Everyone is different in how long it will take to prepare for the NCLEX. But here are some general guidelines to get you started!
First time test-taker
If you are taking the NCLEX for the first time, it will take about 2-6 weeks to prepare after you graduate. Never wait longer than 3 months after you have taken your last nursing test to take the NCLEX. You will easily start to forget information.
If you are repeating the test, it can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months to prepare.
The AVERAGE amount of time it takes for a repeat test-taker to prepare is 2-3 months.
If you are repeating the test, have a lot of time to prepare and are very strong in content it will take less time and closer to 6 weeks.
If you are repeating the test and you don’t have a lot of time to study and very weak in content, it can take up to 6 months. Many students that fail want to take it again as soon as they can, which is about 45 days. However, if you put very little work in, many students just end up failing again. It’s better to take the time to really learn the content, learn how to answer questions and take it one more time and be DONE. So, you may need more than 45 days.
How much time to spend daily on studying?
I recommend 2 hours a day devoted to preparation. If you can’t devote 2 hours, try to do at least 1 hour a day. It will take longer, but it’s better to spend a little amount of time daily as opposed to 10 hours on a free day. You will remember more if you break up your studying.
What is the maximum amount of time daily for studying?
5 hours a day is what I suggest as a maximum time spent on preparation. Any more then 5 hours and you will start to confuse the content.
How long should I spend on a topic?
I advise to spend about 5 hours on each topic and practice at least 100 questions from each topic. If you spend about 2 hours a day reviewing content and practicing questions, then you will get done with 1 topic in about 2 days.
What is a topic?
- Fundamentals (F&E, acid/base, labs)
- Safety and Infection Control
- Medication administration, Math, TPN, IVs & Blood
- Each adult health topic is 1 topic (ex: cardiac, respiratory, etc.)
Get a Plan
Get a calendar and figure out when you have free time. Carve out blocks of time (2 hours is ideal) and write down what you will review for that day. Each topic should have at least 2 study sessions devoted to that topic.
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