Can You Study for the NCLEX-RN in One Week?

We are all guilty of procrastinating sometimes, right? Well, you can study for the NCLEX-RN in one week but I wouldn’t recommend it as a strategy for success.  In order to take the NCLEX-RN, the application process and test scheduling can take a few weeks to a few months depending on what state you are in.  You have plenty of time from the when you apply to when you actually take the test to set up a preparation schedule that will fit your needs. But, let’s just say that you’ve put off studying and now your test is a week away.  All hope is not lost.  Here are a few strategies for NCLEX-RN preparation…FAST!

student nurse with booksPhoto by Walt Stoneburner

Read over the test plan

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing publishes a test plan for all would-be test takers to view.  Start here for an overview of the exam and to get familiar with the topics that you will find on the test.

Set your daily schedule

If you have only 7 days to study, you need to set your schedule so that you are doing test prep every day. Be realistic.  Don’t plan to study 18 hours a day.  You need sleep, food, and exercise too.  Be strategic about how much you take on every day and plan to maximize productivity with the time you have.

Find your resources

Seek the help of a test prep expert, an online class or message board, books from the library, or any other test preparation strategies that suit your learning style. Look for resources geared toward studying on a timeline. If it were me, I’d pay close attention to study methods that hold me accountable so that my week of prep doesn’t accidently turn into an all-night cram-fest. (Which, incidentally, I also do not recommend).

night before the exam


Practice NCLEX-style questions

Focus a lot of your time on practice questions. You can’t cram everything from the NCLEX-RN into a week of studying but you can make learning how the questions are asked a priority. NCLEX questions are designed for you to apply your knowledge to complex situations to demonstrate your ability to provide safe nursing care. The more practice you have with these questions, the easier it becomes to break them down and find key words and phrases that will help you pick the correct answers.  There’s not trick to this step.  As we’ve all heard, practice makes perfect!
While studying in a week isn’t ideal, it doesn’t have to destroy your chances of passing the NCLEX-RN. The keys to studying in a short amount of time are to prioritize what you are studying and be consistent with the time you have.  Now, what are you waiting for? It’s time to hit those books!