Attending nursing school to become a nurse requires some dedication and hard work; it’s not a job for anyone without determination and helping mentality. You’ll have to go through a lot of stages to become a nurse, a lot of career paths, examinations, certificates are all waiting for you on the way. To become a registered nurse, you have to either complete your associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). And that’s not enough; to be an RN and start practicing, you have to get your NCLEX licensure!
You have to pass your National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a registered nurse in the US! There is a lot of information about this examination out there that it might be hard to understand about this exam clearly. And here is a short guide for you to understand the basics to understand the exam better.
NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN
Depending on your education criteria, there are two types of NCLEX examinations out there. NCLEX-PN (Practical Nurse) is obtained by those who have completed their vocational or entry-level nursing programs (LPN or VPN). They operate under the directions of doctors and registered nurses in a variety of healthcare environments. And NCLEX-RN examination is for those who have completed their nursing program in ADN (associate nursing degree) or BSN (Bachelor in Science Nursing).
In the coming NCLEXs, you can expect the format of the exam to be complicated. In the past, all the questions for the NCLEX examination were MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions) types! Most of the questions are still multiple choice questions, but some there are questions with fill in the blanks, order response, hot spot, chart or exhibit, audio, or even graphic types. Study from the best NCLEX exam books to be prepared for your NCLEX 2020! There will be three levels of examination. Level 1 will be the basic one with MCQ type questions. Level 2 will be based on an analysis of the problem and its application. And level 3 questions will be the hardest of all. In this section, you may have to add resources, further explanations, stats, and facts in order to answer them.
Updated NCLEX examination practice areas
You’ll have up to 6 hours to complete the exam, and the number of questions will range between 75 to 265 questions. And this time includes two short breaks.No two tests are the same, and the number of questions you are required to complete depends on how you answer each previous question. And the content of the questions will be as following:
- 17 – 23% of questions from the Management of Care
- 11 – 17% of questions from Physiological Adaptation.
- 9 – 15% of questions from Safety and Infection Control.
- 9 – 15% of questions from Reduction of Risk Potential.
- 6-12% of questions from Health Promotion and Maintenance.
- 12 18% of questions from Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies.
- 6-12% of questions from Psychosocial Integrity.
- 6 – 12% of questions from Basic Care and Comfort.
Remember that you can not skip the questions and return back to them after a while to answer them. You have to answer the question to move to another question. This means you have to come up with strategies, tips, and tricks to find the best solution for your problems, and you will need to practice a lot to crack almost every question. And at present, the cost of an NCLEX exam is $200.
Tips on how to Pass Your NCLEX
Success comes in a straight way; it doesn’t have any shortcuts! You’ll have plenty of time to start working on your NCLEX questions and answers! All you have to do is follow these methods!
Understand Everything About NCLEX
One of the ways to nail the NCLEX exam in the first try is to understand everything. Learn as much as you about the portions they are going to cover in the exam, marks for every portion, question types, how many hours you’ll get to attend the exam, will there be any breaks available, or if you can skip and return back to the questions and all. Because if you knew all these details, then you’ll get an overall idea of how the exam will be! And chances are you’ll not panic asking for anyone about these doubts at the time of an exam.
You’ll have to know that NCLEX uses the Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) format. This simply means no two tests are identical. Based on your performance from previous questions, the algorithm behind the exam generates new questions, which may be between a minimum of 75 to a maximum of 265. A candidate is valued to be passed if they stay above the pass line of a 95% confidence level.
Manage Your Stress
Getting anxiety is a good sign that you want to pass this exam! To keep stress away, try these simple methods. Prepare well for your exam, not studying enough will increase your stress of facing the exam, and may lead you to anxiety and panic attacks. Be well prepared, as well as get enough sleep before your exam, or this will affect your performance.
Do yoga to calm your mind and body. Not concentrate on your study 24/7, have some fun time with friends or family. Listen to calm music. Try a breathing exercise as this will instantly help you to calm yourself a bit. If you think caffeine and alcohol will help you to relieve before your exam, it’s not. Do avoid taking them before your exam. Understand that NCLEX is not that hard, many nurses crack it in their very first try, and you can do it too!
Understand Your Study Style and Make a Study Plan
Everyone’s way of understanding a thing is different, and we may have known our learning style too. If you understand ideas and points well with a visual representation, it’ll be better to draw out sketches to get your ideas more. Or, if you are an auditory listener, there will be relevant podcasts or YouTube lectures to help you out there.
Make a study plan based on your study style. Understand that you could not learn every study material in one day; it’s essential to study every day to remember them. Make goals and reward yourself if you achieve the goals. If you are a nurse with previous experience working in nursing clinics, then the chances are the experience may stand between your textbook based answers and logical answers. Understanding NCLEX is based on research and evidence-based data.
Practice Questions and Invest in Resources
Before your NCLEX exam, practice various NCLEX exam books and listen to multiple relevant podcasts and YouTube videos. Practicing more relevant questions will help you get an idea of what types of questions you can expect during your exam and how you can manage them to get the right answer. Study your portions, and take the exam. Look up how many questions you have answered correctly, how many are not, how you can improve, and practice again and again. Talk with other nurses who have cleared their NCLEX exam to know how they have achieved this goal and what measures they have taken for this.
Studying books and revising them isn’t all you can do to clear your NCLEX exam, remembering these things will surely help you to relax at the last moment. Tension is common, but a proper 8-hour sleep will keep your mind fresh and calm. Bring water and snacks to your locker in case you choose to take a break during your exam. Check if you have gathered everything for the exam and keep them all in your bag that you’re planning to take with you. Arrive early to the exam center, just in case to avoid any traffic block or anything else. Put gas in your car before your exam. Have a positive mindset, and believe you can clear the exam!