Is the Nursing Licensure Exam effective? - page 4

I'm posting this here, rather than the NCLEX board because I wanted the opinion of seasoned nurses, and the NCLEX board is primarily visited by students. Spend a day on the NCLEX board and you'll... Read More

  1. by   Klimpys
    Quote from OnlybyHisgraceRN
    What can change? Having simulation where GN can actually be tested on how to do certain procedures on sim men along with taking the written exam. We should have both written and clinical aspects of the exam.
    This could be an interesting concept, but I think it would depend on how it was administered. When I took my Nurse Aid I certification I had a written test and skills assessment test. I usually do not have test anxiety, but I admit to being a little freaked out. My class had heard horror stories of people failing because of forgetting one tiny detail, such as forgetting to lock the wheels on the bed when helping the "patient" (other test taker) out of the bed. We were given five random tasks (out of the 25+ we learned) to do such as washing hands properly, feeding "patient", mouth care, using bed pan, ambulating patient, etc...that were different from the other test taker. If we messed up we were not told until the very end that we failed. However, if we were towards the end of a task and we remembered we forgot to lock the bed wheels earlier and we admitted it to the teacher we could get checked off on it, as long as we had not moved on to the skill set that was different. Oh, and no trying to help the other student if you were lying there being her patient and you knew she just screwed up! No whispering, or trying to make eye gestures. The poor girl I was with knew she messed something up and was crying while she was attending to me. She must have fixed it because she passed.
  2. by   Double-Helix
    Quote from healthstar
    You stated: ? If a student passes the NCLEX, but feels their performance was terrible, is that a red flag?I don't understand how this can be a red flag!!! Reasons for feeling their performance was terrible:1.anxiety2. Reading other people's post about how hard nclex is and how some people are taking it for the 10th time.3. Low self-esteem or low confidence4.!!
    I understand that there are several reasons why someone might feel they didn't pass. However, if you walk out a testing thinking that you did horribly because the test was super hard, it does show a lack of confidence in your answers and a lack of confidence in your knowledge of the material. I suppose that, as long as they pass, it shouldn't really matter how you feel about your test, but it seems like a lot of students are graduating and taking the NCLEX without a thorough understanding of the material. Or at least feeling like they have a thorough understanding of the material, as evidenced by the lack of confidence following the exam. In my opinion, if a graduate is doubting his or her knowledge of the material that much, he or she may also doubt her knowledge and judgement in the clinical setting and exhibit lack of confidence, anxiety, etc. That would be the point that it's a red flag.
  3. by   melmarie23
    There are times when I leave my job and wonder if I could have done anything different. If I had missed something. Or a plethora of other "what ifs?" I dont necessarily think that is my not having enough knowledge or judgement in the clinical setting or makes me any less of a nurse. It is though what makes me human and makes me continually reassess myself as a RN and able to admit that there is always room for growth. Expert RNs are not made right after graduation and passing the boards. That comes from a lot of time and with a lot of experience. And even then, they are not a "true" expert. There is always something new to learn or to see.
  4. by   classicdame
    Seasoned nurses have no idea what NCLEX is like now. It changes regularly. The emphasis is on critical thinking, so if the nurse can utilize that on a test they should be able to do so in person. You learn by doing anyway.
  5. by   tokmom
    Quote from OCNRN63
    IIRC, back then you had to wait 6mo. to retest. I don't think I could have survived a second go-round with that.

    In a way, I feel sorry for new grads. They're bombarded with which study plan is better: Kaplan? Saunders? LaCharity? I remember briefly looking over a few things, but I don't remember really studying. There wasn't anything out there to help you prepare.

    I agree with aky. Sitting there with hundreds of people in a huge auditorium for two days was indeed a rite of passage.
    Yep, those were the days. You couldn't even use the bathroom unless it was dire emergency and then they went with you.
    I remember being on breaks and seeing people crying in the corners of the lobby thinking they failed and it was only day 1 !!
  6. by   OnlybyHisgraceRN
    I think at the end of the day we can all agree that a written or CAT exam does not determine how great or bad a nurse is going to be. Only time will tell... either they will sink or swim.

