Are you a flashcard studier? Are you looking for the best NCLEX flashcards to help you prepare for the NCLEX exam? How difficult is the NCLEX exam to pass?  Do you always keep a highlighted, tagged, and cross-referenced set in your bag to do a quick review while you’re waiting in line for coffee? Well, you’re in the right place. One of the favorite studying methods for a lot of nursing students is a good set of flashcards – and why?

In nursing school, you’ve got so many facts, figures, dosages, body parts, medicines, and procedures to learn that any little edge to help you memorize and absorb the onslaught of information is absolutely necessary. Many students, professors, and educators swear by flashcards as to how effective they are to help you remember, retain, and apply the knowledge and concepts you’ve learned. They say it’s the constant repetition and refreshing of the information that helps to burn it into your memory.

We’re going to talk a little about the how’s and why’s of flashcards and then give you the top-rated NCLEX flashcards and links to buy them. But not everyone sings the praises of flashcards – as a counterpoint, we’re going to give you an opposing view that says you should never use flashcards.

So we’re going to leave it up to you, but I think that you’ll agree that flashcards are a great tool to have in your NCLEX exam studying toolbox.

We’re going to go ahead and give you the best NCLEX exam review flashcards and where you can buy them – but stick around and we’ll give you a little more info on flashcards, why they work, and how to make your own.

 

The 5 Best NCLEX Review Flashcards

 

Saunders Q & A Review Cards for the NCLEX-RN (Best For RNs)

Saunders’ flashcards are just as thorough as the NCLEX exam guide, giving you 1,200 Q&A-style questions that you can take with you anywhere. Have an extra second between classes or while vegging on Netflix? Whip your flashcards out and have a quick review.

Not only will they help you memorize the info you’ll need to know on the NCLEX exam – but they also help to teach you how to take the test.

  • 1,200 questions in all formats
  • 736 cards/pages
  • Q&A format
  • Organized by clinical area
  • Good for visual or tactile learners
  • Excellent supplement to the Saunders NCLEX Exam Guide
  • 5x2x3 inches

Saunders Q&A Review Cards for the NCLEX-PN (Best For PNs)

We didn’t forget you PNs getting ready to take the NCLEX either, so here’s a bit more about the flashcards, because they’re always a great help. 

Remember to study 10 at a time, then add 10. The PN flashcard set also includes 1,200 practice questions covering all of the same information and test-taking strategies as the main guide.

  • 1,200 questions in all formats
  • 736 cards/pages
  • Q&A format
  • Organized by clinical area
  • Good for visual or tactile learners
  • Excellent supplement to the Saunders NCLEX Exam Guide
  • 5x2x3 inches

Mosby’s Review Cards for the NCLEX-RN (Most Alternate-Item Format Questions)

Mosby’s NCLEX review flashcards give you the most review cards available with more than 1,200 questions and a new pharmacology section. Includes all the question types, test-taking tips, and different levels. Includes different levels of questioning from beginner to advanced with lots of alternate item format questions.

  • 1,200 questions
  • Alternate-item format
  • Pharmacology section
  • Lots of practice questions
  • Test-taking strategies
  • Organized by body system within each clinical area
  • Cognitive level classification
  • Integrated concepts section
  • Rationales for incorrect answers

Barron’s NCLEX Flashcards (Best Price)

Barron’s entry into the NCLEX exam review flashcards gives you 400 flashcards that cover everything from medications to general and specific knowledge questions. 300 cards identify medications and their uses; 100 cards present you with NCLEX-style questions in a Q&A format.

  • 400 total cards
  • Medication questions, 300 cards
  • NCLEX exam Q&A questions, 100 cards
  • Covers all major question sections

NCLEX-RN Flashcard Study System (Easiest To Read)

This flashcard deck from Momentrix, makers of test prep resources for all kinds of professions, are engaging, easy to read, clearly state the concepts – and best of all, they’re a really good size, not too big, not too small.

You’ll get a content-driven set of flashcards that hits all the major areas of care focusing on the information you need to know. These aren’t just flashcards – this is a flashcard study system.

