Student nurses who wish to earn their RN (Registered Nurse) license must pass a comprehensive nursing test called the NCLEX examination. This exam is administered by a Board of Nursing in the state where the nurse wishes to practice. Therefore, each state’s test is different. Many states also require continuing education after licensing to keep that license current, so be sure to check the state’s requirements before you make a job choice.

Prerequisites for Taking the NCLEX

Nursing students who are eligible to take the NCLEX examination include those who have earned a hospital diploma or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing. With that said, each school has its own set of prerequisites and requirements for admission, including SAT or ACT exams, a GPA range from 2.0 to 3.25 or highter, three years of math and science, four years of English and two years of a foreign language.

How to Pass the NCLEX

The high GPA prerequisite isn’t a fluke – the harder you study in nursing school, the better your chances of passing the NCLEX RN exam. While you’re still in school, take prep tests to understand your weak and strong points. This early pre-testing will provide you with a chance to strengthen your skills and knowledge. Also, try to seek as many opportunities in clinical as possible. Hands-on learning will help you remember knowledge that you might easily forget from book reading.

Although many books tout their ability to prepare you for the NCLEX exam, ask around to find the one that nurses in your state have found useful. Also, look for a prep class that provides a four-day course to help you learn what to expect with this exam. Finally, take the exam as soon as possible after you graduate. The longer you wait, the less you may remember.

Careers Available After Passing the NCLEX

Nurses who pass the NCLEX exam and earn their RN licensure can find many doors open to them where none were open previously. RNs earn more money, have more opportunities to work in interesting fields, and are offered more responsibilities than nurses who do not take this exam. The NCLEX exam is a ticket to a career, rather than a job.

Remember that the NCLEX exam cannot create a job for you. No matter your specialty, the NCLEX exam is an equalizer – the foundation to any RN specialty, no matter if it’s pediatrics to geriatrics, depends upon how well you do with this examination. While this seems like a lot of pressure, don’t worry. Many nurses fail the test the first time around because of nerves, stress, or worry. Just relax, trust your knowledge, and – if you do fail – you can pick yourself up and take the test again.