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Carrington College Blog

De-stress before taking the NCLEX

October 15, 2013

Playing with pets can be an excellent means of de-stressing before taking the NCLEX.As you reach the end of your registered nursing program and the National Council Licensure Examination looms, you may be starting to stress out a little bit. While it’s important that you pass the NCLEX if you want to have a nursing career, there’s no need to let the exam take over your life. If you’re starting to panic about taking the NCLEX, there are simple things you can do to relax and refocus your mind. Use these tips to de-stress before taking the exam:

Study up

Spending plenty of time studying for the NCLEX will not only boost your chances of acing it, but will also help you relax. When you feel prepared, you will be less likely to stress out. However, studying doesn’t mean cramming in the few days before the exam. While your entire nursing program is designed to give you the knowledge necessary to pass the NCLEX, begin the hard-core studying process a few months prior to the exam. That way, you can study at a more leisurely pace and avoid becoming overwhelmed.1

Play with puppies

If you’re a dog person, there’s nothing more relaxing than playing with some puppies. Pet therapy has been shown to have a positive effect on anxious nursing students, so if you don’t have a dog of your own, head to the local animal shelter and ask if you can spend some time with the dogs. Their absolute joy at seeing you will instantly melt away any anxieties you have about the upcoming NCLEX.2


While chores may not exactly be your favorite thing to do, tidying up around your house or apartment can actually do a great deal to help you de-stress. Cleaning allows you to feel like you’re being productive while simultaneously taking your mind off of the exam for a while. Whether you make your bed, organize your books, clean the dishes or sweep the floor, a little cleaning break will help you relax during marathon study sessions.3


When the studying has just become too much to handle, going for a run or walk can be a great way to clear your head. Regular exercise is an excellent means of coping with stress. Just 10 to 20 minutes of physical activity a day can help you refocus and get your brain in a studying frame of mind.4

1 Youth Village, ‘Ways to De-stress Before an Exam,’ 2013 –
2 Scrubs Magazine, ‘How can I de-stress before nursing school exams?’ Aug. 5, 2013 –
3 The Howl, ‘Exam De-Stressing Tips,’ Dec. 9, 2011 –
4 Mind, “How to cope with exam stress,’ 2013 –