questions are most likely to appear in the exam and will help you be ready for them.

Hence, question banks provide you with high-quality questions and help you save time checking and evaluating your tests. They also help you better assess your progress and adjust your study strategies to improve your weak points.

5. Sleep Properly:

Hustling and having many sleepless working nights is highly glamourized within the medical community. But it has very negative consequences for your exams!

Being a nurse, you already know the importance of sleep in maintaining good physical and mental health. But do you know that sleep deprivation can also become a reason for your failure in the NCLEX-RN exam?

Not having a proper sleep can affect your cognition and ability to retent and recall learned information. Therefore, if you are sleep-deprived, even having the perfect study plan and schedule won't help you pass the exam.

If you want to have a healthy sleep routine, you should follow these simple tips-

  • Find your sleeping chronotype and adjust your sleep timing according to those.
    • Have a fixed time to sleep and wake up. (Even on weekends)
    • Do not drink coffee after 2 PM.


Giving the NCLEX-RN can be one of the most challenging tasks. But it is the last step you have to take to become a Practicing Nurse! You are more than capable of passing and getting a high rank in the exam. You just need to prepare correctly.

The trick is to work hard in a super smart way. Archer Review is here to be your companion in the journey to achieving your practicing license. Our comprehensive set of question banks and practice tests will help you prepare for any question the exam might throw at you!


  1. Dunlosky J, Rawson KA, Marsh EJ, Nathan MJ, Willingham DT. Improving Students' Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology. Psychol Sci Public Interest. 2013 Jan;14(1):4-58. doi: 10.1177/1529100612453266. PMID: 26173288.
  2. Lowe CJ, Safati A, Hall PA. The neurocognitive consequences of sleep restriction: A meta-analytic review. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2017 Sep;80:586-604. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.07.010. Epub 2017 Jul 28. PMID: 28757454.