Category Archives: Useful pages for nurses

NCLEX preparation – 9 great tips!



We all delay studying even though we have delayed too long. Don’t feel guilty – it happens to all of us.  The intention to take the NCLEX-RN, the course and test scheduling can take a few weeks or several months depending on your frame of mind, your study habits, the State you want to register in and approval to sit the exam.  You have enough time from when you apply to the Board to when you decide to take the test to schedule your study time.  Our recommendation is that you do a ‘joint’ study program – first study from the printed material followed by an online course.   SNI recommends the following link to order this program.  This type of preparation will stop the ‘panicking’ when the test day approaches and you are hoping, that you will pass.

Remember the Boy Scout Motto – BE PREPARED and you will pass.

Hopefully the following helpful hints will assist you with your studies.

  1. When should I begin studying?

Only you know your study habits and what works for you.  Some nurses only need a few weeks and others a few months.  Plan a study program around what you can do.

Worldwide college students taking the NCLEX often start learning 5-6 months previous to their examination.  Again, plan a program that works for you. However, depending where you graduated from and your nursing background, plus your mastery of English will determine the amount of time you think, as an individual, you will need.

  1. What’s the best methodology for studying?

This is up to you – what works for you may not work for your friend or classmate. Everybody prepares differently.  There are some key issues to remember when starting to study for NCLEX:

  • Don’t reread all of your nursing college notes. You don’t need that.
  • The NCLEX is common information.
  • Order a combination of good study books and an online course.
  • The books will really help and the online course puts it all into perspective for you.
  • They all have questions relating to what you are studying.
  • Deal with key topics that you are having a problem with.
  • If you know medical-surgical nursing and work on a medical or surgical ward, you will probably be ok in that area and should devote more time to the discipline you are not familiar with. For example: OB/L&D, Pediatrics etc..
  • Different format questions are shown at the end of each segment of your study guides. Watch out for “choose all that apply” questions. They are a little more difficult.
  1. Do I need to master every part of my studies to pass?

The NCLEX is a computer based exam and covers all disciplines in nursing.  Answer the questions in your study books and the online course (that’s why SNI recommends you use both and we suggest the ICAN Publishing Company resources).

The exam is tougher than most anticipate so don’t assume that passing is automatic (or ‘a given’ as we say n America).

The questions are structured in such a way that a minimum number of questions asked can be fifty (75) or maximum at around two hundred and fifty (265). After you complete the exam you will walk out of the testing site with ‘no clue’ as to whether you passed or failed.  Don’t worry, this is normal. Nurses from all over the world have the same feeling.

  1. What’s the test structure like? How much time do I have for the test and are there breaks?

The NCLEX is a Computerized Adaptive Test – the same as in the UK

The questions are often random. See some helpful hints at the end.

  1. When and how do I register for boards? Can I reschedule?

Click on this link to view the candidate bulletin, it will give you all the knowledge you want:

REMEMBER – each Board has different requirements for registration, especially for the international nurse.  Once approved by the State Board you will receive the ATT (Authorization to Test).  At that time register with Pearson Vue to schedule your exam.  And yes, you can always reschedule if you must miss the original date and if you do fail the exam you can retake.  If you test better mornings, then schedule your exam for the morning session – same thing with the afternoon session.

  1. What are the test requirement and what am I allowed/not allowed to convey for the NCLEX?

The testing sites are strict and do not allow any private objects resembling cell telephones, luggage, purses, coats, hats, gum, drink, watches, and many others. See the candidate bulletin hyperlink above for extra info.

7. How early should I arrive on the day of the exam?

Get there 30-40 minutes early.  Don’t forget to take a ‘bathroom break’ before you go in! There will be others taking the exam at the same time.  Some testing sites only have a four-testing facility, depending on the country.

  1. How can I help myself prepare?

We suggest you prepare for your examination the day before by following these steps:

  • Get a good night’s sleep!
  • Eat a nutritious meal on the day of the exam.
  • Drink limited coffee or tea – a small amount of caffeine helps you stay awake and improves your concentration but stay away from large amounts
  • Keep away from too much sugar – Refined sugars are related to a spike in vitality, followed by a decline in cognitive capability.  If you are taking the test in the afternoon – try a Diet Coke or Pepsi to give you that ‘lift’. 
  • Once you have studied and feel you are ready – give yourself a break the evening or morning before you sit the exam.
  • Clear your mind on the day of the test.  If you feel you need some extra study – concentrate on the questions in your study material that you feel are your weakest areas.


SNI’s ‘tried and true’ advice.

