NCLEX Study Plan: How To Prepare For NCLEX In 3 Months?

Getting ready for the NCLEX is overwhelming, but don’t worry! I’ve got your back! In the next few months, we’ll work together to create an NCLEX study plan that fits your style and helps you ace that test. 

From setting up a study schedule to finding the best practice tests and resources, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

When done, you’ll feel confident and ready to tackle the NCLEX head-on. So, let’s dive in and get started on this journey together!

NCLEX Study Plan In 3 Months [Effective]

First, I’ll say why three months. According to most people I know who have passed this exam (and myself), three months (90 days) is the most reasonable duration to prepare. You’ll have time to study and relax.

Now, let’s see what you will do in these three months!

nclex study plan 3 month

Stage 1: (Week 1) Get Familiar With The Exam

In the first week, your priority should be getting familiar with the test structure and content. Begin by accessing the NCSBN test plan for the RN/PN exam

This plan outlines the exam’s structure, including content categories, question types, and distribution throughout the test.

You can also utilize the sample exams provided by NCSBN to simulate test conditions. This practice will help alleviate exam anxiety, enhance your study efficiency and also increase your chances of passing the NCLEX test.

Additionally, take advantage of the free exams offered by NCSBN, which contain authentic NCLEX questions. Go through them to know what you’re about to face to build an effective study plan.

Get Familiar With The Exam
Get Familiar With The Exam

Stage 2: (Week 2) Developing Your NCLEX Study Plan

To create a study plan, you can use a simple paper with 30 boxes or a digital planner. If you already use a calendar, you can add your study schedule there too.

Step 1: Choose The Format For Your Study 

First, figure out what format works best for you. Do you like writing things down or using technology? Then, break your study time into small, manageable chunks. Plan specific times for reviewing material, doing practice questions, and taking breaks.

Keep your schedule realistic and balanced. Don’t overload yourself with too much studying, but don’t slack off. If you’re already busy, adjust your study plan accordingly.

Remember, the goal is to understand and absorb the material, not just to cram it all in.

Step 2: Choose & Plan For Your Test Date 

Then, select a test date and mark it on the calendar; this is a milestone to help structure your schedule. Remember, you can adjust the date later if needed.

Once your test date is set, tailor your study plan to suit your needs. Consider what areas you need to focus on the most: practice questions, content review, or test-taking strategies. Allocate time for each aspect accordingly.

Integrate practice tests into your schedule at regular intervals leading up to the exam. Schedule review sessions after each practice test to identify areas for improvement and reinforce your understanding of key concepts.

Don’t forget to include remediation times in your plan. These sessions are essential for addressing weaknesses and filling in any knowledge gaps.

Choose Resources To Study
Choose Resources To Study

Step 3: Choose NCLEX Resources To Study

As you prepare for this exam in three months, it’s crucial to pick the best study materials. Look for resources made by experienced practicing nurses. Here’s what to look for:

  • Interface like the exam: Choose resources with a similar look and feel to the actual exam. Getting familiar with this will boost your confidence on test day.
  • Tough practice questions with explanations: They must explain both the right and wrong answers so you can understand better.
  • NGN-style questions: The new NCLEX format focuses more on clinical judgment. Ensure your resources have questions that match this style to improve your critical thinking.
  • Clear images & illustrations: They can help you understand challenging concepts better.
  • Flashcards with smart review: They show cards at the right time to help you remember better.
  • Self-assessments with predictions: Take self-assessments to see how ready you are for the NCLEX. Some resources can predict how close you are to being ready.
  • Track your progress: Resources that let you see how well you’re doing help you focus your study time where you need it most.
  • Mobile app access: Choose resources with a free app to study wherever and whenever you want.

Picking study resources with these features will help you prepare well and feel more confident on test day.

Reviewing Practice Questions
Reviewing Practice Questions

Step 4: Break Down Study Schedule

Don’t forget to break down your schedule into manageable chunks. Establish a routine by scheduling two study sessions each day. 

Aim to answer 60 questions during the day and another 60 questions at night. Consistency is vital to developing a study habit.

