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Tips on Preparing for the NCLEX-RN® Exam






Taking the NCLEX-RN® exam is no walk in the park. The mere financial cost of applying for it is enough reason to cringe at the idea of failing it. Moreover, it's the ultimate test for the US-bound nurse.

The stories of both successful and unsuccessful examinees on how difficult the NCLEX-RN® exam is, give us a sense of foreboding and ultimately lead us to doubting our capabilities. What little confidence we have left is easily shattered by sob stories of friends and acquaintances who were less than lucky with the exam. Ironically, luck is not actually a factor in passing the NCLEX-RN® exam.

Successful examinees point out that the key to conquering the NCLEX-RN® is preparation, preparation, and more preparation. So, how does one prepare for the NCLEX-RN® exam?

Listed are some of the practical preparation tips culled from reputable review guides for the NCLEX-RN® exam.

  • Know the Test Plan. Be familiar about the exam content, topics, question format, and most importantly, the manner of how the exam is administered.
  • Identify Strengths and Weaknesses. Make an honest assessment of your knowledge in nursing content by taking as many diagnostic exams as possible. Identify strengths and weaknesses in test-taking strategies as well.
  • Decide on the Need to Take Review Classes. In enrolling for a review program, find out if the course includes test-taking techniques and strategies as well as opportunities for practice tests on application-level questions.
  • Prepare Physically, Emotionally, and Mentally. Maintain a nutritionally-balanced diet, get enough rest and sleep, and engage in a moderate but stimulating exercise. Confidence can also be boosted by a constant visualization of passing the NCLEX-RN® exam.
  • Establish a Study Plan. Having a study schedule is a must. Maintaining a calendar or a planner is a good way of keeping track of your progress and with how much time is left before the scheduled exam. Study schedules must be realistic and goals set must be those that can be met.
  • Find a Suitable Study Space. The study area must be conducive for learning, meaning, it is located in a quiet space away from the bed, radio, telephone, and television. It must also be well-lit and well-ventilated with a chair that encourages good posture.
  • Concentrate. The key to maintaining concentration is to approach studying with commitment and to study continuously without interruptions but with periodic short breaks. It is best to study difficult topics when one is most alert.
  • Maximize Study Time. Studying can be maximized by having a to-do list. For example, 2-3 months before the NCLEX-RN® exam, begin studying notes and review materials, answer as many practice exams as possible to diagnose strong and weak areas. 4-6 weeks prior to the exam date, focus on the identified areas of weakness. A week into the exam, answer as many computer adaptive test-type practice questions to evaluate progress.
  • Jazz Up. Having a study partner and joining a study group are excellent ways to energize studying as solitary studying can be grueling in the long haul. Using audio-visual review materials are good tools for supplementing the review.
  • Practice, Practice and More Practice. Take as many practice questions as possible to become test-wise and develop critical thinking skills. Strategies include:
    • Correctly identify what the question is asking by rewording or paraphrasing the question.
    • Focus on the information needed to answer the question.
    • Eliminate choices that do not answer the reworded question.
    • Never predict or guess answers.
    • Read answer choices for clues to the topic being asked.
    • When prioritizing, remember Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs, ABC (Airway, Breathing, Circulation), the Nursing Process, and Safety.
    • In answering questions on therapeutic communication, eliminate responses with "Don't Worry","Why","Let's Explore". Nurse-focused answers and authoritarian responses should also be eliminated. Choose responses that reflect the patient's feelings and those that provide information to the client.
    • Remember the rules of nursing management. Only the care of stable patients with expected outcomes and standard, unchanging procedures can be delegated. Assessment, Health teachings, and Evaluation cannot be delegated.
    • Be sure to avoid common pitfalls in answering test questions such as: Relying on recall and recognition. Most, if not all, NCLEX-RN® questions deal with analysis in the clinical application of nursing theories and principles; Basing answers on personal clinical experience rather than on established nursing theories and principles; NCLEX-RN® questions are based on standardized clinical principles and not on institutional protocols. Choosing the longest or lengthy response or option; and Answering on impulse to familiar questions. Take time to analyze each option.
  • Positive Outlook, Positive Results. Surround yourself with individuals with positive outlook. Accomplishing all the aforementioned things will boost one's confidence on the day of the exam so it is imperative that one remain committed to the plan of action. On the examination day, be at the exam site early, rested, nourished, focused yet relaxed with only one thing in mind, "I will pass the NCLEX-RN® exam!"

Discuss this Article at the Message Board.

Note: Article written with contributions from my study partner who prefer to remain anonymous.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the efforts taken to guide nurses to prepare for NCLEX RN EXAM. These are most important and should be followed by each one to succeed the in the exam.

Mama Owl said...

thank you so much! this is really big help to me. I just passed the NLE last Dec.'05 after reading ur article I realized and imagine what to prepare in taking the NCLEX. I am so scared. But really, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Very excellent, to-the-point, advice. I take my NCLEX tomorrow and these tips will be very helpful. This is what should be given to every nursing student on their first day of class - and then it should be reinforced throughout the two years (with hundreds of NCLEX-style questions along the way - with explanations). That way the NCLEX won't be such a monster after you graduate (the NCLEX was barely mentioned for my two years of nursing school)!

Anonymous said...

This website is really informative. I really appreciate your generosity and guidance in keeping millions of Filipino Nurses informed and educated of up-to-date information regarding Examinations and Nursing Related Inquiries. Being a techno savvy person like you guys is really a great gift from God. Thanks for the tips and your website is really highly recommended and very innovative. More power and God Bless!

CGNurse

Anonymous said...

to anyone who reads this message now please help me send this message to any of your friends FOR THEM TO BE INFORMED:


TOPIC: broken dreamS..BROKEN PLANS..BROKEN REVIEW CENTER



SUBJECT: NORTHCAP REVIEW CENTER BAGUIO CITY a very irresponsible management!!!!!!!



midwifery students of UNP candon branch had enrolled at northcap review center baguio branch had their review for almost a

month...expecting that they will be having their board exam on april 30 became a nightmare..the management told the students

that they will be the one to fixed their papers to PRC (professional regulation commission)
the students expected and payed for the effort of the management knowing that thay will be having their board exams..a day

before the exams they informed the students that they will not be having their board exams because they didn't pass those

papers..requirements whatsoever...
what management is that??? very irresponsible!!!

i just made this post to protest my friends and fellow students
WHO HAD BEEN SPENDING THEIR TIME WASTED MONEY FOR NOTHING..
so please help me post and past this bulletin for others to be aware of what is going on...on that review center!!!

thank you folks for reading this post.!!
SUPORTAHAN NIYO PO ITONG PROTESTA KO..PLEASE

TO MY FRIENDS: MGA KASAMA NAIPROTESTA KO NA KAYO!! WAG KAYO MAGALALA MAAYOS DIN ITO!! AT SA LAHAT NG MGA BALAK MAGREVIEW WAG

NIYO NA PO PILIIN ANG "NORTHCAP REVIEW CENTER" BAGUIO BRANCH..BAKA MAGAYA RIN KAYO SA MGA KASAMAHAN KO NA NAGENROLL SA

IRESPONSABLENG REVIEW CENTER NA YUN,





-CONCERNED NURSING STUDENT OF UNION CHRISTIAN COLLEGE CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, LA UNION

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