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Posts Tagged ‘NCLEX-RN’


Gauging Your NCLEX Readiness

Written by The NCLEX Team. Posted in NCLEX Nursing Articles

How do you know if you are ready to take the NCLEX-RN?  You have worked so hard to get where you are, you’ve studied until your eyes burn, you’ve obsessively asked every nurse you see about his or her experience with the test, and you still doubt that you are prepared.  Your main goal in life at this moment is to pass the NCLEX.  Period.  Yet there’s a little voice in your head telling you that you need just a little more time to study, a few more study guides, or a few more textbooks before you take the plunge and make that appointment to take the test.  Now you are wondering if there’s any way at all to know for sure that you’re ready to take this test and be successful.

The first thing you need to realize is that every person is different and there is no one list of criteria you need to meet that will guarantee your success on the test.  There are, however, certain things you can do to build up your confidence to the point where you are ready to go.

1. Take practice exams with feedback and rationales.

One of the best ways to determine your readiness is to take NCLEX style practice exams that give you not only feedback but also the rationale behind every possible answer.  These tests will generally score the test to give you an idea of where you stand, and they will help you to study as you read why each answer is either right or wrong.  This is, by far, one of the best ways to prepare for the test.

2. Know the nursing process and how to apply it.

If you know the steps of the nursing process and how to use those steps to determine which answer is correct, you are well on your way to being ready.  Using this process can help you correctly answer questions which you at first thought to be beyond your capabilities.

3. Complete a good, reputable review.

This speaks for itself.  The key here is to complete the review, not just look over the material when the mood strikes and hope you glean some knowledge in the process.  Choosing a good review and completing it is a vital step in ensuring that you pass the NCLEX.

4. Know basic values and facts.

Even though the NCLEX-RN is more about critical thinking skills and the application of the nursing process, there are still some hard facts you will need to know.  Normal ranges for basic lab values, major drug classifications and indications, and normal vital sign ranges are just a few of the facts and figures you probably want to memorize.  You will then use this knowledge as the foundation on which you apply the nursing process to answer questions about basic nursing scenarios.

5. Make sure you application for licensure is complete.

Each state has its own list of requirements for RN licensure, and there are usually a number of forms you need to file or continuing education credits you need to have before your application will be accepted.  Having all of this done before you take the exam will ensure that you get your license as soon as you pass the test.  Imagine how disappointed you will be if you find that your license is going to be delayed by several days or weeks.  Completing the application process beforehand will eliminate any unforeseen obstacles and rid you of unwanted stress.

Once you have accomplished these five things, chances are you will find that you feel a lot better prepared to take the NCLEX.  Remember, the key to it all is to find a good review program that will not only prepare you for the test but will also give you the confidence you need to pass the NCLEX and start your new career.


How Much Studying Is Too Much?

Written by The NCLEX Team. Posted in NCLEX Nursing Articles

Believe it or not, it is possible to study too much.  The human brain is like any other organ in your body – it’s built to work hard, but it also needs to rest.  Periods of rest between periods of studying your NCLEX review will boost your ability to retain information as your brain works behind the scenes, assimilating data and storing it into retrievable memory files.  If you are continuously concentrating on facts and figures while consciously trying to memorize things, your brain’s primary focus will be on what you are currently doing and older information will be lost.

The question then becomes “How can I tell if I’m studying too much?”  Here are a few questions to assess whether or not you’re off track in your study habits.

1. When was the last time you even saw the great outdoors?

Fresh air and exercise are a great way to energize your body while giving your brain a chance to file, store, and recharge.  If you can’t even remember where your front door is located, chances are good you’re hitting the books a little too hard.

2. Do you recite normal lab values in your sleep?

You’re probably thinking you wish you could do that!  If you do find yourself talking in your sleep, having extreme insomnia, or having poor sleep quality, you may be studying too much and putting too much stress on your brain.  If you’re looking for NCLEX tips, here’s a good one: Get enough sleep!  If you are having sleeping difficulties that don’t resolve, you may want to consider a visit your doctor.  It’s that important.

3. Does the pizza delivery guy have your address permanently programmed into his GPS?

As nurses and nursing students, we all know the importance of good nutrition.  And here comes another NCLEX tip: pizza does not qualify as good nutrition.  While you’re taking a necessary study break, make yourself a high-quality, nutrient dense meal.  The benefits to your body, you brain, and your overall attitude toward life are well worth it.

