6 Tips to Consider When Taking the NCLEX

Staff Writer
May 3, 2022

The National Council Licensure Examination sounds scary, and it’s the last big hurdle for nursing students to overcome, but if you strategize well, the exam shouldn’t frighten you. Here are a few tips to help you take the board exam with confidence.

1. Lean on Your Critical Thinking Skills

While your nursing school exams may test you on your knowledge of course material, the NCLEX is designed to test your application of nursing concepts. This standardized test is given in an adaptive format which will assess your competencies of nursing concepts and topics. While it’s important to memorize information like lab values, it’s also important that you’re able to exercise your critical thinking and clinical judgement skills.

2. Pick the Best of the Worst

As you’ve probably experienced in nursing school clinicals, sometimes no answer to a situation sounds right, but try to consider which one sounds more right. If you dislike all of the answer options, choose the option that you dislike the least.

3. Remember There’s a Precedent for Everything

There is always a doctor’s order for all options presented. If one option sounds totally wrong on one question, don’t discount it as always wrong. If the same option appears in a later question, it may in fact be the right answer for that scenario. Use your critical thinking skills to work through each scenario individually.

4. Focus on the Client

When you imagine yourself in the scenarios created on the NCLEX, your imagination can grow, and you gut instinct may lead you to try a variety of treatments. The only information you have, however, is what’s listed right in front of you. Look for answers that focus on the client in the question, and choose the best answer for solving the client’s problem.

5. Consider Children Are Unique

If you’ve taken nursing classes or worked in pediatric settings, you know children require certain approaches and procedures, which can throw you off as you’re completing the NCLEX. With each question, consider every client to be an adult, unless otherwise directed.

6. Pay Attention to Ages

On a similar note, if the question mentions a client’s specific age, there is a reason for doing so. Look for the answer that goes along with something unique to the age of the client. As you answer the question, be thinking about why knowing the age is important, as that can direct you toward the best answer.


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