A woman is conducting a research on whether it is better to take the NCLEX in the morning or afternoon, while writing in a book at home.

Should You Take the NCLEX in the Morning or Afternoon?

The best time to take the NCLEX exam depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. There are benefits and drawbacks to both morning and afternoon examinations, so it is important to consider various factors before making a decision.

The Morning NCLEX Examination

Benefits of a Morning NCLEX Exam

  • Increased alertness: Taking the exam in the morning when you are well-rested and refreshed can lead to better focus and concentration.
  • Avoiding distractions: As the day progresses, distractions can increase, such as noise, interruptions, and other responsibilities. By taking the exam in the morning, you can minimize these distractions and create a more conducive testing environment.

drawbacks of a Morning NCLEX Exam

  • Morning grogginess: If you are not a morning person and struggle to wake up and function at full capacity early in the day, taking the exam in the morning might not be the best choice for you.
  • Time pressure: Some individuals may feel rushed to get ready and arrive at the testing center on time if they schedule the exam in the morning. This added time pressure can potentially impact their performance.

The Afternoon NCLEX Examination

Benefits of an Afternoon NCLEX Exam

  • Time to prepare: Taking the exam in the afternoon allows you to have more time in the morning to review and prepare mentally, which can help alleviate test anxiety.
  • Peak energy levels: If you tend to have higher energy levels and focus in the afternoon, scheduling the exam during this time might allow you to perform at your best.

downsides of an afternoon examination

  • Fatigue: Depending on your daily routine, you may experience fatigue as the day progresses, which can affect your concentration and overall performance.
  • Increased distractions: Taking the exam in the afternoon can expose you to potential distractions that may arise throughout the day, such as phone calls, unexpected visitors, or loud noises.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your NCLEX Time

Your personal body clock and peak performance times

Every individual has their own natural rhythm and peak performance times. It is crucial to listen to your body and determine when you feel most alert and focused. If you are a morning person, the morning examination may be a better choice for you. If you tend to be more energetic and focused in the afternoon, then scheduling your exam accordingly may be beneficial.

Your Usual Study Schedule

Another factor to consider is your usual study schedule. If you have been studying consistently in the mornings and have established a routine that works well for you, it might be beneficial to take the exam in the morning when your mind is already in study mode. On the other hand, if you find that you are more productive and absorb information better in the afternoons, scheduling your exam for later in the day might be a better option for you.

Logistical considerations (travel, accommodation, etc.)

When deciding on the timing of your NCLEX exam, consider any logistical factors that may impact your ability to arrive at the testing center on time. Take into account traffic patterns, public transportation schedules, and any necessary accommodations. Planning ahead can help reduce stress and ensure a smooth experience on the day of the exam.

Availability of test slots

The availability of test slots is another important factor to consider. Depending on your location and the demand for NCLEX testing, certain time slots may be more readily available than others. You may need to be flexible with your preferred timing to secure a convenient test slot.

Your Test-Taking History

Reflecting on your past experiences with tests can also provide insights into your optimal exam time. If you tend to perform better in exams that you take in the morning, it might be wise to stick to that pattern for the NCLEX. However, if you find that you are more relaxed and perform better in exams that you take in the afternoon, it might be worth considering an afternoon exam slot.

Making the Final Decision: Morning or Afternoon?

In the end, the most important thing is to make a decision that aligns with your own needs and preferences. Trust yourself and the choices you make. You have worked hard to get to this point, and you have what it takes to succeed. Good luck on your NCLEX exam!


Q: How can I determine if I am a morning person or an afternoon person?
Pay attention to your energy levels and productivity throughout the day. Notice when you feel most alert, focused, and productive. This will give you an indication of whether you are a morning person or an afternoon person.

Q: What if I have a part-time job or other responsibilities in the morning or afternoon?
If you have commitments in the morning or afternoon, consider scheduling your NCLEX exam during a time when you have fewer responsibilities or can take time off. Have a clear and focused mind during the exam, so minimizing distractions and obligations is beneficial.

Q: Can I change the time of my NCLEX exam if I realize I made the wrong choice?
Most testing centers allow you to reschedule your exam, but there may be fees associated with changing the date or time. Check with your testing center for their specific policies on rescheduling.

Q: What if I have trouble sleeping at night and struggle to wake up in the morning?
If you have a history of difficulty sleeping or waking up in the morning, it may be best to schedule your NCLEX exam for the afternoon. This allows you to get adequate rest and be in a better state of mind for the exam.

Q: Will the difficulty level of the NCLEX exam vary depending on the time of day it is taken?
No, the difficulty level of the NCLEX exam remains the same regardless of the time it is taken. The exam is standardized and designed to assess the same knowledge and skills regardless of the time of day.

Q: What can I do to stay focused and maintain energy during a morning or afternoon exam?
Prioritize getting a good night’s sleep before the exam and eat a balanced meal to fuel your body and mind. During the exam, take short breaks if needed, stretch, and stay hydrated. These simple actions can help you stay focused and maintain energy throughout the exam.

Q: Can I request a specific time for my NCLEX exam?
Test slots for the NCLEX are typically assigned based on availability. While you may not be able to request a specific time, you can check with the testing center to see if they have any flexibility in scheduling options.

Q: Is it better to have a few hours to review before the afternoon exam?
Having a few hours to review before the afternoon exam can be beneficial for some individuals. It allows time for a final review of key concepts and can help alleviate anxiety. However, be mindful of not over-studying and overwhelming yourself before the exam.

Q: Is it better to take the NCLEX on a weekday or weekend?
The choice between a weekday or weekend exam is personal and depends on your preferences and availability. Consider your daily routine and any potential conflicts or commitments you may have on weekdays or weekends. Choose a day that allows you to be well-rested, focused, and free from distractions.