To everyone who's about to take the NCLEX

Nurses New Nurse


I just got finished talking with a friend who's about to take the NCLEX. I told her these things, and I'll share them with you.

1. Dress in sweats, or something comfy.

2. Eat well, but no greasy stuff, before you go. Easy on the coffee.

3. Practice questions? Do them like you're testing. Follow the same routine. When you go, do that same routine.

4. Know how to prioritize your patients.

5. The moment you are finished, you will probably feel like you failed. You more than likely passed. SAVE yourself the anguish. Relax.... I drove myself nuts until I found out....

6. Use the earplugs.

7. Get in your zone when you are there.

8. Don't get frazzled by questions you think you don't know. You are fully capable of making an educated guess if need be.

9. Be prepared for a 265 question test.

10. Low scores on practice tests don't necessarily mean you don't know your stuff. Most people score low....

11. Most of all, be confident. Avoid situations that will stress you out before the exam.

12.Find where you are testing BEFORE the day of the test. Go right to the door of the center.

I wish you all the best.


10 Posts

I have a couple of ??'s. THey give you ear plugs??? Is it true that randomly people are chosen to take a 265 question test even if they pass in 75 questions? How often are they given? I live in KY, and graudate in December, how soon after should I take my test? I will be starting in the NICU on Jan. 26. Thanks!!


89 Posts

Specializes in ED, Forensic, Long-term care.

You can have ear plugs if you want them. In my case the room was very quiet and I did not need them.

As far as random tests of 265 questions: that is untrue. Every person taking the NCLEX will get about 50% of the questions right and 50% wrong. Where the demarcation line is (the dividing line between right and wrong) is what determines whether you pass or fail in the end. NCLEX has a baseline that is the equivalent of the minimum number of questions to pass at the application and analysis level at which you can be a safe practitioner as a new nurse. Knowledge and comprehension level quesions are on the test, but are not passing level questions. It is assumed you know and understand the material. What NCLEX wants to know is this: can you apply what you have learned through the critical thinking process.

If your demarcation line falls above their baseline: you pass. If your demarcation line falls below: you don't pass. If you take the whole alloted five hours and don't finish, they look at the last 60 questions. You have to get all 60 questions right, otherwise you don't pass.

If you know the strategies for answering NCLEX style questions, you stand a good chance of passing. You need to know Maslow and how to apply it. Pain is not a physical need, it is considered to be psychosocial. You also need to know Erickson. Look at the choices of answer: is it a mixture of assessment and implementation? Always make sure there is an assessment, don't try to implement something before there is an assessment. The assessment may be in the question, or it may be in the answer. Always eliminate wrong choices in order to get to the right one. Is it a priority question? Who's the least stable of the patients listed? Is it a delegation question? RN's cannot delegate teaching, nursing assessment, or evaluation.

Know how to position patients for tests and for after tests.

Know airborne, droplet, and contact precautions: and what type of diseases qualify for which. There may be a combination.

Know developmental levels and vaccination schedules.

Much of the NCLEX is basic nursing skills and knowledge. Take your time and read the questions thoroughly: there is often more information in the question than you need, make sure you really know what the question is asking before you try to answer. Many people are so nervous, they rush through the questions without understanding what the question is really asking!


One last thing: according to Pearson, 84% of US educated first-time test takers pass the NCLEX first time around. Those who do not pass, generally speaking, are not using the correct strategies for test taking.

I passed it in 75 questions and about 75 minutes. You can do it too. Good luck- Denise Covington, RN


285 Posts

You offer great advice Denise. I was not using the correct strategies when I first took NCLEX and had severe test anxiety not knowing what to expect. I am doing a Kaplan review now and it explains everything you went over.


113 Posts

I got my Auth. To Test today... I can take it as soon as tomorrow morning at 9am!!! I'm thinking of scheduling on Thurs. I'm TERRIFIED!!!!! :eek:


33 Posts

How long can you work on the floor after you graduate before you take the boards or how long will they let you work on the floor if you're not passing the boards?

A fellow student nurse asked me that question yesterday and I have no idea?


559 Posts

You can't, to my knowledge, work as an RN until you get your license. You can work as an intern, however. Hospital policies vary. I'd check with the state board first to be safe.


162 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg.

I think that depending on your state you can work as a GN (Graduate Nurse) for a certain period of time while you're waiting to test or waiting for results. Also, some places let you work on a permit which you can apply for through your state board of nursing when you apply for your license. The time that you are allowed to work under these conditions vary on the state and/or institution. Hope that helps.

Katnip, RN

2,904 Posts

It does depend on your state. It also depends on the facility where you want to work, whether they'll let you work as a GN.


190 Posts

I work in KS. They allow you to work for 90 days as a graduate nurse efore you take boards. Here you don't even have to get a permit. It worked great for me


21 Posts

as a second year nursing student i graduate in 9 months and would like to work in the nicu how have the newly graduated rn's get into nicu's so fast? please let me know that is where i would really like to work thanks


559 Posts

Two of my friends who graduated in May are working in NICU. We live in Arizona.

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