In one year, I will be taking my NCLEX, so what will help me prepare for it? Recommended to me where Saunders, Lippincott and Kaplan. Lippincott and Kaplan are used in my school so those are the ones I have to use, but they are very good for studying. The explanations for the correct and incorrect answers help you understand why the correct answer is correct and the others are incorrect. Two books that helped me prepare for tests in adult health II and will help me for the NCLEX are NCLEX-RN EXAMINATION by Saunders. This book helps explain different topics you learn in nursing school and gives you a quick refresher on different illness and pathologies. At the end of each chapter there are questions from the topic you are reviewing. Another book that helped me study for tests is Lippincott Q & A Review for NCLEX-RN. This book is filled with thousands of questions as well as answers at the end of each section with explanations. I highly recommend this book for studying because not only does it apply your knowledge of what you’ve been studying but you will realize what you do and do not understand.

Thirdly, a medical surgical book used for my nursing class was also with Lippincott, called Textbook of medical-surgical nursing 13th edition. It has an online portion with Prep-U which has the online textbook and quizzes that can help you study as well. If you don’t like reading online you can buy the textbook, now both are expensive but once you pass you NCLEX you can sell them back.

Now for care plans, because you will have to do them at one point during nursing school and you will spend hours writing them out for clinical and it will be difficult and annoying until you finally understand what you are supposed to write. The book I suggest for that is Nursing Diagnosis Manual: Planning, Individualizing, and Documenting Client Care by Marilynn Doenges, Mary Moorhouse, and Alice Murr. All you do is look up the illness of your patient and it will give you a list of nursing priorities, plans, interventions, and evaluations.

Lastly, a book to help with pharmacology. Kaplan NCLEX-RN drug guide. This is a book of flashcards, each a category and in alphabetical order. On the front it says the name of the drug in both generic and brand name. While on the back of the page it lists the side effects and nursing considerations. The book is a great little pocket dictionary to carry around during clinical to help look up drug names.

Must Know Lab Values



Throughout nursing school, there is a lot of memorization involved with certain topics. Lab values are a must know because if you know the normal values you can establish whether or not the patient’s value is too high or too low. Below is a list of values you NEED to know to get pass the NCLEX and to get through nursing school.

Fasting glucose– 70-100 mg/dL

Magnesium–1.5-2.5 mEq/L

Potassium–3.5-5.0 mEq/L

Sodium–135-145 mEq/L

Hematocrit– Male: 39-50%, Female: 35-47%

Hemoglobin–Male: 13.2-17.3 g/dL, Female: 11.7-15.5 g/dL

Hemoglobin A1C–normal <5.9%, 6-7% good control, >7% needs work
Platelet cOunt–150,000-400,000
White blood cell (Wbc) count–4.0-11.0 thousand
Red Blood Cell (RBC) Count– Male: 4.6-6.2, Female: 4.2-5.2
Blood urea nitrogen (bun)–6-20 mg/dL
alkaline phospahte–25-100
Protein–0.5-9.0 g/dl
Total cholesterol–under 200 is normal, 200-239 is borderline high, over 240 is high
HDL–over 60 is normal, Male: under 40 is low. Female: under 50 is low
LDL–under 70 is good for patients w/ blood vessel disease. Under 100 is good for diabetes and heart disease patients, 100-129 is near optimal, 130-159 is borderline high, >160 is high.
Triglycerides–under 150 is normal, 150-199 is borderline high, 200-499 is high, >500 is very high
Partial Thromboplastin Time (PTT)–60-70 seconds
Prothrombin Time (PT)–10-13 seconds
International Normalized Ratio (INR)–1-2 minutes, 2-3 for patients on anticoagulants, 2.5-4 for patients for artificial valves.
Urine osmol–250-900 mosm/k
serum osmol–275-295
Calcium–8.5-10.2 mg/dl
Phosphorus–2.5-4.5 mg/dl
Digoxin–0.5-2 ng/ml (loading dose)


There are many more than this, however I will post them as I learn them. For now these are the basic lab values that every entering nursing student will learn upon entering the nursing program.

College Study Tips

In college, people really find out who they are, what they want to be and what type of student they are. More importantly students find out how to study, what works and what doesn’t. I’m here to give you study tip options for not just nursing classes, but other common core classes.

For example, YouTube is a great source to find videos of professionals and other people explaining class material. CrashCourse is a YouTube channel that can help with many subjects in college. I mainly used it for anatomy and physiology but it can also help in biology and many other courses. CrashCourse isn’t the only channel you can use. Specifically for nursing students RegisteredNurseRN is another great channel for all topics in nursing school. All you need to do is type the topic you are confused about into YouTube and I’m sure you will find a video on the topic.

Another great source is Quizlet, it’s a flash card based website that you can create flashcards and other quizzes for studying. You can send quizzes you made to friends and vice versa. In addition, writing out a study guide, creating your own hand-written flashcards, and studying with another classmate really helps. You can quiz one another and explain different situations in your own perspective giving the other person a different way to view the scenario. If your university has an academic success center, or a tutoring center that is free use it! They will help you learn ways to take exams, teach you the way you take exams best, and explain the topics you’re struggling with. Lastly, apps such as NCLEX mastery, medical dictionary can help you study for your NCLEX and help you understand medical jargon.

The key to passing your exams though is studying at least three days to a week in advance so that you can retain the information. Even if you study the material for fifteen minutes a day a week before the exam, you will be surprised as to how much you will remember.  Overall, grab some research proven noise-proof headphones, use your notes, grab a study buddy, use the internet and school resources to the maximum so that you can pass your more difficult classes.