Nclex tips I wish someone would've told me!

  1. 5
    Ok! So I just found out I passed nclex (round of applause). Hands down best feeling ever. Especially because I know what it feels like to fail. This was my second time around. I want to tell you future test takers what to do and what NOT to do!

    First things first be prepared. Don't go in with wishful thinking that things you don't know won't be on there. They will. Don't wish for no SATA's. if you're lucky, you will get a ton be that means you know your stuff! My first time I went in after a week of studying and got all 265. I was not prepared. Know you're disorders/disease processes. Think broad. KNOW YOUR LABS!!!!! Know meds... Again think broad. My advice is go through each body system and base your reviews around them. DO QUESTIONS! Millions. I didn't do a review course just books and the most helpful ATI. would focus on a system and do questions from books and ATI after.

    The night before the test. Relax. Watch tv, read a book. Whatever you find relaxing do it! Theday of testing, have someone close to you drive. But don't go with someone who is also testing. This was one of my mistakes! It makes you so anxious when they get done first!!! Also, don't freak out I'd someone gets done before you! I did this and I think it's why I failed!! I wa the first one to sit and one by one others were leaving and I lost it.

    Well best of luck and I hope this helps someone!!! Study study study!!!
    jmiraRN, buspar, alysonp, and 2 others like this.

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights: Student Edition newsletter.

  2. 11 Comments...

  3. 1
    Very good advice here. I will bookmark this for later review.
    GrnTea likes this.
  4. 0
    Thanks for the advice. And congratulations!!
  5. 7
    I find myself cutting and pasting this a lot Hope everyone sees it!

    Focus a teeny bit less on the individual data points/facts/values and pay a lot closer attention to nursing process and critical thinking. You're aiming to have a better sense of the big picture. There's a reason for that.

    With the increase in SATA questions to assess your ability to think critically, that's what should guide your whole thinking process. Sure, you need to know what a normal (or roughly normal) range for WBC or whatnot is. And in regular work --AND in NCLEX-- it's even more important to be able to recognize an abnormal value and think about what to do about it, including, perhaps "Get more information." Or to recognize a normal finding and look for other information to identify a problem (including deciding if there even is one).

    Whatever else you do read, make sure it gives you the rationales for why the wrong choices are wrong as well as the right ones, right. This is where most people fall down-- they pick an answer that is factually true but is not the best answer for the situation as it would be assessed by a good RN.
    NCLEX items are developed in part from knowing what errors new grads make and how. They tend to be of two kinds: inadequate information, and lack of knowledge (these are not the same thing). The goal of NCLEX is to pass candidates who will be acceptably SAFE in practice as NURSES. So-- they want to know what the prudent NURSE will do.


    1) When confronted c 4 answers, you can usually discard 2 out of hand. Of the remaining two,
    -- always choose the answer that (in priority order) makes the patient safer or gets you more information. "Can you tell me more about that?" "What do you know about your medication?" "What was the patient's lab result?"
    -- NEVER choose the answer that has you turf the situation to another discipline-- chaplain, dietary, MD, social work, etc. It's often tempting, but they want to know about what the NURSE would do. See "always..." above.


    2) "Safer" might mean airway, breathing, circulation; it might mean pull the bed out of the room and away from the fire; it might mean pressure ulcer prevention; or improving nutrition; or teaching about loose scatter rugs ... Keep your mind open. It might also mean "Headed down a better pathway to health." For example, while telling a battered woman who has chosen not to leave her partner that "studies show that he will do it again" is factually true (and that's why this wrong answer is often chosen), the better answer is to acknowledge that you hear her choice to stay and say "now let's think of a plan to keep you safe." This doesn't turn her off from listening to you, so she will trust you, acknowledges her right to choose, and helps her along a path to better safety.


    3) Read carefully. If they ask you for a nursing intervention answer, they aren't asking for an associated task or action which requires a physician plan of care. So in a scenario involving a medication, the answer would NOT be to hang the IV, regulate it, or chart it; it would not be to observe for complications. It WOULD be to assess pt knowledge of the med/tx plan and derive an appropriate patient teaching plan. Only that last one is nursing-independent and a nursing intervention.


