The NCLEX is the exam for Registered Nurse Licensure that is taken after graduating from nursing school. The test has a minimum of 75 questions and a maximum of 265. The test adapts to how you answer questions. If you miss a cardiac question, the NCLEX will give you more cardiac questions in order for you to prove you know the material. If you get a hard question wrong, the exam will give you easier questions and work your way up from there. The goal is to score 50% or higher on all the content areas: safety, meds, renal, etc. If you score a 50% or higher after the first 75 questions, then the exam turns off. If your exam turns off at 75 questions you either did very well on the exam or you did very terribly. But don’t be discouraged. I believe this exam wants you to succeed. It gives you plenty of opportunities to prove you know the material by the exam giving you more questions as needed. Worst case, you have to do the full 265 questions, and there is always the chance of passing with doing all the questions.

If you did successfully on the HESI, you have a very good chance at passing the NCLEX first try. In my opinion, HESI is significantly harder than the NCLEX. HESI doesn’t give you more tries. You either know what they are asking you or you don’t. HESI is all content. It is not adaptive and everyone gets the same questions. NCLEX adapts to you and the NCLEX’s main focus is on whether you will keep your patient alive and safe.

I never thought I would be so thankful for HESI. Thank you HESI exams for everything you taught me! If you were as fortunate as me and had HESI exams, studying for NCLEX is a breeze. The key is to do questions consistently. I purchased the Kaplan test bank and did 75 questions a day for 2 weeks, then I increased to 125 questions the last week before my exam. I do not suggest studying for the NCLEX for over 4 weeks. You do not want to overdue it! As I did with HESI, I read every rationale to the questions and wrote down themes I was seeing. NCLEX did not go deep into material like HESI did. They want you to know the bare minimum to keep your patient safe. NCLEX loves to test on PPE and disease transmission so study accordingly.

With my 3 weeks of studying and doing consistent questions, I completed my exam in 75 questions. I felt the exam was fair and far easier than HESI. I felt confident in my performance.

If your program did not offer the HESI exams, I suggest purchasing the Kaplan video tutorial mode or attending an NCLEX crash course. This will help you learn the strategies and tricks to succeed on the NCLEX!


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