No matter where you are in your program of study, it's always a good time to start planning your personal NCLEX study plan!

What is the NCLEX-RN?

Graduates of approved pre-licensure RN nursing education programs must pass the NCLEX-RN to be licensed as a registered nurse. The licensure process ensures individuals have the necessary competency as well as specialized knowledge and skills to safely and effectively perform a specified scope of practice. 

NCLEX Review and Preparation

Each nursing course and ATI specialty exam is integral to helping you prepare for the NCLEX and for practice as a nursing professional. Take time to prepare for each ATI specialty exam and the comprehensive predictor exam--each one helps you to prepare for the NCLEX and for your professional practice! After each specialty exam, take the time to review your performance and do practice questions on areas in need of improvement.

In the first year of the program, you should begin preparing for the NCLEX.

How should I prepare for the NCLEX exam?

  • Complete as many NCLEX practice questions as you can (experts recommend completing about 1,000 practice questions)
  • Review an NCLEX prep book or online program, including rationale
  • During your final semester, make your NCLEX study plan. This should include:
    • Reviewing the NCLEX Detailed Test Plan, which provides a guide for candidates to prepare for the exam
    • Watching the Candidate Registration Process video on the NCSBN website
    • Reviewing content from previous nursing courses
    • Doing as many practice questions and practice exams as possible
    • Studying with a NCLEX review book, a mobile app, and online resources (see some suggestions below)
    • Reviewing your detailed ATI comprehensive predictor exam score report and working on your areas in need of improvement
    • Consider attending a live NCLEX review at the end of the semester or following graduation

Review Resources

These resources have been recommended by your peers and previous graduates.


  • Saunders Comprehensive Review
  • Saunders Q&A Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination
  • Kaplan’s NCLEX-RN Examination
  • NCLEX-RN Drug Guide: 300 Medications You Need to Know for the Exam
  • Prioritizations, Delegation, and Assignment
  • Lippincott’s Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN

Online Resources, Mobile Apps, and Live Review Courses

What to Expect on Exam Day

  • You'll take the NCLEX on a computer using computerized adaptive testing.
  • The maximum number of test questions is 265 and the minimum is 75.
  • You'll have up to 6 hours to complete the exam, including the short tutorial and 2 optional breaks (the first 2 hours into testing, the second after 3.5 hours of testing).
  • Finally, read these important tips from NCSBN.