Simplify Your NCLEX Studying

  • 01 August, 2022

The word NCLEX alone may cause some worry and anticipation, but there's no need to overwhelm yourself by overcomplicating your study process! Figuring out how you can simplify the steps to get from point A to B will save you time and effort in the long run. While everyone may go about their review sessions slightly differently, there are some key factors that can assist anyone in easing the study process. Let's explore some various ways that you can make your NCLEX study routine as seamless as possible.

Simplify Your NCLEX Studying

1. Find what works for you

Every NCLEX resource out there will claim that it's better than the next in an attempt to hook you in. While the intention may be to help, sometimes indulging in too many resources can be overbearing and leave you feeling more unsettled than before. By all means, do your research and determine which resources align with the ways in which you learn best, but don't get caught in the trap of thinking that more is better when it comes to the number of resources you truly need. Focus on quality over quantity and take the time early on to discover where you want to invest your time and money.

If you have too many options to choose from, you may find that you are less productive and have a harder time focusing on the content at hand. Figure out how you acquire information most easily and choose something that aligns well with this. For example, if you retain information by reading, you may want to invest in an NCLEX review book; if you rely on others to teach you, a comprehensive NCLEX course may be the most beneficial. If practice questions and corresponding rationales help you acquire information most easily, looking for a resource that provides this option would be helpful. There are several tools out there that have a combination of different learning styles; you just need to do some digging beforehand to find what works well for you. If at all possible, start your research while you are still in nursing school-that way, you can begin to utilize the resources as a student and bypass the need to do it last minute.

2. Find ONE review book or course (instead of several) that you align with to save time and money

Piggybacking off tip number one, be sure that after doing your own research and investigation, that you avoid investing in everything. While it may be tempting to engage in several study courses or feel the urge to buy ALL of the NCLEX review books, keep in mind that the more you have, the more stressful it may be to then decipher what to use and when to use it. As long as what you purchase provides what you feel will be helpful for you to review successfully, there is no need to indulge in every possible study tool out there.

Additionally, don't get caught up in comparing what you're doing to a fellow classmate. What works for them may not work for you and vice versa. Focus on you and your needs alone.

3. Make a schedule and stick to it

I cannot stress enough the importance of being organized when it comes to studying for your NCLEX. If you have a set schedule that you can visually see laid out in front of you, it will be less tedious to fumble through what you want to review on a given day and much easier to stick to it. Before you set foot on your study review session, utilize a planner or large calendar that you can fill in what areas you want to review each day. Be as specific as possible! If you have the means to write out hour by hour of your day, you can determine the spaces to dedicate to your NCLEX review and see where throughout your days, weeks, and months you can incorporate necessary breaks and periods of rest. Organization is key to simplifying the process and making the most of your day-to-day studies.

4. Clear your workspace

In addition to creating a schedule, be sure to keep your study space free of clutter. The brain is easily distracted, so it is best to only have what you need in front of you while you are studying. If you are going over notes from various maternity lectures, you don't need to have fluid and electrolytes PowerPoint notes off to the side. Whatever you are not reviewing at the time should be kept out of your line of vision.

This also pertains to electronic devices. It is best to avoid having your phone in sight while reviewing. Every time you see a notification or text message come through, your focus is derailed, cutting into precious time that could be dedicated to learning new material. Place your phone and all other distracting electronic devices off to the side, out of your sight and plan to only be on them when you are giving yourself a study break. You will be amazed at how much more focus you have as well as the increase in your productivity.

5. Do not neglect practice questions and rationales

While the actual learning part may vary from individual to individual, taking practice questions as a way to assess knowledge acquisition should apply to everyone. Whether you enjoy it or not, going through NCLEX-style questions is one of the best ways to set you up for the real deal-it's as simple as that. If you wanted to learn to drive a car, you wouldn't practice by driving a semi-truck- you would find whatever was most similar to what you planned to drive. In an equivalent way, working through NCLEX questions is the best way to train your brain for what to anticipate on the exam.

Taking the time to understand why an answer is correct or incorrect is even more important than partaking in the practice questions themselves, however. This is where the real learning takes place as opposed to just going through the motions of answering questions. You need to truly understand why you answered something the way you did in order to gain any real value. So, as you work your way through various practice tests and questions, do not neglect reading through the rationale and recording it, especially when you answered incorrectly. Furthermore, take the time to go back and look through your written out rationales often so that the information is not lost or forgotten.

6. Take study breaks

While this piece of advice may seem counterfeit, I can guarantee that you will retain more information and be better off if you find a healthy balance between studying and resting your brain. There is only so much information that can be acquired in one sitting, and if you attempt to push those limits, you will find yourself feeling fatigued and may lose rather than gain progress. Therefore, it is imperative that you not only take breaks frequently throughout your day, but also come up with a designated time each evening that you completely shut off the studying entirely.

Additionally, making sure you allot time for self-care each day will also provide numerous benefits. If you take care of yourself, it will be easier for you to absorb vital information that you will need to successfully overcome your NCLEX exam. Be sure to stay hydrated and well-nourished, as well as active. While studying is a priority, taking care of yourself should always be on the top of your "to-do list."

7. Create a routine

Along with organization comes establishing and sticking to a set routine. Once you can sit down and map out your study route, you can design your day-to-day actions accordingly. Sticking to a well-thought-out schedule during this delicate NCLEX review timeframe is critical. The more time you dedicate, the better the likelihood that you will only need to take the exam one time. If you know the night before what type of content you plan to study for the following day, you will make the most of your review and eliminate any wasted time spent fumbling through what to go over. The more detailed your routine is, the easier it will be to know when you should be engaging each day.

While the internet may feel oversaturated with various methods and tips on how to go about studying for the NCLEX, keep in mind that what works best for you may be completely opposite from the next person. However, the key to success is to simplify the steps to get from where you are now to where you want to be. Take the time to analyze the ins and outs of your own study regimen, routine, space, and schedule-and work backwards from there. It doesn't have to be complicated, so before you get started on your NCLEX study journey, make the effort to revamp your study habits in order to simplify the process!

Interested in taking a top-rated NCLEX exam review course to boost your chances of success? Partner with EduMind today!

About the Author: Kelsey Mangan

Kelsey Mangan is a registered nurse, who graduated from Linfield College in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and minor in education. She is a health and wellness advocate, writer, wife, and a new mama to baby Paisley. In her spare time, she enjoys working out, spending time with friends and family, finding binge-worthy shows on Netflix, and snuggling with her sweet daughter.

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