The purpose of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) is to determine whether a candidate is able to begin practicing nursing at the entry level. This exam differs from the tests taken in nursing school as it focuses on the application and analysis of the knowledge you have from nursing school. The examination tests how you can make nursing judgments using critical thinking tools. The test is designed in the framework of “Meeting Client Needs” with the integration of all the content.
Structure of the NCLEX-RN Exam
The exam contains multiple choice questions which include four possible answers. There are also alternative questions that require you to fill in the blanks, drag and drop, others containing hotspots, charts, or exhibits. You can answer a minimum of 75 questions and a maximum of 265 questions with a guarantee of 15 experimental questions that do not add value to your marks but are used by examiners to set future questions. You will be given a maximum of 6 hours to complete the test. You will receive a pass or fail but not a numerical result for this exam.
The NCLEX-RN CAT
This is a computer adaptive test (CAT) which is designed to develop a testing format that has been adapted from the answers you give to questions asked. The computer gives you a simple question to begin with and if you answer it correctly, it gives you a more difficult one. If you give a wring answer, the computer gives you a slightly easier question thereby determining your level of competency through calculations.
Training Courses for the NCLEX-RN Exam
Due to the structure and purpose of the test, the courses for the examination are application based. Here are the training courses for this exam:
- Safe and effective care environment
- Health promotion and maintenance
- Psychosocial integrity
- Physiological integrity
Tips for Passing the NCLEX-RN Exam
This is the last hurdle you need to jump across to begin your career in nursing hence you need to give everything to this exam. Here are tips for passing the NCLEX-RN examination:
- Focus on memorization and critical thinking
Critical thinking is a fundamental concept in nursing and you need it to pass this exam. This means that you may encounter questions with more than one right answer in the multiple choices but you need to find the one that is most right out of them which will illustrate your ability to make efficient and quick decisions. Some questions test your memory in terms of disease symptoms, drug side effects, and normal lab values; that means you should memorize concepts as well.
- Avoid cramming
As much as you desperately need to pass this exam, you cannot possibly study everything you have learnt for the past four years in a month. You need to slow down and refresh your memory in areas that you feel you may have forgotten or that you found difficulty in during your coursework. Cramming will drain your energy, overwork your brain and make you lose sight of the purpose of the exam.
- Learn about the exam itself
Whether it is an examination or any other challenge, you will experience better chances of success if you know what you are walking into. You can check out the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) website to get details of the exam. You will get the formatting and types of questions asked which will enable you to go to the test prepared to face the questions that come your way and attempt to answer them correctly.
- Take many practice tests
They say practice makes perfect and if you hope to pass any exam including this one, you should take a lot of NCLEX practice test questions to better prepare yourself and increase your chances of success. These practice tests will wire your mind to focus on the objective of the questions without being distracted by minor details.
- Go to the exam prepared
On the day of the exam, carry an acceptable form of identification and leave your belongings in the next room. Avoid wearing excessive jewellery or distractive clothing as it will draw your attention from the test. Dress comfortably so that your only focus is answering the exam questions. Ensure that you hare well fed and have had proper rest in order for your brain to function efficiently. You could also bring a snack and a bottle of water to use during your break. Avoid chewing gum as it will make you more nervous.
- Visualize every scenario
The NCLEX-RN exam is not theory based but rather application based which means it tests your skills in a real work situation based on the knowledge you have from nursing school. When faced with a question, you should try to visualize a real scenario then you can determine how best you would respond to it. You should answer questions as they are and not in terms of a 5 year experience, you should think of every question as though you are working 1 to 3 months in the job.
- Start by eliminating false answers
Since the exam is structured to include multiple choices, you are better off eliminating false answers and remaining with a reduced number of possible answers to choose from. This will enable you to save time and answer as many questions as possible. You should also be careful while doing this because in some cases the obvious answer is always the false answer.
- Stay relaxed
Do not be in a hurry to answer questions. Exams breeds anxiety which is mostly unassailable but what you need to do is rise above it and relax your mind for it to work for you. When you do things when you are tense, you are likely to overlook some details and in the case of tests, you may end up missing a mark or two. If you encounter a difficult question, make the best guess possible and move on to the next one, do not dwell on one tough question as it will raise your anxiety levels.
The Best Book for the NCLEX-RN Exam
You can use study resources for your exam preparation. Here is a book you can use for this examination: Billings, D.M (2013). Lippincott’s review for NCLEX-RN examination with CD-ROM (11th ed.).
Top Resources for the NCLEX-RN Exam
There are a lot of training courses that help you prepare for the NCLEX-RN test. Here are the top 5 resources for this exam:
A career in nursing is wonderful and the NCLEX-RN exam will open the door for you to achieve your dreams and fulfill your purpose on the planet. Consider the tips stated above when sitting for your test and be sure to do remarkably well.