The NCLEX is particularly challenging because it integrates massive amounts of information into one comprehensive series of test questions and maintains an exceptionally high passing standard. In fact, during 2013's April to June testing period, only 29.92 percent of United States-educated repeat test takers passed the exam, as opposed to 83 percent of first-time testers. You'll want to pass the first time, and several types of resources are available to help.
Take a Review Course
NCLEX review courses are available through various resources, including the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. The NCSBN's review is a self-study course that provides you with 24-hour access to a plethora of online tools, including more than 2,000 pages of material, practice tests and study tips. The content is organized according to the official NCLEX Test Plan and is regularly updated. If you're interested in an in-class course, organizations such as Kaplan and Hurst Review offer live and online classes. Kaplan's live course boasts more than 3,000 pages of sample questions, an over 500-page digital guidebook and 21 hours of classroom instruction.
Hire a Tutor
If self-guided review courses aren't structured enough and in-class reviews don't work with your schedule, or if you are just someone who responds better to individualized instruction, you could hire a tutor to help you prepare. Tutors work with agencies and privately; some teach in person at learning centers, some in the home, some via the Internet and some mix the methods with which they offer their services. You can find instructors at online tutoring marketplaces such as WyzAnt.com, through commercial test preparation agencies such as Interactive NCLEX Tutoring, or at your school's tutoring center.
Enlist a Friend
Finding a study buddy -- or buddies -- can be both a convenient and inexpensive way to get some help preparing for the NCLEX. See if any friends who are also taking the exam can study with you. You can keep each other motivated and on task throughout the review period. Furthermore, additional people will likely have strengths different from your own, so your specific areas of expertise will likely complement one another.
Collect Available Materials
If classes and online courses and tutoring and study groups aren't for you, plenty of other helpful study materials are still available. Guidebooks, such as the “Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination” are easy to find online and are inexpensive compared to some other forms of NCLEX preparatory services out there.
- National Council of State Boards of Nursing: Passing Standard
- National Council of State Boards of Nursing: Table of Pass Rates
- National Council of State Boards of Nursing: NCLEX Review Course Tour
- Kaplan Nursing: NCLEX-RN Review Classroom
- Hurst Review Services: Home
- Wyzant.com: About
- Interactive Tutoring Center: Home
- University of Texas: Policy Title: Promotion of Academic Success
- Nursing Guide: Tips to Pass the Nursing Board Exam
- Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN® Examination; Linda Anne Silvestri
- Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images