Remember to schedule breaks between study sessions to rest and recharge. Maintaining a balance between study and relaxation is vital for preventing burnout and maintaining focus.

Stage 3: (Week 3-8) Reviewing Practice Questions

Reviewing practice questions is a vital part of your NCLEX preparation. Here’s a guide to help you make the most of your practice tests:

  • Use practice tests as a gauge.

Practice tests, especially realistic CATs, give you a sense of where you stand in your study plan. Use your test results to identify areas that need more focus and to track your progress.

  • Remediate test results

Spend time reviewing and understanding your test results. If there are topics you’re still unsure about, dedicate one to two days to refreshing your understanding using content videos or other review methods.

  • Question exposure is essential.

Success on the NCLEX comes from exposure to as many questions as possible. Aim to expose yourself to 3500 practice questions; this may seem like a lot, but it’s essential for developing your test-taking skills.

  • Create a realistic practice environment.

Minimize distractions during practice tests. Resist the temptation to look up answers during the exam and focus on using your critical thinking skills to choose the correct response.

  • Pace yourself with Qbank practice.

While it’s essential to practice with NCLEX questions, limit yourself to no more than 130 questions/day to avoid overload. Ensure you review all practice questions thoroughly, not just the ones you answered incorrectly.

Stage 4: (Week 9-11) Self-Assessments & Adjusting Study Plan

Self-Assessments & Adjusting Study Plan
Self-Assessments & Adjusting Study Plan

Take a self-assessment around nine weeks into your 3-month study plan, this helps you see how much you’ve improved and what you still need to work on.

I recommend picking a self-assessment that’s like the exam. It should cover all the essential topics and question types. Typically, prep courses include this.

Dr. Cheryl Ross

After you finish the self-assessment, check your results carefully. See which areas you did well in and which ones you need to improve. You’ll find out where you need to focus more. 

Then, adjust your study plan to spend more time on those areas. I mean, spend extra time studying the topics you’re not good at. Use different study materials like books or online resources to understand them better.

Remember, self-assessments are meant to help you get better, not to make you feel bad. Celebrate your progress and keep working hard towards your goal.

Stage 5: (Week 12) Before The Exam

Remember To Relax
Remember To Relax

As you approach the week before your exam, it’s normal for anxiety to creep in. However, there are several strategies you can employ to manage stress and ensure you’re in the best possible shape for the big day:

  • While studying, take breaks to prevent burnout and maintain productivity. Use these breaks to stretch, go for a short walk, etc.
  • Engage in regular exercise to alleviate stress and boost relaxation. 
  • Eat nutritious meals and keep healthy snacks on hand to fuel your brain and body. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and limiting caffeine intake, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime.
  • Aim for 7-8 hrs of sleep each day. 

The day before your exam, take some time to relax and unwind. If possible, familiarize yourself with the test site to avoid additional stress on exam day. Determine how long it takes to travel there and plan your route accordingly.

Stage 6: The Exam Date

On your exam day, stay calm and confident. You’ve prepared diligently using key strategies: creating a study guide, regular exam materials review, and practicing with questions. 

Arrive at the test site with a clear mind and determination. Trust in your preparation and skills as you tackle the exam.

Download NCLEX Study Plan

Why Do You Need A Personalized Study Plan?

Why Do You Need A Personalized Study Plan
Why Do You Need A Personalized Study Plan

A personalized study plan tailors your approach to your unique strengths, weaknesses, and learning style. So, it’s essential for effective learning and exam preparation. 

A personalized plan helps focus your time and energy on the areas you need the most improvement. By identifying your weaknesses through self-assessment or diagnostic tests, you can target those specific areas for intensive study.

Besides, it helps you set achievable goals and track your progress. When you see progress in areas where you previously struggled, it boosts your motivation and confidence.

Wrap Up

With the right game plan and a bit of hustle, you’ve got what it takes to ace that exam. By sticking to your NCLEX study plan, practicing with these tricky practice tests, and staying positive, you’re setting yourself up for success. 

Keep believing in yourself, stay focused, and you’ll be more than ready to tackle the NCLEX when the time comes. You’ve got this!