I was one of those nursing students. Leading into my exam, all I could think about was how I’m going to fail the NCLEX and make years of hard work meaningless.
There were moments when the fear was almost crippling. I learned several things during that time.
One of which was that fear and anxiety is a normal human emotion. The other was that you can’t let fear cripple you and keep you from accomplishing your dreams. The last was that to overcome the feeling of fear, I needed to take action.
Below I’m going to share with you some of the things you should do (based on what I did) to help you overcome being afraid to take the NCLEX
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What to Do If You’re Afraid to Take the NCLEX?
If you’re afraid to take the NCLEX, you need to first understand why you’re scared. Afterward, you need to stay positive and practice stress-relieving techniques while you’re still studying and prepping for the NCLEX.
How to Deal with Being Afraid to Take the NCLEX
1. Try to Stay Positive
I know this is easier said than done, but as far as I’m concerned, your mentality walking into the exam is where the battle begins.
It doesn’t matter how well you study. It doesn’t matter how prepared you are. If you walk into the exam with a defeated mentality, you run the risk of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
One way to help get past the negativity is by talking with a spouse, a close friend, or another trusted individual. Something to keep in mind is not burning out people who are around you.
If it starts looking like that’s where it’s going, check out the services this platform offers. They’ll help connect you with a licensed professional you can talk to. The plus side about it is that it’s an objective third-person who you don’t know personally, so you don’t have to worry about what you say.
When I start spiraling into negative thoughts, I try to think about the worst-case scenario.
While I know failing the NCLEX is never a good feeling, that is the only worst-case scenario, and you’ll get an opportunity to retake the exam.
Besides, over 80% of nursing students that take the NCLEX pass. So if you really think about it, if you are prepared, the odds are in your favor.
2. Learn and Use Relaxation Strategies
One of the ways you can help yourself get to a better state of positivity is back practicing good relaxation strategies. This could be relaxation strategies like:
- Deep breathing
- Progressive muscle reaction (PMR)
- Guided imager
On top of that, you can also watch positive and uplifting videos. YouTube has a lot of them. Here’s an example of one.
I watch a lot of videos like this. Honestly, sometimes the message isn’t even 100% applicable to what I need at that moment, but something about the music and the uplifting speech always seems to get me going.
Search around YouTube and see if you can find a video that inspires you. The YouTube channel I linked above would be a good start.
The last bit of relaxation technique you could use is coloring adult coloring books or affirmation pages. Coloring pages are not just for kids, and many adults get joy and relaxation from them. Here’s a good one below.
3. Get Prepared for the Exam
One thing that I’ve noticed about myself and in other students is that the less prepared for an exam you are, the more afraid of the exam you’re going to be.
The NCLEX is without a doubt a hard exam. But it’s not this mysterious exam that nobody knows anything about. On the contrary, it’s an exam that’s been around for years and that countless others have taken.
Because of that, there’s a lot of great study materials and prep courses out there that do an outstanding job of preparing students for the NCLEX.
My Favorite NCLEX Prep Courses
This is my favorite NCLEX prep course. They boast a near 100% pass rate (99.86%) on the NCLEX the first time for students who go through their entire course. They even guarantee a 200% money-back guarantee if you don’t pass the NCLEX.
4. Eat Well, Sleep Well, Excercise Well
Depending on how you handle stress, your immediate response might be to stop eating right, stop exercising, and stop sleeping well. That’s the opposite of what you should be doing.
You should focus on eating well, making sure you exercise regularly and prioritizing your sleep. Doing those three things and doing them well can help keep your anxiety and stress down.
5. Arrive Early
If you’re already nervous and anxious for the exam, you need to be mindful of making sure you don’t put yourself in a situation where you’ll be in a hurry going to your exam.
This means you need to plan out the day of your exam ahead of time. Make sure you know where you’re going. Go there the day before if you have to. And leave early enough to where you can get to the test site at a leisurely pace.
6. Focus and Pace Yourself During the Exam
When you’re in the exam, try to focus and pace yourself. The NCLEX only lets you tackle one question at a time, and you can’t go back to a previous question.
Knowing that, your mindset should be focused on one question at a time. Once you submit a question, it’s over and done with. Don’t try to second guess yourself after the fact because it won’t do you any good.
7. Give Yourself Some Grace
Give yourself some grace because you’re only human. You’re bound to make mistakes. You probably won’t be able to get rid of the anxiety completely, and that’s okay. Keep doing your best and keep moving forward.
8. Reward Yourself
Lastly, reward yourself for little wins here and there. Make sure you already know how you’re going to reward yourself after taking the NCLEX. Make sure to give yourself breaks in between studying.
You Can Do This
Being afraid sucks! Test anxiety is such a horrible feeling, and it can almost cripple you. Just remember you can do this!
We have a lot of resources on this site so check out some of the resources available. Make sure to check out that NCLEX prep course I mentioned above. Let me know if you have any questions.