There’s a lot of studying that most students put into getting prepared to take and pass the NCLEX.

But, do you have to do all that studying? Here are my thoughts on whether or not you can pass the NCLEX without doing any bit of studying.

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Can I Pass the NCLEX Without Studying?

It’s possible to pass the NCLEX without studying, but It’s unlikely. To pass without studying would require you to be either naturally smart or having done a good job studying and retaining information learned in nursing school. Most students will not pass the NCLEX if they don’t study for it.

Why You Won’t Pass the NCLEX Without Studying

I’ve heard of nursing students who have managed to pass the NCLEX RN exam or the NCLEX PN exam without studying, but those are few and far between.

Personally, I don’t see how the typical nursing student would pass the NCLEX without studying or test prep. That’s not anything negative on the typical student. It’s just more or less the way the exam is, and here’s why.

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1. It’s a Hard Exam

For starters, the NCLEX is a hard and comprehensive exam that covers a wide range of topics ranging from physiological adaptation to safety and infection control.

The exam covers everything you would have learned from the first day you walked into your nursing program. Anything and everything from foundations of nursing to med-surg nursing, critical care nursing, and so forth are all fair game on the NCLEX.

To say it’s a comprehensive exam is an understatement considering just the breadth of material and topics they can pull questions from.

2. Your Anxiety Will Get the Better of You

If you’re like a lot of students, you probably struggle with test anxiety. Test anxiety can be hard to overcome, even when the student studied hard and was well prepared, only to be derailed by test anxiety.

Can you imagine trying to take an exam like the NCLEX without studying? The level of anxiety would be super high.

Related: I’m Afraid to Take the NCLEX: Now What?

How to Pass the NCLEX Without Studying

Because I know some students have passed the NCLEX without studying, I started thinking about why some students manage to pass the NCLEX without any prep.

Pro-Tip
To be clear, you should study for the NCLEX. Even though you might hear of students who managed to pull it off, you should NOT bank on that being the case for you. Here’s my favorite NCLEX prep course you should check out.

1. They Actually Learned in Nursing School

You might be asking what I mean by “they actually learned in nursing school” because you, of course, went through nursing school and have passed (assuming you’re at the end of the program).

Let me tell you because it will make a lot of sense once I explain.

When people talk about learning, they use that interchangeably with passing exams or passing through nursing school. While both are almost similar, there’s a bit of a distinction because some students are more focused on passing exams than they are on learning the material.

Some students get by cramming for exams a couple of days before, never really learning the material, and then brain dumping after the exam.

You might be thinking, but wait, I’ve been told you can’t cram for exams in nursing school?…well, that’s not entirely correct because, to a certain extent, you can.

It’s just not the most efficient way to get through nursing school because a lot of the content builds on itself. It also becomes a problem at the end when you’re about to take boards.

The end result is you managed to get through school without really retaining much of the material.

2. They Went to a Really Good Nursing Program

To be clear, you can go to a good nursing program and still not have a chance at passing the NCLEX without prepping.

But it’s important to add that not all nursing school programs are the same, and some are so much better than others.

So it goes without saying that if you go to an excellent school that does an outstanding job of prepping their students for boards, that only improves your chances of passing.

3. They Are Naturally Smarter

The last reason, and the one I think would frustrate most students (because it’s nothing really you can control), is that some students are naturally just smarter.

I’m sure you’ve gone to school with peers who, for whatever reason, are just smarter. You know those kids. If there’s a new lesson, they’re the ones who can just sit in for the lectures, and then they’ll retain that information. They’ll go into the exam and ace it without every studying.

NCLEX Prep Academy

Check out the comprehensive NCLEX prep review that I recommend. Don’t bother with other NCLEX preps that over promise and under deliver. Did I mention they have a 99.86% NCLEX pass rate?

What You Should Do Instead

Not studying for the NCLEX and still passing is not an option for most students. Since that’s not a good option, you need to study and get a good NCLEX prep course to be successful.

Remember failing the NCLEX will cost you both time and money, and for some of you a good job opportunity. As an FYI, this is the one I recommend.

Have You Read These Yet?

Frequently Asked Questions

According to NCSBN, 80-85% of test-takers will pass the NCLEX. Because of that, most students will pass the NCLEX. Don’t let that fool you the NCLEX is a hard exam that covers everything learned in nursing school, and you will be unsuccessful if you don’t study.

To be successful, students need to study before taking the NCLEX. It’s a hard exam that covers everything you learned from the very beginning of nursing school to the very end.

You should devote 3-4 hours a day studying for the NCLEX. Depending on your mastery of the material, you might need 2 to 4 weeks to adequately prepare for the NCLEX.

If you’re devoting at least 3-4 hours a day studying, many nursing students will find one month an adequate length of time to prepare for the NCLEX.