How to Study the Week Before the NCLEX

Preparing for NCLEX can be a daunting task. With NCLEX only a week away, it may be challenging to maintain the study momentum you had when you first began studying. But, you’re approaching the finish line and can’t stop now! Hopefully you have been committed to a study plan in the weeks prior. With one week before the NCLEX, here are some tips and strategies to get you over the finish line.

Maintain a Regular Study Schedule

By now, you should already be on a study plan, which you’ve been committed to over the past several weeks. If not, you may want to consider rescheduling your NCLEX date. NCLEX is not an exam you can prepare successfully for in a week.
If you are just getting started, it will be important to develop a study plan for success. You will want to make sure this study plan is catered to your personal NCLEX prep needs; whether those needs are content, practice, test-taking strategies—or all three. As you plan your daily study schedule, keep in mind that we do NOT recommend studying the day before the NCLEX.

Practice Self-Regulation Techniques

Studying for NCLEX can be a very stressful time! It’s important for you to maintain a positive outlook. Stress reduction techniques are good to help decrease anxiety. Eliminating negative self-talk and practicing self-regulation techniques, like mindfulness, for example, are excellent strategies to use. These strategies will allow you to remain focused and engaged in rigorous study.

Take a Realistic Practice Test

Practice tests (preferably realistic Computer Adaptive Tests) are great things to complete within one week of your scheduled NCLEX date to get a “feel” for where you are in your study plan. Your test results can be used as an indicator for areas of further study, and as a checkpoint to measure your progress. Spend time remediating test results. If there are content areas you’re still unfamiliar with, spend one or two days refreshing subject content using engaging content videos and other methods that give you quick, focused review. Once you have reviewed, fall right back in with your study plan.
You should also aim to get plenty of other Qbank practice with realistic, NCLEX-style questions that include complete explanations—but we recommend taking no more than 150 Qbank questions per day to avoid burnout. Make sure you remediate ALL of your practice questions on these tests, not just the questions you’ve missed.

Do Not Study the Day Before the NCLEX

As the big day finally approaches, use this day to plan something fun! You’ve completed the study plan and now it’s time to reward yourself for a job well done. It’s important that you are well-rested and energized when you arrive at your testing site tomorrow. Make sure you’ve driven to the test location to determine how much time you’ll to allocate your arrival. Plan to go out with friends for a nice dinner or a movie. Schedule a day just for you, to do whatever brings you the most joy. Plan for a balanced breakfast in the morning (nothing too heavy) and get a good night’s sleep.


It’s finally here— the big day! This is what you‘ve been waiting for. All of your hard work pays off TODAY! Eat a balanced breakfast. Arrive at the testing site on time. Make sure you have the proper forms of identification.
You’ve studied hard. You’re well-prepared. You will be successful!

Need help prepping for the NCLEX? Check out Kaplan’s resources.

Janice Lanham RN, MS, CCRN-K, CNS, FNP is one of our 600 nurses working to help you pass the NCLEX.