  1. Most questions are based on the concept “Is this nurse safe to work in a hospital on a ward and take care of patients”?
  2. Look at the questions and ask yourself – What is safest for the patient and do you know what this is as it relates to each question.
  3. Really Study the question before you try and answer. For example: Is it a physiological question or psychosocial question.  Rule out the one it is not – then go on to the other answers in the same question.  Remember always Patient Safety.
  4. After you have completed your study and online course you will have a good idea of what the American NCLEX is looking for.
  5. This is the key – Focus on that thought as you read the questions.
  6. When you understand this concept, you will pass the exam.

How will I get my results and what happen if I fail?

You can get your “unofficial” result after 48 – 72 hours. Check on the Pearson Vue website at

SNI hopes the above information helps you with your studies and gives you confidence to take the exam.  If you decide you want to take the CGFNS exam first, it is like the NCLEX.  Even though you pass CGFNS you still  must pass NCLEX.

Working in Australia or New Zealand


Agency RN placements let you join the staff with all the benefits that other hospital employees enjoy.  These are not travel nurse positions, but are hospital placements from 1 year to residency and citizenship.

Salary: Nurses may earn a package of $62-78,000Aud per year which is adequate to support a family.    This package may include shift differentials, salary packaging and relocation assistance. “Salary packaging”, offered by some facilities, may reduce taxation on living expenses. That is, your regular bills can be paid out before taxed salary is paid to you. Paid vacation time is up to 5 weeks per year with additional public holidays.

Relocation: Assistance with airfare and initial accommodation varies with each hospital contract. Shared accommodation is about $105-18/week.

Process for Licensure: We facilitate your application and guide you through the licensure and immigration requirements and study and work visas. You will be required to have a visa medical, and pay visa fees of $AUD450 for each visa.


English tests:  If you trained in a language other than English, or the official language of that country is not English, or if your nursing education program does not closely match the Australian or New Zealand nursing education program, then you may be directed by the NZ or Australian nursing authority to complete an 8-12 week Competency or Bridging course, during which, you are not permitted to work. The nurse is responsible for accommodation and airfares while completing the assessment course.  We can assist with accommodation in some locations.


New Zealand: The 8-10 week nursing bridging course in New Zealand is called Competency Assessment Program and costs NZD$6000 ($US4200) not including travel or living costs.  You will need to have completed a 3 year nursing course.  OET “B” pass, or: IELTS (Academic) 7.0 on every band within 12 months, in all attempts, is required.  Once completed, this course enables you to gain an Australian Nursing licence.


Australia: The cheapest Australian Bridging course is $Au11000 in Sydney. Nurses who have not completed a 3 year initial nursing course will have to register for a bridging course in Australia.   If you have a 2-year nursing program, (e.g. from a US community college), you may be directed to complete a year of study in a University, and this course allows you to work for up to 20 hours a week. Australia requires a pass rate of 7.0 in each Band of IELTS unless your Nursing studies were taught and assessed in English and you completed your secondary education in English.


English Language Study: If you have not reached the English levels, required above, we have 2 programs available.

IELTS on-line study course (contact

And: NZ English College where you can study English in NZ for 26 weeks and work up to 20 hours a week while completing the requirements for IELTS/OET and NZ registration. The cost is NZ$280 per week and the total amount must be paid up-front.  You may earn up to $200 per week as a nurse aid in aged care or any other occupation to assist with living expenses.  Email  for more information on this program.


Selection for our placement services:  We decide to work with you on the basis of your IELTS results, your resume, (indicating at least 3 years of acute nursing experience), and a phone interview.


Fees and costs: Our fees depend on which program you intend to pursue and vary from a refundable administration fee of $USD350 to non-refundable fee of $5-1500, depending on your need for reviewing documentation, assisting with education facility applications, liaising with the nursing board, and  arranging accommodation for courses.  This way we ensure that we spend our time giving individual attention to those nurses who are in our program.  This whole process may take up to 18 months before you finally get to start work. We support you through the various processes of the applications for RN licensure, (and, if required, pre-registration program with study visa), followed by job placement with working visa and travel arrangements).

We refund the administration fee once you have completed your 3 month probation period in your job.


Placement as an RN: When you are close to completing the RN nursing bridging course for Australia or NZ, we will submit your file for consideration by an Australian or NZ hospital to sponsor you for a Long-Term working visa.  The Long-Term visa covers your family members, is renewable for a further three years and after 6 months you may also apply for residency.  The other option is to apply for an independent visa.

Useful websites:

Please contact me again when you can provide the required length of acute nursing experience, passing IELTS score and can confirm your ability to pay for the pre-registration course.

Please note: we cannot submit you for any positions at hospitals where you have already applied directly.