9 Things International Nurses Should Remember While Preparing For The NCLEX

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January 13, 2023
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NCLEX Preparation for Foreign Nurses: 9 Things To Remember

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is important for nursing school students and international nurses moving to the U.S. For the best chance to successfully complete the NCLEX-RN exam and become a registered nurse, there are a few things you should remember. For more information on preparing for the NCLEX click here.

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Give Yourself Enough Time

After completing the application process, take the time you need to prepare for the exam. On average, it takes nurses about two to three months to complete their studies for the NCLEX-RN following completion of their nursing program, but there’s no real limit to the amount of required studying time. 

Know The Format

The National Council Licensure Examination has a few features that foreign-educated nurses should be aware of. The format of the exam is computerized adaptive testing, which means that your answer to each question determines the difficulty level of the next question. 


Test takers must answer a minimum of 75 questions on the NCLEX and the scoring system is pass/fail with no numerical score. Candidates pass the test when enough questions have been answered correctly.

Be Clear About Studying Style

Know which studying style works for you. For example, visual learners may benefit from flash cards and video lessons more than audio lessons and lectures. You might want to join a study group to discuss NCLEX exam subject matter with other internationally educated nurses and nursing students. Try to figure out what your studying style is and use it as you prepare.

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Stress Management

A big exam is always stressful. It’s perfectly normal to be nervous about a test, but don’t let it prevent your success. Take the time to relax, exercise, and eat well. As important as proper studying is, be sure to keep a balance between your studies and your personal life. 

Chart Out A Detailed Study Plan

A study plan is a great way to increase your chances of passing the NCLEX. Try to schedule regular study and practice sessions. Be specific about days and times and what you plan to study in each session. Don’t just try to do everything at the last minute for your NCLEX prep. 

Practice Questions

Practice questions are a great way to get a feel for what the NCLEX will be like. Be sure to look up the answers to practice questions after you complete them and note which study concepts you need to improve on.  

Test-Taking Skills

It’s okay if you don’t know every answer. The more you practice for the NCLEX, the more you’ll be able to recognize patterns in the answers. Try to spend about 60 seconds with each question and avoid second-guessing yourself.

Identify Your Strengths And Weaknesses

Try to identify which subjects you know best and which you struggle with. Maybe you excel at patient care but need to improve in psychosocial integrity or other nursing requirements. Be honest with yourself and spend some extra time to brush up on your weakest subjects for your NCLEX-RN preparation.

Get Plenty of Rest the Night Before Your Exam

There’s no substitute for a good night’s rest. You might feel too excited to fall asleep but it’s important to enter the exam as fresh and sharp as possible. Get as much sleep as you can before NCLEX test day and be sure to take extra time to:


  • Make travel arrangements
  • Arrive early to the testing center
  • Schedule the exam at a time that works best for you

FAQs

Can a foreign nurse take the NCLEX?

Yes! The NCLEX exam is open to international nurses and is a necessary step to qualify foreign nurses to work as registered nurses in the U.S.

Which state is best for NCLEX?

Some state boards with the most internationally-friendly NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN exams for foreign-educated nurses include Connecticut, Montana, New York, and South Dakota. 

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