I really wish I could tell the future. I want to be able to gaze into my crystal ball and know everything that is headed down my path. When you are preparing for the NCLEX, I’m sure you wish you had a crystal ball too. You would probably ask, “Am I ready for the NCLEX-RN?” Unfortunately, I don’t have a crystal ball and I’m guessing you don’t either which is how you found this blog! Luckily, there are some steps you can take to calm your nerves and figure out if you are ready to take the NCLEX-RN.
What do you mean by ready?
Being “ready” for the NCLEX-RN is going to mean different things to different people. For some students it will mean feeling confident that they have all the knowledge they need to pass. For other students, it will mean feeling as though they have done all they could to prepare and now it’s time to take the leap. For yet others still, it will mean that they have completed nursing school, and all the paper work and have been told by their state board of nursing that they are ready to take the exam. To determine if you are ready to take the NCLEX-RN, you need to decide what ready means to you.
It’s time to be really honest here. What have you done to prepare yourself for the NCLEX? Sure, you’ve finished nursing school but have you dedicated any time to test preparation? While I’m sure there is some mystical creature out there that can just waltz in and pass the NCLEX-RN with little to no preparation, most mere mortals (like me) will require some test specific preparation. Review the NCLEX-RN Test Plan and get an idea of the major test topics and then seek out some test preparation to help you focus on your weaker areas. You can buy books, participate in classes in person or online, form study groups, or utilize the local library. Take stock of where you are in the readiness process and then seek out strategies to help you get where you want to be.
Build your confidence
Maybe you’ve been studying and feel like you can’t possibly study anymore? I get it…believe me, I’ve been there. But, you still have this nagging voice in your head that tells you that you aren’t ready to take the test. If you just devote another day, another week then you’ll be ready. There is no magic formula to determine how long you should study for the NCLEX-RN but, if you’ve been studying for a month or two, you might need to work on your confidence a bit more than your nursing knowledge. Take some practice tests. There are plenty of free and paid resources to access NCLEX-style practice questions. Once you see that you can answer the practice questions, it will inevitably build your confidence to make the leap to the real deal.
While I don’t have a crystal ball and can’t say for certain what is in your future, I can say that you are ready for the NCLEX when you feel like you have done all you could to get ready for the test and have nothing to regret. One thing that is worse than failing, is looking back knowing you could have done more. Give yourself the time to prepare for the exam and build your confidence. Then, even if you don’t pass, you can come back to the studying with more information and knowing what worked and what didn’t. At some point you have to take a deep breath and trust yourself.