How do you prepare for the nursing state boards test? This is an excellent question.
Whether you are a new nurse graduate about to take the State Board’s test for the first time, or if you’ve been out of school for a while and finally want to take it–what should you do to prepare? Is there a time limit to take the boards after graduation? I’ll try to address some of these questions in this article.
I still remember the stress of taking the NCLEX years ago, and thankfully I passed my first time around. However, I didn’t take it lightly. I studied and studied and studied for that NCLEX test, and I am a firm believer that hard work in your studies and preparation can pay big dividends.
Here’s a question we recently received:
I have been out of Nursing school since 2006. I am interested in taking the state boards but am wondering if I need to do a refresher course or if there is a limited time I could take the State Boards? I understand this is probably uncommon.
I am currently enrolled in a Master of Divinity Program at United Seminary in New Brighton, MN, however, I am interested in becoming licensed as a Registered Nurse and received my ADN-RN at North Central Technical School -Wausau in 2006. What would my next course of action be?
Thank you for your time.
Preparing for State Boards Test
Thanks so much for your question Missy. I’ll do my best to give you some general advice on what to do from here. Ultimately, the best route is always to contact the appropriate regulatory agencies (State Board of Nursing) for the most accurate and up-to-date information on these complicated topics.
First, it looks like you now reside in a different state from where you got your RN degree. If I’m reading your question correctly, you now live in MN (Minnesota) but got your RN degree in Wausau, which is located in Wisconsin.
The first thing you are going to have to decide is where you want to apply to get licensed. If you want to take your boards in Minnesota, you’ll have to make sure that’s where you plan to work. If you want to work in Wisconsin, then that’s where you need to apply to take it. So that’s definitely the first thing you’ll want to decide, as the license will only be valid for the state in which you pass the exam.
Once you decide on the state you plan to become licensed in, you can then proceed to find out the procedures and requirements of taking the NCLEX/State Boards. In most cases, you’ll have to meet educational requirements (getting a degree from an accredited university-which I assume your university was accredited). There may be a few additional requirements by each state, such as fees, continuing education, and so forth. For example, MN requires a certain amount of continuing education to maintain an active license, but this may or may not apply to first time applicants.
Since each state operates a bit differently, and the laws are changing constantly, I try not to get too specific regarding the in-depth requirements. Again, it’s best to contact them directly to inquire about your specific situation, and they should be able to tell you more information directly.
For convenience, the state board information for each is located on our website: MN State Board of Nursing and Wisconsin State Board of Nursing. On those pages, you can find their contact information, and you will then need to email, call, or mail them a letter describing your situation and what you need to do to meet their current requirements.
Studying for NCLEX State Boards
Once you contact the State Board of Nursing in which you plan to take the test and find out all of the requirements, you’ll definitely want to begin studying for your test. There are a couple of options you have. Here is a quick video on how to prepare for NCLEX:
I didn’t personally sign up for one of these programs, and I passed fine. A couple of students at my school, however, did sign up and they seemed to do fine as well. Some have a pass guarantee, so if this is something you feel you may need you may want to weigh the costs and benefits to see if it would help you.
The other option you have is to buy a study guide specifically designed for the NCLEX. This is something I would definitely recommend as they are usually affordable.
I studied extensively with these types of book review/software packages when I was in nursing school.
You can read more about how to prepare for NCLEX on our website.
I hope that helps give you some direction. I wish you the very best of luck with your nursing career!