Why You Can’t “Study” for NCLEX

NCLEX is a professional licensing exam, not an academic exam.

The biggest mistake I see repeat testers making is continually trying to “study” for NCLEX.

In college, most nursing content needs to be memorized. You listened to lectures, read textbooks, took notes, crammed, and spit it all back on a test. And it got you through nursing school. 

NCLEX requires you to make the transition from student to professional.

What’s the difference? Critical thinking.

The NCLEX tests your ability to make an educated guess based on the limited information given in a question. Can you do that?

And if you’re still trying to “study” for NCLEX, what are you studying? The entire content of nursing?

That’s crazy when you think about it.

You will never know all the content in the field of nursing, EVER. Why would anyone think you can learn all the content that can possibly come up on your exam by test day? 

Do you know how to make an educated guess when you don’t know the content? Isn’t learning how to problem solve more of a priority than studying?

Study Guides Are Useless


The #1 search term for “NCLEX” according to Google Analytics, is “NCLEX Study Guide.”

Everyone is searching for a guide that doesn’t exist.

Study guides are cram sheets and test-taking tips. They might’ve helped in a pinch in nursing school but are worthless as prep tools for NCLEX.

Here’s a tip: Stop wasting time “studying” where learning is delivered through lectures, reading, cramming, and testing. Studying works for an upcoming academic test but how much of that information do you retain after the test?

You can study for the rest of your life and repeat the exam over and over if you don’t have the required problem-solving skills for a professional licensing exam.


What is the NCLEX testing? What is the Content?

There is one guide that clearly explains NCLEX content- what the NCLEX is testing you on- and that is the NCSBN Test Plan for PN and PN. Visit the NCSBN website here to review the student guides.  

NCLEX tests application.

NCLEX tests if you can make a decision, if you can manage your emotions so you can think and use sound judgement.

NCLEX tests “entry-level mental competency” because most entry-level nursing tasks require critical judgment. 


What skills does the National Board say are required to pass NCLEX?

Problem-solving skills. It’s that simple.

(From NCSBN) “Since the practice of nursing requires application of knowledge, skills and abilities, the majority of items are written at the application or higher levels of cognitive ability, which requires more complex thought processing. These questions require a candidate to utilize problem-solving skills in order to select the correct answer.” See this and more at NCSBN Q&A.

Learn problem-solving skills so you can confidently apply your knowledge and make an educated guess when confronted with unknown content. It’s what the National Board tells you is required to pass a professional licensing exam. Stop studying like it’s a nursing school exam. The NCLEX is a different beast altogether.

A tester’s goal is to be able to comfortably make an educated guess in any given question scenario. 


What kind of prep have you been doing?

If you’re still listening to content lectures as much of nursing school curricula was delivered, you most likely will retain 5% of it.

Do you prep at home with a stack of NCLEX Test Prep books from all the major publishers? All that time and money wasted for about a 10% Retention Rate.

Maybe you’re watching a recorded lecture series from a content-based prep company or listening to audio lectures on-the-go?  Good for about a 20% Retention Rate if you repeat them over and over and over and over.

How is your learning currently delivered?

What forms of prep can you do to ensure top Content Retention Rates where the time you spend on prep allows you to retain at least 50-90% of what you learn? 

In this program, I DEMONSTRATE critical-thinking and problem-solving skills needed to handle NCLEX questions. Then you will practice your skills and see improvement each week.

You will naturally learn new content daily, refresh your memory, and make connections between new learning and past learning so you’re expanding knowledge. At the same time, you’ll learn how to handle NCLEX questions using strong problem-taking skills.



When you become a nurse you will TEACH OTHERS. You will continue to learn throughout your nursing life and share your wisdom with your clients. Learn how to learn now and these skills will take you through your continuing higher education as you build your nursing career. You need solid critical-thinking and judgement skills for NCLEX and your for your nursing career. 

That study guide or cheat sheet you’re looking for?

It’s all inside of you. Unleash it. Learn problem-solving skills. 

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