Study Plans

During the six months of studying for NCLEX, I used several different plans. Here they are listed in order from most helpful to least. 

Suzanne’s Plan With Saunder’s Comprehensive Review NCLEX

I felt that Suzanne’s plan helped the most because of the consistent testing scores that are needed in order to move on. Saunder’s also helps with so much content and that helps with the random content questions NCLEX test throws at you. 

In Suzanne’s plan, you need the following:

1) Saunders NCLEX Book with companion CD

2) Saunders Strategies for Success ( if you have difficulty with pharmacology, plus it has great tips on overall strategies)

3) Prioritization, Delegation and Assignment book by Mosby’s (La Charity)

4) 1-3 months depending on your time availablity. You do not need a review course if you work diligently and honestly.

Original Suzannes Plan:

You will need only one book , and anything else that you have needs to be put away.

Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN exam.

Now for the NCLEX review:

1. You are to complete the quiz at the end of each and every chapter.

2. Do not read the chapter first.

3. If you get 75% or more on the quiz, then go onto the next chapter, if you get less, then read the chapter and your score should now be over 90%.

To Calculate if you have 75% =

NUMBER OF RIGHT divided by TOTAL NUMBER OF QUESTION then multiply that by 100..

For example: lets say u have 25 questions total and you got 19 right then 19/25 X 100 = 76%

Simple as that for the review. If you know the material, you can complete it in just a couple of days, or you may need to read the chapters, and it could take you a month to complete.

If you are retaking the exam, please give yourself at least two months to prepare, if not longer. The worst thing that you can do is give yourself a deadline if you do not feel comfortable with the material in the first place.

And the other worst thing that anyone can do to prepare is to cram, and I am unable to help any of you that wish to go that route. It just does not work for the NCLEX exams.


My Updated Suzanne’s NCLEX Study Plan:

1)  Buy Saunders  Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination (w/ CD).  [Last edition is yellow cover published October 26, 2010, next edition scheduled for release September 2013].  Use only one for consistency.

2)  Practice doing Questions for each system and read rationales for all questions you practice.  Dont skip rationales; doesn’t matter if using book or CD.  If using CD, use the STUDY MODE.   250 Question max/day while reviewing.

3)  Review each system at a time.

4)  If you make too many mistakes in a particular system while doing the NCLEX questions from CD, immediately review the area you are weak in from the review book. Do not jump to next system before reviewing from the book.

5)  After finishing all the system following the above steps……..purchase this book:  Prioritization, Delegation and Assignment book (LaCharity) and start doing questions from the very first to the last chapter. It does not have CD.  Then, go back to the Saunders CD and practice at least 10 days X 100 questions in comprehensive content EXAM MODE that randomly selects questions from each system. Do only 100 question every single day for 10 days in one sitting…….making it a mock RN test.

6)  Out of 10 days, if you get 75% at least 9 times out of 10, then you are ready to take the NCLEX-RN exam. If you DON’T get these minimum scores, you are NOT ready.  Yes, consider 74% as a fail.

7)  In case if you don’t get 75% in 9/10 times, invest 10 more days and REPEAT process.  DON’T PANIC…….do again 100 questions X 10 days in STUDY MODE with comprehensive content reading all rationales while practicing.

8)  Test yourself again in EXAM MODE at least 3 times with 100 questions X 3 days. It is important to do all 100 Questions in one sitting.

9)  You should get 75% minimum score 3 out of 3 times. If you still don’t get 75% minimum score for 3 out of 3 times……..repeat step 8, 9, and 10 again.

10)  A week before test, focus your energy especially on pharma-labs-diagnostic test.  Know drug classifications.  Saunders’ Strategies for Test Success has very good drug classification. Buy it, if you have trouble with pharm.

11)  Day before test: no studying anymore, just relax (whatever relaxes you). Get 8 hours of sleep the two nights before the NCLEX exam.

Suzanne’s Plan is that simple!


I loved Kaplan for the pure question strategy advice.You can watch lectures online through their website or sign up for an in person class review. (I like in person). They provide you with a question bank and 7 set tests to go through. All of their questions are above the water line (weighted questions) so all you need to have to pass is a 51%. Their method of the decision tree goes through a specific step process of questions that you need to ask yourself before choosing an answer. Really helpful and great way to think for any type of test. Testing

ATI Testing

ATI is great for content. You can use their 4, 5 or 6 week plan to study from their content books such as Fundamentals, Adult Health, Pediatrics, etc. Unfortunately there is no question bank and you have to go through an online instructor in order to access tests. It is at their discretion if they give you the testing codes based off if they feel you did enough content review with their assignments or not, which can be frustrating at times. It is around $400, so if you have to decide on one or the other I would recommend Kaplan.


I have heard that this is a great program, however I have personally never gone through it. But if you need more options, I thought I would at least add this one on the list. It is a great content book for clinical areas and has some practice questions online.