Once you have completed nursing school, you have only one last hurdle to acquire your nursing license, i.e., the NCLEX. You, of course, want to pass the NCLEX on the first try and hence want to plan everything perfectly. However, for this perfect plan, you should also consider the best time to take the test. This is a crucial thing to consider to succeed in your first attempt.
At the earliest, you can take NCLEX after 45 days from your graduation date. It is essential to know that this number varies from state to state, and you should check with your state's nursing regulatory body. But just because you can take NCLEX after 45 days doesn't mean you should!
Everyone works differently and needs a different amount of time to prepare. Your best time for taking the NCLEX should be according to your needs and not just because of a rule. You can ask yourself these questions to help you understand which will be the best time for you to take the NLCEX:
Not everyone is in a rush to start working immediately. You have worked hard in nursing school and may want to take a few months or even a year off to explore new things and have new experiences. If that's you, giving yourself more time before taking the NCELX may not be a bad idea. It may even give you extra time to study and practice to ensure you are ready for your first attempt!
But maybe you are not someone who want to take a break from nursing. You like it too much and cannot wait to join the workforce! Also, let's not forget the bill you need to start paying. If that's you, taking the exam immediately after the 45 days mark might be your best option.
The advantage of taking NCLEX immediately after graduation is that you have everything you learned in nursing school still fresh in your mind. Hence you can prepare better by giving yourself time to solve more practice questions and tests.
But as long as you keep studying regularly and practice using high-yield question banks and tests, you should be fine, even if you want to take some time before taking the test.
Suppose you have started working as a Graduate Nurse (GN) immediately after graduation. In that case, you may not have much time to study daily. Hence, you must schedule a time for taking NCLEX, which will allow you ample time for learning and prevent you from burning out. Nevertheless, finishing NCLEX before starting a job is advisable, as it is not a good idea to multitask. Additionally, you will have better job prospects once you have an RN or PN license.
But if you are not working and can dedicate the proper amount of time to study daily, then you should definitely take your exam soon after graduation once you feel you are ready.
We all have weaknesses! There might be a group of topics or subjects that you find challenging, or you may have trouble completing the practice test on time. Before sitting for the exam, ensure you have enough time to overcome your weakness.
Practice makes perfect! Without practicing questions, even if you have read every nursing textbook, you won't be able to pass the NCLEX. Questions on the NCLEX test your ability to use your clinical knowledge. And if you have not practiced applying your knowledge by solving good quality question banks, then you will find yourself having a poor test score.
Hence, before taking your exam, you should allow yourself ample time to take a lot of practice tests and reach your dream practice score.
You cannot just show up at the exam center and expect to be given the exam. For you to sit for the exam, you must complete a few steps. The steps include:
While taking NCLEX, you need to have an active ATT. You should be aware that the ATT expires within 90 days. Hence you must take the exam within 90 days once you receive it.
And if your ATT expires before you take the test, you will have to go through the entire process again.
So, to conclude, you are the only person that can decide the best time for taking NCLEX. Applying and taking the NCLEX is both time and money-intensive. Hence you must ensure that you select the right time for you and pass it on the first attempt. Ask yourself these questions, and you'll have a much easier time figuring it out.