Preparing to take the NCLEX test is stressful. It feels as if your life hinges on a pass or fail. You’ve dedicated 90% of the last 2-4 years of your life to preparing for this test. Don’t give up now! You have the knowledge- now it’s basically up to test-taking skills and anxiety control. Here are a few NCLEX test-taking tips to help you be successful.
1. Beware of ‘Always’ and ‘Never’
Be cautious of the ‘always’ and ‘never’ questions. Very few times does the answer include these words. It implies that there is no room for exception.
2. Watch out for Negative Modifiers
An example would be “Which of these answers is NOT the best response?”
If you miss those key words, you will likely miss the question. The correct answer could possibly be negative response.
3. Focus on the Patient
4. Safety is a priority
Patient safety is always a top priority. Safety of the patient takes precedence over patient satisfaction. The correct answer is likely the answer that addresses patient safety.
5. FIRST actions
Look for the keyword ‘first.’ All answers may be correct, but the question is what the nurse’s FIRST action should be. Don’t skim past the seemingly meaningless word.
6. Assess Before Action
When in doubt, assess the patient before acting upon on the problem. Rule of nursing-assess first!
7. Eliminate Obviously Wrong Answers
Oftentimes, there is at least one “duh” option. Eliminate those first. Then, you’re looking at a 33% chance of success.
8. Don’t Overlook Obviously Correct Answers
Sometimes, the correct answer is too easy. Consider it a freebee. The test makers are giving you a break.
9. Don’t Spend Too Much Time
Pace yourself. Don’t spend too much time on one question. If you absolutely DO NOT know the answer, give it your best guess and move on. You will have more time to answer the questions that you DO know.
10. Go with Your Gut
You are smart. You have all the knowledge that you need. DON’T change your answers unless you are 110% sure the answer that you have already selected is incorrect. Most of the time, your first instinct is correct.
So, there you have it! I hope these tips have eased a little of your test-taking anxiety. Good luck! You’ve got this!