How To Prepare For The Next Generation NCLEX?

Nurses have always been accustomed to overcoming challenges throughout their careers, and nursing program students who will be taking the new next-generation NCLEX from 2023 onwards will certainly face a unique set of challenges in their preparation. This new iteration of the Next generation NCLEX NGN is designed to reflect the evolving landscape of healthcare and nursing practice, which means that students will need to adapt to a more dynamic and comprehensive examination.

One of the challenges students might encounter is the increased emphasis on critical thinking and clinical judgment. The new NCLEX aims to assess not just the memorization of facts but the ability to apply knowledge in complex, real-world scenarios. This shift requires students to develop strong analytical and decision-making skills, which can be both demanding and intellectually stimulating.

Furthermore, the integration of technology and the growing importance of digital healthcare tools mean that aspiring nurses must stay up-to-date with the latest advancements. Keeping pace with evolving technology is crucial, as it directly impacts patient care and documentation.

Despite these challenges, nursing remains one of the most rewarding career choices. Nurses have the privilege of making a meaningful difference in the lives of their patients, providing comfort, care, and hope during times of vulnerability. The profession offers diverse opportunities, from bedside nursing to advanced practice roles, and the potential for personal and professional growth is limitless. While preparing for the new NCLEX may be challenging, the rewards of a nursing career are immeasurable, making it a truly fulfilling and worthwhile choice for those who aspire to join this noble profession.

Don’t Let The Mind Play You

Indeed, whenever there are significant changes in an examination format, it’s natural for the first group of test-takers to experience anxiety and uncertainty. This psychological aspect of preparing for a new format exam is crucial to address. It’s important to remind students that adapting to change is a valuable skill in the nursing profession. It reflects the ability to learn, grow, and stay updated in an ever-evolving healthcare environment.

While the format may change, the fundamentals of success remain constant: diligent preparation and hard work. Students should understand that the core knowledge and skills they’ve acquired during their nursing education are still the foundation of their success. Stress the importance of staying focused, using available study resources, seeking guidance when needed, and practicing under exam-like conditions. By emphasizing these principles, students can build confidence in their abilities and overcome anxiety, ultimately achieving success in the new NCLEX format. Change can be intimidating, but with the right mindset and preparation, it can also be an opportunity for growth and development.

Guidelines To Prepare For Next Gen NCLEX

Preparing for the Next Generation NCLEX or NGN requires a strategic approach that encompasses understanding the new exam format, engaging in active learning, and fostering concept clarity. Here are six essential points to guide your preparation for this updated nursing licensure examination:

  • Understanding the New Exam Format

Begin by thoroughly familiarizing yourself with the changes in the NGN format. It differs from the traditional NCLEX in that it focuses more on critical thinking and clinical judgment. Take time to review the official guidelines and resources provided by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to understand the specific content areas and question types included in the NGN.

  • Stay Informed About Updates

The NGN, like healthcare itself, is continually evolving. Stay informed about any updates or modifications to the NGN format, as well as any recommended study materials. Follow NCSBN’s official channels and reputable nursing education resources to ensure you are up-to-date with the latest information.

  • Active Learning Strategies

Engage in active learning techniques to enhance your understanding and retention of nursing concepts. This includes practices such as creating flashcards, summarizing key points in your own words, and teaching others to reinforce your knowledge. Active learning not only helps you remember information better but also encourages critical thinking, which is crucial for success in the NGN. Spaced repetitions, mnemonics, micro readings, and active recall quizzes are some study methods that can be included during study hours and group participation.

  • Clinical Rotations and Practical Experience

Incorporate practical experience into your preparation. Clinical rotations and hands-on experiences provide invaluable opportunities to apply your knowledge in real healthcare settings. These experiences help you bridge the gap between theory and practice, develop clinical judgment, and improve patient care skills. Take advantage of every clinical opportunity to build your confidence and competence.

  • Concept Clarity and Critical Thinking

Focus on understanding core nursing concepts rather than rote memorization. The NGN emphasizes concept clarity and the ability to apply knowledge to diverse clinical scenarios. Practice critical thinking by analyzing patient cases, identifying priorities, and making sound clinical judgments. Seek guidance from nursing educators and mentors to strengthen your critical thinking skills.

  • Comprehensive Review Resources

Invest in comprehensive review materials designed for the NGN. Look for updated review books, online courses, and practice exams specifically tailored to the new format. These resources often include NGN-style questions and explanations, helping you become familiar with the exam’s structure and content.


Effective preparation for the NGN goes beyond content mastery; it also involves managing stress to maintain mental clarity during the exam. Stress can lead to confusion and mental fog, which can hinder your performance. To excel in the NGN, it’s essential to handle stress effectively by implementing stress management techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness, or visualization.

Staying organized with a well-structured study schedule and materials can reduce anxiety and keep you on track. Additionally, taking regular breaks to prevent burnout is crucial. Take a weekend off to meet family, go out with friends and unwind. These short pauses can refresh your mind and help you absorb information more effectively. Lastly, consider incorporating meditation or relaxation techniques into your daily routine to stay calm and maintain focus, not only for the NGN but also for your overall well-being. By prioritizing stress management, you can approach the NGN with confidence and clarity.