How to Take a NCLEX Practice Test

You know how they say that practice makes perfect? Well, in this case, maybe not perfect. Still, taking a NCLEX practice test will go a long way in helping you feel ready on the big day! How should you go about taking an NCLEX practice test to get the most out of it? Read on for my tips on how to take a NCLEX practice test!

Set the Stage

NCLEX Practice Test

To get the most out of your NCLEX practice test, you are going to want to set the stage. Are you testing on your own or are you taking a test with a test preparation provider? If you are going it alone, make sure you have at least 265 practice questions ready to go. This is the maximum number of test questions a candidate can receive on test day. Explore the many practice question options from books to apps. There is no shortage of practice questions out there. Pick a source for questions that you trust.

If you are using a test preparation provider and taking a test at their test site or through their website, be sure you have all the necessary information. Be sure you know the date and time of the test, any needed logon information (if testing through a website), and any additional materials that you will need (such as payment information or access codes).

Make the Time

The time limit for the NCLEX is 5 hours, including break times. Pay attention to the time so that you allow yourself the adequate time to take the test at your test day pace. If testing on your own, set a timer for the halfway point so you can judge where you are in the test and what your pace is. If testing at a practice test site, make note of the time when you start and when you finish to figure out your pace. This is very helpful information going into your test day. You will be able to better manage your time during the exam.

Don’t Cheat

NCLEX Practice Test

If you are testing at a practice test site, this won’t be an issue.  Since the practice exam is likely proctored just as your real exam will be, you will not be allowed to bring in any additional test preparation materials. If you are testing on your own, either through a website or with a practice test booklet, resist the urge to look up the answers. On test day, you will not have access to reference materials of any kind. To get the most from your NCLEX practice test, stay honest. You will only be able to gauge your knowledge and identify any areas for additional studies if you take the NCLEX practice test the same way you will take it when it is for real. If you cheat on the practice exam, you will cheat yourself out of an honest assessment of your skills heading in to test day.

Keep it in Perspective

NCLEX Practice Test

This is only a practice exam.  If you do well, that’s great! But don’t get too comfortable. The real NCLEX is tough and you wouldn’t be the first to be surprised by your results after taking a NCLEX practice exam. If you didn’t do as well as you had hoped on the NCLEX practice test, don’t be discouraged. It doesn’t mean that you won’t pass the read deal. Take it as a cue for what areas you need to spend a little extra time on before test day.


NCLEX practice tests can really give you a good idea of what it is like answering all those questions on test day. Make your plans for getting the most out of your practice exam and showing up to the real NCLEX test day confident and ready to pass! Happy Studying!