This goes to my good friend Jamie Lane who will be taking the Nursing Licensure Examinations on July 2-3, 2011. Good luck to you and to the rest of the 126, 826 future registered nurses.
Exactly one year ago, I was one of those agitated nursing graduates who wanted to make their names longer by adding an R and an N. I was neither the best student in my college class nor during the review, but I made it to the list of successful examinees in one take. I did not do much to prepare, but I'm sure I did enough. I know there is nothing much to share, but who knows, the following list might lead you to the oathtaking ceremony at SMX:
1. Accept reality
With three days before the big brain-drain day, accept that you can never learn everything. The normal values in your bedroom wall will remain where it is because you have just ignored what's written the whole review period. However, never doubt the answers that you are very sure of. The choices might be tricky, but never let your confidence falter.
2. Master the art of test-taking strategies
Techniques like choosing the longest answer, the one with the most information must be the right answer, a process of elimination, 'All of the Above' is always the right choice, and never choose 'None of the Above' are just some of the strategies that helped me pull off the NLE. You are not to use it on all 500-items, but when the time comes that you really do not know the answer, at least you have some strategies to use.
3. Listen, but do not depend solely, on your review center
They are centers for RE-viewing, a second take of what we have learned for the past four years. If you don't have anything to look back on or remember; you don't need a review center. You need another four years.
4. Listen to your review center, but believe only half of what they say
Do not waste your energy recording/writing down/memorizing the 'test answers' they give during Final Coaching; even if they claim that those are the actual test questions, believe me, they ultimately do not come out.
5. Practice shading
Learn that no amount of genius can calculate the weight of your hand against the Scantron paper: your license depends on gravity alone, and except for defying gravity, the next best thing to do is practice.
6. Do not alter you circadian rhythm
This applies specifically at the eve of the board exam; if you are used to studying until 11PM and hitting the sack at 12 midnight, follow this routine so you wont feel uneasy at the exam day itself.
7. Bring the right kind of food during the exam
This is no field trip, so better keep your oily junk foods; besides you would not want to put oil on you test paper, would you? Bring enough sweets, aside from not wanting to stain the Scantron paper with chocolate, too much carbohydrates will doze you off, and when that happens, your dreams of becoming an RN dozes off with you. Bring something sour or bitter like tamarind or coffee-flavored candy, this will wake you up when you feel like sleeping over Test II.
8. Always keep calm
At this time when you have nothing to count on but yourself, keep it cool and do not let anything or anyone make you nervous. Remember that you are not the only one who's having butterflies on your stomach, there are at least 126, 826 others feeling the same way.
9. Do not cheat
Keep your dignity as you answer each test item. Do not let a mere 500-item examination destroy everything you have worked for. A cheater do not in any way deserve to be included in the pool of registered nurses.
Pray before, during, and after the examinations; if God has really called you for the profession, there is no way you would not make it.
Congratulations in advance to all the hopefuls. Remember that as nurses, we have our own destiny to chart, literally and figuratively. If unfortunately, you did not make it this year, keep your spirit, there are still a lot of examinations ahead. Above and beyond, the board rating is nothing but a number.