    So far as feeling bad after the exam.... I think it is a normal response. After each LPN and RN exam I felt that I failed and ended up crying. However, I passed both times. In a clinical setting I don't cry if I feel that I could have done something better, I'm as cool as a cumber. Apples and oranges. NCLEX is nursing in Pearsvonvue world, nursing is nursing in the real world.
  7. by   Hygiene Queen
    I was disturbed by the NCLEX.
    It took me far longer to drive to the testing site than it took me to take the exam.
    I was prepared for the "hardest test ever" and found it ridiculously easy.
    I, too, managed it in 45 minutes with 75 questions.
    Was that what I had busted my butt for?
    What did it prove?
    Could anyone have passed this test?
    My fiance thought different. He thought it was more about busting your butt and studying until your brain bleeds in order to have the privilege to sit. Period. And that whether is was "hard" or not was a moot point.
    I don't know about that, but I found more satisfaction in passing my hemodynamics and shock exams than I did the NCLEX.
    I guess I wanted an exam that was really really rough so I could say, "Yes! I did it! It was the toughest exam in the whole wide world! I'm not stupid! I dood it!"
    I didn't get that ego feed I must have been (pathetically) craving.
    I got no math and maybe a drug question... wow.
    I don't remember any questions from my exam. I remember putting stuff in order, but common sense pulled that off.
    Maybe I just have a chip on my shoulder and wanted some sort of validation that I was a very smart person.
    That's my honest take on my experience with the NCLEX, anyway.
    By the way, I am anonymous here, so I will tell you how I feel about it, but I keep it to myself in real life.
    I know people who find the NCLEX very hard. Maybe they got harder questions? But I'm not going to say, "How could you not pass? It's soooooooo easy!" even though I may wonder.
    And, while I do read the NCLEX forum, I don't answer.
    I thinks it's for the best.
  8. by   yuzzamatuzz
    The current NCLEX is very different from the old test and is not based off of how many questions you got right and wrong out of 75 random questions. If you answer a question correctly, the computer throws you a more difficult question. If you answer that correctly, it throws you an even harder one. If you answer a question incorrectly, it gives you an easier one. It statistically figures out what level of "difficulty" you can answer. If you are well above or well below the acceptable level, the computer will shut off after 75 questions because it is statistically certain where you stand. If it is not certain, it will continue to ask questions to get a larger sample size. When the computer finally is certain of your abilities, you should be answering about one question wrong for every question right (one wrong, one right, one wrong, one right, etc). This is why so many people feel like they failed. I'm not bothered by people feeling this way at all because most people are not used to taking a test and answering only 50% correct. I'm also not bothered by people only having to answer 75-275 questions. Back in the day when there were paper tests, the questions were pre-determined and random. The computer now analyzes the difficulty of the questions the person can answer and interacts accordingly as that person is taking the test. Because of this, it is more efficient and in theory gives the same results in a shorter amount of time. Just because the old test was longer does not mean it was better. I was very prepared for the NCLEX and finished in 75 questions, but that was by far the most difficult 75 questions of my life. We've all taken the NCLEX in some form, and I don't think it has ever been or ever will be anything but a very difficult test.
  9. by   nurseprnRN
    aky, did you take your boards in that big convention center in phoenix with me? i had just moved there from a new england state (what was i thinking?) and they told me to bring a sweater and i thought they were out of their minds, it was a hunnert and ten or more outdoors.

    i brought the sweater the second day. and i was working evenings months later when i got my results.
  10. by   dudette10
    Yuzzmatuzz, thanks for your post explaining CAT-based exams. Whether you found it ridiculously easy or ridiculously hard, it's important to keep in mind that everyone who passes gets about 50% of the answers wrong.

    ETA: I personally found it ridiculously difficult. There were meds I had never even heard of, and I didn't think that was possible or realistic considering that my pharm class covered every drug class in our textbook. Nope, the names of the meds didn't even tickle the furthest reaches of my memory.
  11. by   subee
    I don't have the opportunity to work with any new grads. But the NCLEX was obviously much too easy in my day (the 80's) because I have to work with some people who actually make be cringe because they are so intelletually "unsophisticated".
    I wish they'd make it harder.
  12. by   tothepointeLVN
    Quote from dudette10
    Yuzzmatuzz, thanks for your post explaining CAT-based exams. Whether you found it ridiculously easy or ridiculously hard, it's important to keep in mind that everyone who passes gets about 50% of the answers wrong.
    Actually not true. It is possible to answer every question correct but the computer can't shut down until the minimum # of questions has been reached. So someone who has it shuts off at the minimum has answered AT LEAST 50% correct ( though I've heard the actual figure as being 67% as the passing standard from someone who writes questions for the NCLEX) but theres a good chance they have answered far more than 50% in order for the the computer to not have any doubt as to their passing standard

    When it shuts off at the minimum and you fail that mean the computer realized there wasn't enough questions left for you to be able to answer enough questions at the minimum competency level to pass.

    The NCLEX is about assessing safety more than anything else. It wants to know are you minimally competent to be an entry level nurse.
  13. by   stablesystole
    Quote from HeartsOpenWide
    Those that pass with 75 questions get the hardest of the hard questions, it's not a "potluck". Imagine a lateral line, the pass line. Imagine everyone starting out at the passing line at question #1. If you get it correct you move farther above the line and the next question is harder, and so on for every correct question. If you get the question wrong, you drop below the pass line and get an easy "killer"question; a question that doesn't matter in real nursing because your not proving your knowledgeable to answer questions that matter . The HURST review lady said that if you think you failed and it felt like the hardest test ever, you probably passed because you were in the really hard passing questions.I passed the NCLEX with 75 questions and it took me an hour and a half. I walked out worried that I didn't pass because I didn't think it was as hard as people were making it out to be. I did pass though. I also graduated with honors and raised my GPA in nursing school while most dropped. It's a test filled with anxiety...That aside, the NCLEX does not determine a "good" nurse, it is mearly a test of the MINIMUM competency required to be a's the people that fail several times before passing tha worry me...

    (sorry for any typos, I am on my phone)
    I think this is generally true. Passing (or failing) at 75 questions means that your answer trend is so far past the curve that the test has no doubts left about what your scoring level is.
    I walked out at 75 confident that I'd passed, but that was only because I went in knowing some details about the structure and level of questions that occupy the passing level. Holy multiple-multiples batman, I thought half of the test was select all that apply questions about setting priorities in patient loads.