Is The NCLEX That Hard?

  1. Boy I really had my eyes opend today. A co-worker put on an NCLEX review for the students she teaches at a local nursing school. She asked me to review dosage calculations with the students and I agreed to do so.
    After i did my bit one of the other instructors brought in her nephew (Tim, not his real name) who is a graduate student in mechanical engineering at the university of Wisconsin.
    Tim has zero medical background. He told me that he has never even taken a first aid course. I wached him get passing scores on 3 NCLEX practice exams from popular NCLEX prep books. Then he told the students how he did it. He explained what he called "test taking rules". Basic things like the longest answer wins, odd man out, same word in question and answer and others. He then gave them practice exams that were jibberish but demostrated his rules. Then they all took practice exams and scored very well (of course they just graduated from nursing school). Tim claims that he can teach anyone to pass any test. He claims that he has taught his fellow engineering students to pass practice NCLEX as a demonstration.
    WHat do you guys think?
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  3. by   AuntieRN
    That is how the NCLEX prep class we were made to take at school this summer taught. She taught strategies on how to answer the questions. She taught us it was not as important to know the materials ie: drugs, diseases etc as it was to know what the question was asking and how to delete the ones you knew were wrong. To me the class was a waste of time and money I could have used to really study...but...I guess it worked as I passed the first time...
  4. by   bshaw96
    I'm not sure if I'd find that demonstration interesting or insulting?

    That being said, I pretty much passed my NCLEX the same way. Of the 75 questions I answered, it seemed 50 of them were OB/GYN questions. We only had about 9 weeks of OB, and it was not covered in much detail, and was done almost a year before I took the NCLEX. I did not recall that much info., and pretty much prayed my way thru it. I just marked out the answers that seemed the least likely, and guessed the rest. I do remember thinking it was easier than the LPN boards I had taken a year before though. But maybe part of that was the experience I had gained?
  5. by   carolinapooh
    All of which just proves to me that standardized tests are basically jokes.

    But if you're not good at standardized tests, you're shafted. I wonder if a lot of folks who have NCLEX problems are just not good with standardized tests.
    Last edit by carolinapooh on Dec 20, '06
  6. by   RN007
    So how can I contact "Tim" and learn these strategies? I know some but would like to hear what he knows ....
  7. by   carolinapooh
    Quote from RN007
    So how can I contact "Tim" and learn these strategies? I know some but would like to hear what he knows ....
  8. by   AfloydRN
    The practice test was not at all like my board exam. Tests all suck. Just do a review CD or class and you will be fine.
  9. by   clemmm78
    You know, many people, including myself, criticized the Quebec order of nurses when they introduced the simulation exams instead of the full multiple choice RN exams I wrote. Maybe they are further ahead with their thinking than many of us are willing to admit.
  10. by   Tweety
    Those kinds of games would have really confused me. I wouldn't focus too much on that, but perhaps keep them in mind for those questions you absolutely can not answer.

    I would rather see nurses actually know their stuff rather than play guessing games.
  11. by   morte
    this is nothing new, when i was in NS in the early '80's...we were told that someone had sat for and passed the nclex, having never set foot in prove his point that it is test taking skill, not knowledge that will get you thru.....i happen to be a very good test taker, as long as it is the standard x choice variety.....which does prove LITTLE about how much you know....but is the easiest to adm and correct/grade
    Last edit by morte on Jan 1, '07
  12. by   llg
    Here is another way to look at it:

    The NCLEX (and similar exams) test your problem-solving and logical thinking skills. They do NOT emphasize the memorization of facts related to nursing. People who can look at the test questions and eliminate a couple of choices based on logic alone (not nursing facts) have a big advantage in getting the right answers and passing the test. They may have less factual knowledge about nursing, but they have the ability to use their general knowledge to figure out the best answer. Those logical reasoning skills will help them to be successful nurses because they will be able to use those same mental skills to solve real-life nursing problems.

    On the other hand, people who don't have those test-taking skills and/or ability to distinguish between good and bad possible answers on a test may have some weaknesses as a nurse in their ability to figure out the correct actions in situations that are new or don't relate directly to the factual nursing knowledge they have learned.

    So ... it may be OK that success on the NCLEX (and similar tests) is not 100% dependent on the factual nursing knowledge one possesses. The ability to successfully identify the correct actions when they don't have all the relevant information is a legitimate thing to include in such a test. Frankly, I would rather receive my nursing care from a really smart person who can do the right thing even without all the factual information than someone who needs all the factual information in order to know what to do.

    Remember also: A person is not allowed to take the NCLEX unless they graduate from an approved nursing program. Graduating from the program ensures that the person has a baseline of factual information. That provides one level of protection for the public. The ability to pass the NCLEX does not need to duplicate that level of protection. It provides an additional layer of protection the SHOULD approach the testing process in a different way and test different skills than what is common in the schools.
    Last edit by llg on Dec 31, '06
  13. by   dijaqrn
    kaplan uses many of these same techniques in their reviews....
    Example; you are asked an assessment question and 2 of the answers are interventions! You ditch those two and then have a 50-50 chance of having the right answer........ They also teach you to avoid answers with words like never and always. They're great for technique if you haven't already figured out the rules but for content I'd use Lippincott(new) for those pesky alternate format questions and Exam Cram. Saunders is just too wordy!!!!!!!
    (sorry Suzanne).
  14. by   TheCommuter
    While solid test-taking techniques will help you get through the exam, it is still of the most absolute importance to possess the background nursing knowledge and judgment.