    Again, they want NURSING here.


    4) The day before the test, do not study. Research shows that your brain does not retain crap you stuff into it at the last minute-- musicians learning a new piece play the first part on Monday, the second part on Tuesday, and the third part on Weds. Then they do something else entirely on Thursday; meanwhile, behind the scenes, the brain is organizing the new info into familiar cubbyholes already stuffed with music, putting it ready for easy access. On Friday, the whole piece works much better.
    What this translates for in test-taking land is this: The day before the test, you go to a museum or a concert, go take a hike, read a trashy novel, make a ragout, do something else entirely. Take a small glass of wine, soak in a nice hot bath in a darkened tub with a few candles on the sink, get a nice night's sleep.


    5) On your way out the door in the morning, open the refrigerator door and read the mayonnaise jar label. Do what it says: Keep cool, do not freeze. Have fun, you almost-nurse, you!


    SE_BSN_RN, splendid, ricannurse13, and 4 others like this.
  6. 0
    Quote from GrnTea
    I find myself cutting and pasting this a lot Hope everyone sees it!

    3) Read carefully. If they ask you for a nursing intervention answer, they aren't asking for an associated task or action which requires a physician plan of care. So in a scenario involving a medication, the answer would NOT be to hang the IV, regulate it, or chart it; it would not be to observe for complications. It WOULD be to assess pt knowledge of the med/tx plan and derive an appropriate patient teaching plan. Only that last one is nursing-independent and a nursing intervention.


    Again, they want NURSING here.


    Thank you for the info! Could you go over number 3, about the questions concerning nursing interventions. What exactly are they asking for? Correct me if I am wrong, but they want a nursing intervention. Something that includes nursing assessment, or a nursing plan. Also, they are not asking for something that requires a physicians invention, ie it is something a nurse does alone. I am restating just to make sure I am on the same page; please correct me if I am wrong.

    Could you explain the part: "So in a scenario involving a medication, the answer would NOT be to hang the IV, regulate it, or chart it; it would not be to observe for complications". These seem like items a nurse would do? What makes it something I would not choose?

  7. 0
    Hello GrnTea!
    Just wanted to say, Awesome post. Thank you, Ill try to keep this in mind for later review (when my time comes)...
  8. 0
    A big Congrats to Nursing is Love- thank you for your post
  9. 0
    Quote from swansonplace
    Thank you for the info! Could you go over number 3, about the questions concerning nursing interventions. What exactly are they asking for? Correct me if I am wrong, but they want a nursing intervention. Something that includes nursing assessment, or a nursing plan. Also, they are not asking for something that requires a physicians invention, ie it is something a nurse does alone. I am restating just to make sure I am on the same page; please correct me if I am wrong.

    Could you explain the part: "So in a scenario involving a medication, the answer would NOT be to hang the IV, regulate it, or chart it; it would not be to observe for complications". These seem like items a nurse would do? What makes it something I would not choose?
    The concept here is that we are already legally obligated to implement parts of the medical plan of care, and NCLEX assumes you're going to do that. So if a physician prescribes an IV medication, it is assumed that the nurse will hang it, regulate it, and chart it. Those are things that nurses do, yes, and they require knowledge to do properly, but they are not something that a nurse does independently. So in your first paragraph above, you are perfectly correct.

    To answer the question in your second paragraph, the reason you would not choose those if asked to identify nursing interventions is because they are not nursing interventions. Tasks that nurses do are not necessarily nursing interventions. Nursing interventions in that example might include asking about prior allergic reactions, selecting and assessing the IV site before choosing equipment and initiating it, teaching the patient about the medication and why s/he is receiving it, and teaching the patient about what you will be observing for complications so s/he can notify you if s/he notices any symptoms, that s/he might be taking an oral form of the medication later and to be sure to complete it as prescribed.... Does that make sense? None of those are part of the physician prescription ("Randomycin 300mg IV q 6 hours") but they are part of nursing's responsibility as nurses.
    Hope that helps.
  10. 1
    Awesome!!!!
    GrnTea likes this.
  11. 1
    This is amazing! I am a couple of years away from NCLEX country but I will keep this in mind!
    GrnTea likes this.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top