10 Tips and Tricks for the NCLEX-PN® Next Gen exam

As you continue on your journey towards becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse, your next step is to sit for the NCLEX-PN®. While preparing for this difficult exam can be stressful, there are different things you can do to increase your chances for success. We’ve compiled some of the top NGN NCLEX-PN® tips and tricks that will help you get ready for test day.

About the NCLEX-PN®

The National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) is a standardized exam that must be passed in order to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) in the United States. The NCLEX-PN® exam is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and is designed to assess the knowledge, skills, and competencies necessary to provide safe and effective nursing care at the practical/vocational nurse level.

The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) functions under the directions of physicians (doctors and surgeons) and registered nurses in a variety of healthcare settings. Individuals attend accredited LPN training programs with such courses as pharmacology, nursing, biology and supervised practicums in clinical settings. After completion of this field of study, the LPN can sit for the NCLEX-PN® exam.

The NCSBN provides the NCLEX-PN® Exam for the LPN. This five-hour exam is a variable length computerized adaptive test and can range from 85-150 questions. Of these questions, 15 are pretest items that are not scored. The specific number of questions and time limit vary depending on the candidate’s performance and the number of test items needed to accurately assess their competency. A total of 77.91% of NCLEX-PN® test-takers passed in April-June 2023.

Top Tips and Tricks as You Prepare for the NCLEX-PN®

  1. Some of the top reasons for failing to pass the NCLEX-PN® include inadequate preparation, poor knowledge of question styles and procedures, and extreme nervousness. Take the time to address each of these problems while you are studying.
  2. Plan a study schedule six months in advance of the NCLEX-PN® exam using the outline found on the NCSBN NCLEX-PN® Test Plan to organize your study strategy.
  3. If you study better in a group, contact classmates from your LPN program to plan study sessions using the outline listed in #2 above. If a formal class motivates you better, check with your LPN program or your State Board of Nursing for review courses in your location.
  4. Create lists, pictures, diagrams or flash cards of main topics from the outline. Pictures are worth a thousand words when learning new material. Flashcards for NCLEX-PN® can be found online for a fee.
  5. Devote time to active learning by reviewing material listed on the NCSBN LPN outline. Focus on textbook answers as all the questions reference back to a source like a textbook, not hospital experience. Sites like “Review for the NCLEX-PN®” provide a good overview starting place. ATI Testing lists the most difficult questions to answer involve the areas of prioritization, lab values, delegation, infection control and airway-breathing-circulation (abc). Candidates grapple with understanding these areas.
  6. Practicing test-taking skills by taking exam questions in the multiple choice format over and over on a computer. If one wants to pass the exam, this step is critical in preparing for the NCLEX-PN® exam. Review the NCSBN NCLEX-PN® Test Plan, because it shows examples of all the types of multiple-choice questions. BoardVitals offers the LPN candidate practice questions to build the skill for taking multiple choice questions. Candidates state that “BoardVitals offers well-written practice questions with highly detailed explanations.”
  7. Use the NCSBN’s Review for the NCLEX-PN® Examination for material that contains practice questions and feedback from a nurse professional.
  8. Plan for the examination by knowing the location of the test-taking site. Take photo identification (e.g., driver’s license, state id, passport or military id) to check in.
  9. Schedule yourself for 8 hours of sleep before the exam, eat a protein breakfast (not sweets that wear off in two hours), ingest plenty of water (no food or water allowed in the exam) and arrive early to use the restroom right before checking in.
  10. During the exam, read the multiple choice question first prior to viewing the answer; then preview the answers and choose your response. Guess if you do not know the answer as no penalty exists. Carefully read the questions as it prevents wrong answers.

The BoardVitals NCLEX-PN question bank follows the content outline of the NCSBN. Subscribe for 1 month, 3 months, or 6 months for access to more than 1,650 practice questions and start preparing for your exam with Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) technology that simulates what you’ll see on the test. Sign up for a free trial today!

The writing staff at BoardVitals is passionate about medicine, healthcare, and education. We’ve trained over 1.5 million physicians and work with more than 300 top teaching institutions. Learn more about our board review and continuing education products at boardvitals.com.

Try BoardVitals free for 10 days.

Free Trial. No credit card required.