Nessa, RN - November 27, 2022

8-Week NCLEX Study Plan: Tips for Success

NCLEX study schedule for nursing students, NCLEX study guide

The last step before obtaining your nursing license and starting the career you’ve been working towards is the NCLEX exam. There’s a lot of pressure riding on the outcome of the exam, so it’s completely normal to feel anxious about it. However, if you prepare for the NCLEX exam properly, you have nothing to worry about. With a practical NCLEX study plan, you’ll be right on your way to passing the NCLEX exam in no time. 

Luckily you don’t need to start from scratch when it comes to building an NCLEX study plan. I’ve already been through it, so I am happy to share the 8-Week NCLEX Study Plan that helped me pass the exam, down to a sample calendar that you can adapt to your study needs.

My Tried and Tested 8-Week NCLEX Study Plan:

Week 1: Create a Study Schedule

It might seem silly to schedule in time to plan, but setting a realistic foundation for your NCLEX study plan is key to sticking with it. There are three main things to consider when creating your plan:

  • The date your exam is scheduled: This will give you the timeframe to build your study schedule around. (Aiming for 6-8 weeks after graduation allows ample time to prepare)
  • Amount of time available for studying: Be realistic, you don’t want to burn yourself out before the exam
  • Your learning style: Tailoring your study schedule to your learning preferences will make it easier to retain the information that you’re learning. (i.e. videos vs flashcards, or podcasts vs reading)

Week 2: Take Practice Tests to Identify Your Weaknesses and Strengths

Before you break into the hardcore studying, first take a practice test to identify where your strong and weak areas are. This way you know what to prioritize first in your study schedule.

  • Identify the concepts that you struggle with
  • Identify the areas that you have a solid understanding of

Week 3: Review Weak Areas First

The next step in the NCLEX study plan is to start with what you struggle with. Based on your practice test you’ll know where your weak areas are. Start with those first, for example, if you struggle the most with maternity, review maternity content and do maternity practice questions before moving on to other topics.

  • Study the areas that you struggle with first
  • Continue until you’re comfortable explaining these topics to someone without notes

Weeks 4-6: Continue Content Review and Do Practice Questions

In weeks 4-6, you’ll want to focus on the topics that show up the most often on the test, starting with your weak areas. You should commit to doing practice questions daily to refine your judgment skills and reinforce all the topics in your mind.

  • Continue reviewing other high-yield content
  • Try to do at least 50-100 practice questions a day
  • Leave the content you are confident in till the end i.e. if your strength is Fundamentals, then save that for last

Weeks 7-8: Practice Questions and Relax

The last two weeks of the NCLEX study plan are the home stretch, at this point, you should have a solid understanding of all the topics. Focus on daily practice questions. The day before the exam give your mind a break so it’s fresh for the exam. Resist the urge to cram in another study session, rather do something relaxing and get a good night of sleep.

  • Focus on practice questions, at least 50-100 a day
  • Read all of the rationales, even if you got it correct (this is how you learn and recognize different strategies when answering NCLEX style questions)
  • Take breaks to avoid burnout
  • Do not study the day before your exam. Reserve that time to relax and rejuvenate.

Here is an example of my 8-week NCLEX study schedule:

8-week NCLEX study schedule for nursing students, NCLEX study guide

I focused on Fundamentals and Maternity first as those are my weakest areas.

8-week NCLEX study schedule for nursing students, NCLEX study guide

For the last 4 weeks, I focused more on practice questions and reading rationales.

Download a free NCLEX study schedule template to create your own study plan:

NCLEX study schedule template for nursing students, NCLEX study guideDOWNLOAD NCLEX STUDY SCHEDULE TEMPLATE

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