The NCLEX-PN exam is a mandatory requirements for graduates from accredited nursing programs before they can take their first job as a practicing nurse. The test itself is written and administered through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN). There are a number of study aids and practice tests that can be done to get you ready before you go to take the actual exam.
Complete Your Schooling
Before registering to take the NCLEX-PN, you must complete all of the required classroom work and the clinical hours to meet the prerequisites. Once you have passed all of your classes you will have all of the basic materials needed to pass the NCLEX-PN exam.
Knowing What to Study
Now it's time for you to sit down and study independently to prepare for the test. Unfortunately, going back through your entire nursing program and studying everything independently is overwhelming. Instead, the NCSBN publishes an annual test plan that you can download online. This plan breaks down specific topics that will be covered on your NCLEX-PN exam. They offer both a basic and a detailed test plan that walks you through an in depth version of what to expect for the exam. It begins with a breakdown of the subjects that will be covered, and how many questions will be asked about each topic. For instance, the current test plan says that approximately 19% of the test questions will be about "coordinated care", and goes into further detail that the following subjects are part of this umbrella: advocacy, continuity of care, patient rights, informed consent and more.
Using a test plan will give you a good idea of exactly what you need to focus on when you are going back through your text books and study materials.
In addition to studying on your own, it can be extremely helpful to practice taking a test in the same format that the actual NCLEX-PN exam will be given. This can help reduce the amount of stress you feel when it's time to sit down at the actual computer terminal for the real thing. Most practice test programs grade you and give you a breakdown of areas where you are struggling most so you can focus on those areas in detail beforehand. Another helpful feature of practice exams is that they are usually made up of questions taken from previous years of the test, so you can get familiar with the wording and expectations of the actual test writers and get help if you are struggling to understand exactly what the questions are asking of you in advance. These practice exams can usually be purchased online and some of them also include a written test booklet with all of the possible questions and answers for you to look over.
Preparing for the NCLEX-PN exam does not need to be as difficult as it may seem. Plenty of people have developed helpful studying tools, and the NCSBN has taken steps to ensure that candidates for the test have all the information they need to prepare for the exam before they sit down to actually take it. Using these resources along with your notes and textbooks from school you should have more than enough information to get through the test with ease.
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