When you’re busy with nursing school, planning clinical rotations, and, well, life, taking the NCLEX-RNⓇ can seem a lifetime away. But…time after time, we hear the test comes up quickly after graduating from RN school. Many nursing students and graduates of nursing programs wonder if there is—or perhaps was—a perfect time to start studying for the NCLEXⓇ exam and how to create an NCLEX study schedule based on the best time to start studying.
While there is no magic time frame that will guarantee you won’t be stressed studying for the NCLEX, we do know the earlier you start studying the better.
So…Is Six Months Too Early to Start Studying for the NCLEXⓇ?
Starting to study at least six months before taking the NCLEX is a great way to pace your studies so you don’t experience burnout. Cramming, over-caffeinating, and pulling all-nighters because you didn’t have enough time to study is a sure way to burn yourself out and potentially hurt your chances of passing the NCLEX exam the first time.
Instead, giving yourself ample time to study for the NCLEX will ensure you have time to go through all the material and dig in on hard-to-grasp subjects.
This guideline helps you focus your studies when you have six months, six weeks, four weeks, and two weeks left to study for the NCLEX. We break down and prioritize how you study for the NCLEX in a way that works with you and your allotted time.
When Should I Schedule my NCLEX Exam?
When you take your test is up to you. Some students like to take it right after graduation when a lot of the information is fresh and they are still mentally in school mode. They also feel like they are getting it out of the way.
Other students like to give themselves time after they graduate to enjoy school being over and take some time off from studying. This option allows students to schedule their test for a few months after they graduate.
No matter when you schedule the exam, you should just make sure to give yourself ample time to study. To learn more about the process and register when you are ready check out the NCSBN website. You can get a good understanding of all the requirements and available test dates there.
Tips for Making the Time to Study for the NCLEX
After scheduling your test and giving yourself at least six months to study, it’s time to start breaking down your study routine week by week. No matter how you break it down, getting on any schedule will help keep you on track. Don’t let weeks or months slip away thinking the test is so far out because it will sneak up on you before you know it!
Start by committing to a study routine by writing it out. A planner, either physical or digital, can help with time management and you’ll be able to see the full picture. You can also pencil in some time with study groups and time with your professor to make sure you are using all the resources available to you.
What if I Forget it All by the Exam?
While studying early might seem like it could lead to forgetting some information you studied six months prior, if you are using the right NCLEX study tools this won’t happen. Using tools that leverage spaced repetition—recalling the right information to review before you forget it will help make sure the concepts you learn stick with you forever.
The material you’re learning is dense and complicated but with the right tools and enough time to study, the thousands of nursing facts and topics will be so ingrained in your brain that you’ll be able to recall them for your NCLEX exam and when you’re on the job in the future. Because of that, it’s never too early to start studying for your NCLEX exam.
Start Planning Your Study Schedule Early
Whether you are starting super early and have a ton of time to work out a schedule or working really hard over the next four weeks to pass the NCLEX, you find a variety of study schedules and resources to help you. Check out our blog on studying approaches and playlists to view that covers six months up until two weeks until the NCLEX. We have you covered no matter when you start and know you can crush your exams with the right study plan!
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