Nursing school is a challenging experience. As if the rigors faced during your nursing education weren’t enough, you then have to take your professional licensure exam. Whether you have completed an RN or LPN program, you still must take your “boards” in order to practice as a nurse.
If you’ve stumbled onto this page in a nervous effort to find any tips or advice you possibly can in order to do well on the NCLEX, then you’ve come to right place. If you’re worried about your NCLEX test preparation, you are not alone. You wouldn’t be a good nurse if you didn’t think things through. But since you’re already thinking like a nurse, then I’m sure you’ll do fine, but here are a few things that might give you a little extra confidence.
Below you will find advice to help you pass the NCLEX on the very first attempt.
The hard part is over. You’ve completed nursing school and put in the time and effort needed in order to be worth of taking your state boards. The tests you take in nursing school are meant to mimic the types of questions you will see on the NCLEX. You passed those right?
By now you know what you’re going to know. Attempting to go over every detail you’ve learned in the last 2 years in a month are not going to get you anywhere. Retouch areas you had difficulty during school, but only briefly. Do not attempt to memorize your entire drug book!
Review Questions and Take Practice Tests
Don’t spend every waking hour of every day with your nose in a book or computer screen taking practice tests. But do spend some time keeping your testing skills in peak performance. There are several good resources online for practice NCLEX questions as well as books.
- Lippincott’s Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN® (Lippincott’s Review for Nclex-Rn)
- NCLEX-RN® Questions & Answers Made Incredibly Easy! (Incredibly Easy! Series)
- Saunders Q & A Review for the NCLEX-RN® Examination, 5e (Silvestri, Saunders Q & A Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination)
Don’t Study On Your NCLEX Test Day
You’ll just end up stressing yourself out if you try to cram in “just a few more questions.” And we’ve already discussed how at this point you really shouldn’t be trying to cram in content. Try to find a relaxing activity to fill your day with. But avoid anything NCLEX on NCLEX day, except well… the NCLEX itself.
Show Up Early
The last thing you want do to do is fail your test by missing your appointment. Make sure that you know your way to your destination and arrive in enough time to use the restroom, drink some water, and sit down and relax. You don’t want to be running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to get to your testing appointment.
Go with Your Gut and Don’t Doubt Yourself
I cannot tell you the number of times I thought to myself “it’s supposed to be harder than this,” while I was taking the NCLEX. I found myself in doubt that I knew the answers, but I had to tell myself to stop doubting. If I knew the answer, then why would I try and tell myself I didn’t? You have to be confident in your decisions on the test. Read all the answers, but go with your gut.
CAT : Computerized Adaptive Testing
The NCLEX uses computerized adaptive testing technology. What that basically means is that is choose your next question based upon if you successfully answered a question. Once you answer a certain amount correct in a certain level you bump up to the next level. You then have to answer a certain amount correct to bump up again until you get to a minimum of 75 questions. Every question you answer makes the computer recalculate your probability of success. So based upon how many you get correct it predicts if giving you more questions will help you pass or not. So getting past 75 questions does not mean you fail the NCLEX, it actually means it’s pretty sure you can pass it. However, it needs you to answer a few more questions correct before it can be sure.
Don’t Psych Yourself Out Trying to Figure Out the CAT Process
But don’t freak yourself out trying to figure out if the question you are answering is easier or harder than the one you just answered. In addition to the fact that you’re just wasting time and it doesn’t make a difference, somewhere along the lines of 30 questions will be “test” question for use in future NCLEX tests. So you make be freaking out because you got an easy question after a serious of select all that apply and thinking that you bombed them, when in reality the computer is just throwing in a “test” question (that doesn’t count) at random.
Do Your Best and Forget the Rest
Do your very best and have confidence in yourself. There is no use trying to incorporate any and all what-if’s. You know this this stuff, and you can and will pass the NCLEX and practice as a nurse.
Use your critical thinking skills you’ve developed in nursing school. Trust me when I say, if won’t be the last time you use your brain.
Hang on tight, this nursing ride can be a crazy one, but we are thrilled to have you!
How was your NCLEX experience?
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