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How to Prepare for the NCLEX and 6 Test Options

How to Prepare for the NCLEX: One of the most significant experiences in a new nurse’s career is taking the NCLEX-RN. The NCLEX-RN is what enables nursing school graduates to become licensed and work in their state after spending years in school.

The test preparation process is crucial. In addition to providing the best possibilities for success, careful planning can also assist lessen some of the stress related to taking the test. The following are a few strategies graduates can use to study and get ready for the test.

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What Is NCLEX-RN Exam?

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. claims that “The NCLEX-RN Test Plan is based on nursing and humanistic principles. Humans are limited entities with a range of social abilities. They are distinctive individuals with established routines that reflect their beliefs, objectives, and way of life. Individuals have the right to decide what medical care they need and to take part in addressing those needs. In a variety of situations, the nursing profession provides a special commitment to assisting clients (individuals, families, or groups) in achieving their highest degree of health. A client is any individual, family, or group, including close relatives and the general population, who is taking the NCLEX.

Based on a professional body of knowledge that incorporates ideas from the liberal arts and the biological, physical, psychological, and social sciences, nursing is both an art and a science. It is a taught profession that relies on understanding of the human condition over the life span and how people interact with others and their surroundings. In order to incorporate increasingly complex knowledge, skills, technology, and client care activities into evidence-based nursing practice, nursing is a dynamic, constantly changing profession. Preventing sickness and its problems, safeguarding, encouraging, restoring, and facilitating comfort, health, and dignity in dying are the objectives of nursing for client care.

The RN offers a distinctive, thorough evaluation of the client’s health state while integrating ethical, client safety, health promotion, and nursing process principles. After that, the nurse creates and implements a clear plan of care. The nurse supports the right to a dignified death while also promoting health, coping with health issues, adjusting to and/or healing from the impacts of disease or injury. The RN is responsible for following all member board jurisdiction laws that pertain to nursing practice.”

How to Prepare for the NCLEX
How to Prepare for the NCLEX

What Differs the NCLEX from other Student Tests?

The computer-adaptive NCLEX exam chooses questions depending on every test-responses. If an answer is incorrect as the test goes on, the subsequent question will be a little bit simpler. The following question will be slightly harder if a response is accurate. This pattern of testing is used to assess the candidate’s degree of proficiency.

How to Prepare for the NCLEX

1. Knowing what to Anticipate

The graduate must be aware of what to anticipate before the test. The NCLEX-RN is a computer-adaptive test, meaning no two tests are alike and are tailored to the test-taker depending on their understanding of the subject matter. There are no fewer than 75 questions and no more than 265 questions. Of those, 15 are “pre-test” questions that do not count toward the test-takers’ final score.

The test, which includes an introduction and lesson on how it is administered, will take the test-taker 6 hours to complete. Pre-planned breaks are also possible with the computerized system, but they are optional. When breaks are required, the test-taker will be informed.

On the computer screen, one question is displayed at a time, and the test-taker cannot proceed until that question has been resolved. Once the test-taker has successfully completed the exam or failed it, the test comes to an automated end. The test’s most nerve-wracking section is certainly this one.

2. Make a Study Schedule

Making a study plan is a methodical strategy for test-takers to organize their test preparation. To achieve this, blocking off time on your calendar for studying is a great idea. The study plan should also be specific. Studying can be kept organized by concentrating on a particular clinical topic, idea, or area of weakness. Also, organizing your study strategy is crucial; whether it is reading or practice exam questions, success depends on having a plan and following it.

3. Create a Study Group.

Getting assistance from other nursing graduates who have graduated is an excellent method to get ready for the NCLEX-RN. Sharing knowledge is really beneficial while getting ready for an exam. Graduates might be exceptional in certain areas while needing assistance in others, and vice versa. Everyone in the group may have their own special methods for remembering key ideas and may have advice to offer the others.

4. Make Use of Resources Available

For recent nursing school graduates, there are a ton of resources available. The exam taker has access to a variety of resources, including websites, books, live study sessions, blogs, etc. It’s critical that pupils are informed of the best learning strategy for them. Some students perform better by reading the material again, while others benefit from in-person study sessions. Asking around and reading reviews of each resource are very helpful.

5. Respond to Drill Inquiries

Answering practice questions is one of the finest ways to prepare for the NCLEX-RN. The NCLEX-RN uses an original approach to evaluate test-takers’ knowledge. The thorough recall is not the only consideration. It involves putting nursing school knowledge into practice in real-world situations. Although some questions include more than one right response, the test-taker must pick the best one. Finding a study guide with practice questions is crucial for becoming familiar with the format of the NCLEX, which can increase success rates. Preferably, the study guide should be computerized.

Graduates should examine each incorrect response and ascertain what went wrong. Also, identifying a trend in missed questions may point to particular ideas that require more study.

