How Foreign Trained Nurses Can Pass the NCLEX Exam

Updated September 8th, 2017



The NCLEX exam is one that all nurses cannot avoid if they intend to be licensed and work in the USA.
When I was about to do my exam, I wished the Board of Nursing would just look at my experience and tell me it’s OK to practice as an RN.
Unfortunately, it does not work that way. I had to prepare and take the NCLEX.
Thinking about the NCLEX exam made me feel very anxious and nervous.
However, I visualized myself having passed and working as a Registered Nurse.

Failing was not an option
After all the time and sleepless nights, I had no choice but to see myself pass.
I made positive friends who were willing to give me study tips so that I could succeed.
I started studying by doing several test questions from the study guides.
When English is your second language, it comes with its own challenges.
The phrasing of the questions was different. I thought I understood the questions, but I didn’t.

I solved this problem by Improving my test taking skills
I gave myself a goal of doing 300 questions every week. This was 50 questions a day. Sometimes I would not meet the goal -but would be close.
One book I used and recommend is the ‘Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN’
This book includes the questions that consistently test your critical thinking skills necessary to pass the NCLEX exam.
All the answers include a detailed rationale to help you learn from your answer choice. The book has 5,200 NCLEX examination-style questions for you to practice.

Another advantage of doing several questions was that it increased my speed in answering them.
There is no luxury of time when taking the NCLEX exam. You have to read the question quickly and respond accordingly

I got a study Partner
My study partner was from a Spanish-speaking background and struggled with English. She enrolled in a community college that helped improve her English grammar and vocabulary.

I took tutorials
Taking tutorials is a good way to prepare for the NCLEX.
Tutorials boosted my confidence in knowing that all the material I had learned in my country was not much different from what nurses learn in the USA.
My tutor identified my weaknesses and made me focus on them so that I improved.

I read the questions twice
During the exam, one of the things that I cannot over emphasize to foreign trained nurses is to read the question twice and the options twice.
Do not be so slow that you run out of time and miss out on some questions.
However, do not be intimidated by the speed at which some students finish or do the 75 questions.


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