  • Full study system
  • Easy to handle size
  • Easy to read
  • Practice test questions

 

What Exactly Are Flashcards?

 

Yeah, it’s not rocket science – it’s just flashcards. 

Everyone remembers making spelling flashcards in elementary school right? You know, the white 8×5 cards with little blue lines and a big red line on top. You’d write the word on one side and the definition on the other – exactly.

You’d read the definition, try to remember the word, and spell it – if you didn’t know, you’d FLASH to the answer on the back. That’s pretty much it.

Here’s what a flashcard usually is:

  • A thick paper card, usually about 8×5 in. in size
  • Two sides – question on one side, answer on the other
  • Hi-lighting, tabs, etc. to aid memory

If you’ve got a stack of cards and a pen or marker, you can make your own flashcards, easily (we’ll address making your own cards later).

Flashcards really are a very simple tool to help you practice concepts, ideas, facts, and raw information. They’re so simple that children use them to learn everything from how to spell Electricity to the state capitals.

But exactly is it that makes flashcards so good at helping us remember?

How Do Flashcards Really Work?

 

Easy – by repetition. Just by normal human nature and by the way, our brains work, repetition of a physical act like riding a bike or a piece of information like the human foot contains 26 bones helps commit the data to long-term memory.

The reason repetition works are because your brain is hard-wired to forget things quickly – like really, really quickly. The reason is that although the brain is a wonderful living computer, it only has so much room and operating power. If we remembered every little detail about every little thing – we’d be overwhelmed in a single day.

So you see the question – think about it – don’t know. You flash to the answer. After a while, you start to get that Aha! moment when you flash the answer. And finally, you see the question and you know the answer. Not only are you strengthening the information in your long-term memory – you’re also working on your active recall. This helps make remembering the information much quicker and easier.

So how many repetitions? Like the number of licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop (answer: avg. 252) the number of repetitions to commit information to long-term memory is on average 7 repetitions for a new language or unstructured data. That’s what flashcards help you do – repetitively work the information into your brain.

How Many Flashcards Should I Study At A Time?

 

Cognitive scientists have created a quick formula for making your learning quicker when you use flashcards. It uses a snowball effect that builds every day until you’re working with the whole set of flashcards. You start with 10 and add another 10 every day – so on the second day, you’re reviewing the flashcards from day one and so on.

Here’s what you do:

  • Day One – 10 flashcards
  • Day Two – add 10 more for 20
  • Day Three – add 10 more for 30

Even as it builds, the ideal length of time for a study session is 45 minutes to 1 hour. So just keep that in mind the next time you’re planning a 5-hour study session (and remember to take periodic breaks every hour).

 

Should I Make My Own Flashcards?

 

Lots of nursing students like to make their own flashcards, whether it’s out of habit, a preference for personal style, or just because it’s part of their learning process. But making your own flashcards actually adds another dimension to the learning process that helps commit the information to memory quicker and more effectively.

There’s a truckload of evidence that shows that the act of writing down new information helps us to remember it more effectively. This is because rather than just listening to a lecture or reading a book that uses only the auditory or visual areas of your brain, writing does something much different.

When you write something down, you’re creating spatial relations between different parts of your brain. While some studies showed that students who listened to a lecture versus students who listened and took notes remember about the same amount of information (40%) – the students who took notes remembered more key facts.

So if you make your own flashcards, sure it takes time, but you’re getting a head start on committing the information to memory. Ready to make your own flashcards?

 

How To Make Your Own Flashcards

 

Maybe you’ve already picked out the NCLEX review flashcards you want – maybe you’ve already got some. But making your own set of NCLEX review flashcards is still a good idea.

As stated above, when you write something down, you make connections across your brain, helping you jump-start the memory process. But in addition, you can add your own personal touches like colors, pictures, and tabs.

The usual size for flashcards is the same as an 8×5 notecard, although there are smaller sizes. You can find these almost anywhere in white and you can also find them in different colors from pink to yellow or blue.

You may want to invest in a hole-punch and a ring-binder to punch a hole in the left or right corner, put the ring through them to keep your flashcard deck together, and easier to store.