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6. Take Breaks from Studying

Don’t go overboard. The graduate must take vacations from their studies. Otherwise, anxiety and tension will prevent the brain from properly processing information. The purpose of breaks should be to refuel the test-taker and prevent mental shutdown. They should also be healthy and therapeutic. A little food break or brisk walk will do wonders. Discovering a pastime allows one to temporarily divert their attention from their stress by focusing on something fun and unrelated.

How to Prepare for the NCLEX
How to Prepare for the NCLEX

7. Adhere to a Schedule

For some grads, studying for the NCLEX takes up their whole day. Graduates should maintain their everyday routines as much as they can while also taking breaks. Keep working out, visit the gym, get out with friends and family, etc. When a person’s routine is disturbed, they may feel out of control, which can make it difficult to concentrate. The majority of students also discover that they can focus better on their studies when their other responsibilities are handled as normal. Just because an important test is approaching doesn’t mean that bills, housework, and food preparation immediately disappear.

8. Look after Yourself

It is essential that folks getting ready for the NCLEX look after themselves. While there is so much at risk, it is simple to become preoccupied with learning and getting ready. But, success depends on one’s ability to look after themselves. For instance, regular exercise improves concentration, memory, and critical thinking. Clear thinking is also aided by getting enough sleep. Additionally, it has been discovered that a healthy diet low in saturated fats improves memory. Attending yoga or meditation classes may also aid in increasing focus and mindfulness.

9. In a Race, Slow and Steady Prevails

This is more of a test-taking tip than a study tip necessarily. One’s anxiety level rises when taking the NCLEX, which makes the test-taker more likely to hurry through. Breathe. Focus. Consider each question after thoroughly reading it. The solution is frequently basic sense. Don’t overthink it; just consider it. Don’t get caught up with the quantity of questions or who finishes first. The test-taker is allotted six hours to finish the exam. No need to rush!

10. Have confidence in your skills

Graduates from nursing programs would not have received their diplomas if they had not demonstrated the abilities necessary to practice safely while still in the classroom. Certainly, the NCLEX is a significant examination, and failing it carries serious consequences. Yet if a student has made it this far, they can pass the NCLEX. Keep in mind that 91% pass rates are quite high! Enter the test with assurance. Success is attainable; you can do it!

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What Test Plan is the NCLEX?

The NCLEX test plan, which is modified every three years, is created to aid nursing programs and students in getting ready for the actual exam. An outline of the subjects covered on the real test is provided in the test plan. Also, it indicates the proportion of each topic’s questions that will appear on the actual exam so that students can focus their study efforts there.

The NCLEX test plan also directs programs and businesses, including ATI, in developing practice questions (also known as items), particularly in terms of distinct question kinds. While traditional, 4-option, multiple-choice questions make up the majority of the NCLEX, other question types are also used. They consist of:

  1. Multiple-response questions can have one valid answer, several correct answers, or even all correct answers. The test-taker must decide which answers are correct and how many of them there are.
  2. Fill-in-the-blank questions demand that a candidate enter 1 or more numbers to perform a calculation.
  3. Hot-spot candidates are asked to pick out one or more specific locations on a photograph or graphic.
  4. Chart/exhibit forms ask the applicant to read information from a chart or exhibit to find the solution to an issue.
  5. Ordered-response candidates must rate the order of several alternatives or reorder them in “ordered-response” items in order to offer the proper response.
  6. Audio Items – The applicant listens to an audio sample presented as while donning headphones before selecting their response.
  7. Graphic Option – Instead of text-based answer choices, test-takers are given graphic possibilities.

Multimedia, charts, graphs, and graphic pictures may be included in any item style, including traditional multiple-choice questions.

On a future edition of the NCLEX, which is currently being developed by the NCSBN, item forms will change. The Next Generation NCLEX is the name of the upcoming test, which will be introduced sometime after April 2023. A major component of a new nurse’s duties has been highlighted as clinical judgment, which will be evaluated on the new test version.

How to Prepare for the NCLEX
How to Prepare for the NCLEX

Frequently Asked Questions

What benefits does the NCLEX offer?

Whereas the NCLEX-PN is the test to become a Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse, the NCLEX-RN is the test to become a licensed Registered Nurse.

What NCLEX score is required to pass?

The NCLEX can be passed after answering all 135 questions, but it can also be passed after answering just 70 questions or any other number in between. Remember that the NCLEX has a five-hour time constraint. By the time the test timer expires, if you haven't successfully answered enough questions, you'll flunk it.

How many people pass the NCLEX the first time?

How likely are you to fail the NCLEX-RN on your first try? 13.43% of NCLEX-RN candidates, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), fail the test on their first try. In comparison to the more than 86% of test takers who succeed on their first attempt, the number of failing test-takers is small.

Is NCLEX just for Americans?

Since 1982, 2015, and 2020, respectively, the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) has been a requirement for nurses seeking licensure in the United States, Canada, and Australia. The NCLEX-RN and the NCLEX-PN are the two types.

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