1) Determine if you need a class
Self-study vs. Review course.
There are two main ways to study.
b. Review course.
When choosing which method is best for you, you should ask yourself the following questions
- Do I have an effective study plan that covers the entire material?
- Do I have scheduled time dedicated to studying?
- Is live feedback & classroom interaction important for me?
- Am I disciplined enough to adhere the study plan?
If you feel confident planning your own complete study-plan and think you are disciplined enough to follow the plan and stick to the schedule, then studying on your own may be sufficient to pass the NCLEX.
In contrast- some students feel they need a proven study-plan, a schedule, and a structure to maintain effective studying and accountability. For them, a guided & interactive study environment (such in an NCLEX prep class) is recommended to pass the NCLEX.
A live NCLEX review course also offers the opportunity to interact with your classmates, ask questions, clarify topics with your instructor, and get feedback on your progress.
If you think you fall into the latter category, then attending an NCLEX review course is the better option for you.
Who should consider self-studying?
If you think:
a. You can create a complete study guide
b. You are disciplined to follow the study guide and stick to the schedule.
c. You are comfortable studying alone and avoiding temptations/distractions.
Who should consider a review class?
If you think you:
a. Need structured studying environment to avoid distractions.
b. Need live feedback on your progress.
c. Need an instructor to clarify questions.
2. Determine what type of review class you need.
NCLEX review classes could be categorized into two of the following types: Question or Content and Online or Offline review.
Practice Questions vs. Content Review
There are two types of review course available:
a. Practicing questions
b. Reviewing content
Ideally, you want to review both material and questions. Unfortunately, not all classes offer both.
Some review classes will have large Qbank with many practice questions, but no content to review. Some classes will provide mainly content video, but little, or no practice questions. And some will offer both.
It is important to know what you need and what the course offers, to avoid wasting time and money by registering for a class that can’t help you.
It is exactly what it says- practice question.
Practicing question is a repetitive process. You’ll develop confidence and “intuition” when answering questions, which will help prevent blackouts and increase your testing speed.
Many nurses who passed the NCLEX, will recommend doing as many practice questions as possible, including reading the rationales!
Usually, 2000 questions is the magic number you want to aim for. It is the number of questions nurses report being sufficient to pass the NCLEX. But keep in mind that some may need to practice more than others.
Reviewing content means you should concentrate more on studying and covering the material- nursing theory, anatomy & physiology, procedures & diagnostics, etc.
Who should review questions:
A student who feel comfortable with their nursing knowledge but experience one of the following:
a. Lack the skills to answer NCLEX style questions.
b. Get blackouts during tests.
c. Slow at answering NCLEX-style questions.
d. Language barriers ( i.e. English as a second language).
If you feel you know the material, but still struggle during exams, you might want to consider mainly practicing questions.
Who should review content:
a. Students who struggled with nursing theory content.
b. Students who graduated 6 months ago or more.
c. Students or nurses who need a refresher course.
Again, it is very recommended to include both content and questions in your study plan.
Online vs. Offline
NCLEX review classes are accessible in one of the following:
b. Offline- as a Live class
Pros of an Online review
- Flexible study schedule- you choose your own time to study.
- Longer access time- online courses usually available for few a weeks or months.
- Quiet study environment.
Cons of an Online review.
- No instructors to ask or clarify questions.
- Distraction- Easy to get distracted with cat videos on YouTube and get off your study plan tracks
Pros of a Live-class
- Fast & condensed- Most Live-classes are few days to a week long.
- Structured environment- Set location, schedule and study guide allows with little room for distraction
- Progress feedback and reassurance
- Immediate clarification & interaction- an instructor can answer & clarify questions during class, and provide live feedback and improvement.
Cons of a Live-class
- Limited access- Live classes are location dependent, thus will be available in selected areas.
- Intensive- because it is condensed & fast pace ( few days long ), it is naturally going to be intensive to some people, but it is still doable!
Studying for the NCLEX is a tough task by itself, but you can increase your chances of passing, by using your time and resources wisely. One of the popular ways to study is to attend an NCLEX review class. But there are many options and providers available, and it may NOT benefit just everyone. By looking at what do you need, and what is offered, you can fine-tune your research and find resources that can actually help you, and ultimately passing the NCLEX on your first try!