All students undertaking a nursing programme are required to complete clinical practice placements. These placement hours are an essential component of the training necessary to join the Nursing and Midwifery Council register and to practise as a nurse. Clinical practice placements can be stressful for students, and this can compromise their learning. Thorough preparation by the student and an understanding of the change in learning environment that accompanies a placement can reduce anxiety and improve the learning experience. This article describes the preparations a student can make to ensure a successful and educational clinical practice placement.