 

So here are 7 tips to help you make your own awesome set of NCLEX flashcards:

 

One Card, One Question

Don’t try to cram more than one question on a card, because it’ll just get confusing. Keep it simple with one question on the front and one answer on the back.

 

Split Up Complex Subjects/Concepts Into Multiple Questions

If you’re making a flashcard for a difficult or involved concept with multiple answers or parts – break it up. Write one concept per card. It helps to use colors to differentiate the parts of an answer.

 

Use Words and Pictures

Add a little artistic flair (even if you can only draw stick figures) by adding pictures, not just words. The visual element will help you make even more connections in your brain to the concept you’re trying to remember. The human brain remembers imagery much easier than words. This is especially helpful in nursing questions dealing with anatomy & physiology.

 

Use Mnemonics

Oh man – you should already know some nursing mnemonics by now – how about ADPIE? You can search hundreds of nursing mnemonics online – so find some and add them to your NCLEX flashcards.

 

Answer Out Loud

You may feel like a weirdo (especially in public) but saying the answers out loud activates yet another part of your brain that will help cement that learned info in your grey matter better. Even better is to go through them with a study partner and answer aloud as you go. Plus, you won’t look like you’re talking to yourself.

 

Go Forward & Backward

Don’t fall into the habit of reading the question then getting the answer. Try going through your NCLEX flashcard deck backward by reading the answer than getting the question. This expands your knowledge, grip, and understanding of information and concepts instead of just relying on rote memorization.

 

Use As A Supplement ONLY

Let me put on my Capt. Obvious hat here – you can’t rely on flashcards alone to get you through the NCLEX exam. You’re going to want every study guide, supplement, flashcard, online quiz, lab sheet, etc. you can get your hands on. The more ways you study, the better you will retain and understand the information you learn.

 

How To Improve Your Memory

 

Yeah, we’ve talked a lot about flashcards, how great they are, why they work, and how you can even make them. But it’s all to help you remember and incorporate information right? Why not do something to help your memory?  Why not indeed – Here’s a quick list of tips that’ll help boost your brainpower to supercharge your study sessions and make learning easier than ever.

 

Repetition Is Key

We mentioned repetition above when using flashcards. Repetition, repetition, repetition – get it? Doing something over and over and over wires the information, thoughts, and concepts into your brain. Study regularly – as in a little every day, even if it’s only 15 – 30 minutes.

 

Get Healthy

If your body isn’t healthy, your brain isn’t healthy. Whether it’s from a poor diet, lack of sleep, not exercising or stress and anxiety, the health of your body and mind have a direct effect on your memory and cognitive function.

Tips: eat healthier, get good sleep, exercise regularly, practice self-care, try yoga or meditation

Exercise can have not only a positive effect on your waistline – it’s also beneficial for your brainpower. Meditation and mindfulness are great ways to reduce stress and test anxiety. You can do a quick, calming meditation in as little as 5 minutes.

 

Use A Multimedia Approach

Don’t rely on one type of study method because everyone learns differently. Maybe you’re an auditory learner. Maybe you’re visual. Study your NCLEX guide, use flashcards, watch a video, listen to a teaching podcast, or write out the answers. The more varied your study methods are, the more areas of your brain they’ll hit giving you better retention and understanding.

 

Cut Out Distractions

Sure you may want to leave Real Housewives on in the background while you study, but even a minor distraction can lower your concentration and memorization – without you even realizing it. If you need a quiet place to study, find one. It doesn’t have to be alone either. A library or coffee shop works great for a lot of people.

 

Grab A Cuppa Joe

Yep, that caffeine in your cup of coffee that wakes you up in the morning and turns you human again – it’s also great to sharpen up focus, memory, and learning. Have yourself a small cup of coffee while you’re studying – just don’t overdo it. If you don’t like coffee, there’s plenty of drinks with energy enhancers like caffeine, taurine, and B vitamins that are fruity and refreshing.

Study regularly, using different approaches and when it comes time to take the NCLEX, the only thing you’ll be thinking about is how awesomely you’re going to crush it.

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