4. Does your family have to wear name tags so you can remember who they are?

Perhaps this is a bit of an exaggeration, but you know what I mean.  Even though you are working hard, studying that NCLEX review material until you know it inside and out, you still need to spend quality time with your family.  Studies show that hugging your significant other, spouse, children or even your dog or cat causes your brain to release endorphins that improve your mood and help to reduce stress.  I do not, however, recommend hugging your goldfish.  They’re slimy, they don’t hug back, and neither of you will enjoy the experience.

Work hard, study hard, but don’t forget to give your brain the rest it needs to relax and bit and recover from all of the studying you are doing.  Take an honest look at your schedule and your study habits and see if you may be studying too much.


Taking the NCLEX a Second Time

Written by The NCLEX Team. Posted in NCLEX Nursing Articles

Nobody wants to take the NCLEX-RN more than once.  In a perfect world, every candidate who took the test would pass with flying colors the first time around; in the real world that is not the case.  If you have already taken the test once and were unsuccessful, take heart.  You are definitely not alone. There are plenty of good nurses who will tell you that they, too, had to take the test more than once.

Knowing you are in good company, though, may be of little consolation as you try to work through your disappointment.  You may find yourself confused, unsettled, and even doubting your career choice.  However, before you start practicing your “Do you want fries with that?” speech, take a minute to reflect on your past testing experience.  Focus on your goals, work through your disappointment, and figure out what went wrong so, on your next attempt, you will be triumphant.

1.  Know the content.

That seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?  Yet we all know that the NCLEX-RN covers such a broad range of material that it is nearly impossible to know every detail about every organ system, disease process, and medication.  Perhaps the best you can do is to trust the knowledge you already have, study those areas where you know you are weakest, and find a good NCLEX review that covers it all.  Make sure your review has NCLEX type questions and a varied format to increase your retention.

2. Know the format.

In the past, the NCLEX-RN was strictly multiple choice.  In today’s testing centers, there are a variety of question types with different answer formats.  If you are not familiar with these, now is the time to get acquainted.  A good NCLEX review will cover not only the content of the test but also the various question and answer formats you will find on the test to give you the practice you need.

3. Know the rationale.

As you study practice questions, take the time to read the rationale for each and every possible answer.  Reading these rationales will broaden your scope of knowledge about that particular subject and will help to shape your thinking process.  Knowing how to think through a question plays a key role in passing the test.

4. Know the steps of the nursing process.

I cannot over-emphasize the importance of this.  We all know the steps of the nursing process are Assessment, Diagnosis, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation.  When looking at various scenarios, ask yourself if the assessment process is complete.  Then, what is the nursing diagnosis for this patient?  What are the possible interventions for this condition?  If you can apply this type of thinking to those questions you find to be most difficult, you can think your way through to a correct response.

5. Know that you are not a failure.

Never let discouragement convince you that you cannot do this.  You have studied hard, worked harder, and are capable and ready to meet this challenge.  Don’t give up, believe in yourself, and study.

Taking the NCLEX for a second time can be a daunting task, but if you arm yourself with the right tools, you can succeed.  Take a deep breath, pull out those books, find a great NCLEX review, and stay in the game.


Must Know Resume Tips for Nurses

Written by The NCLEX Team. Posted in NCLEX Nursing Articles

The US Department of Labor predicts increasing job growth for nurses for the next five years. The key to snagging one of these jobs is to have a professional resume that highlights your achievements, goals, education, experience and capabilities. These tips for nurses can help you produce a strong resume that will capture the attention of employers and land you an interview.

Some people choose to start their resume with a statement of their objectives. This step is optional but can help define your goals for a potential employer. An objective statement will include the position you are hoping to obtain and what skills you can offer the organization or company. This information may also be conveyed in a cover letter.

Add a section detailing your expertise in an easy-to-read bulleted list. Use power keywords instead of passive language. Employers often use computer searches to quickly scan resumes and using these specific phrases or buzzwords will increase the chances that an employer reviews your resume. Some useful keywords for nurses are critical care, clinical research, project management, quality improvement, trauma, oncology, managed care, case management, RN, nurse practitioner and community outreach.

Employers will look for a detailed review of your nursing history on your resume. Include the type of facility, your area of specialization and how many cases you have handled. If you are searching for an entry-level job and have no professional nursing experience, use the power keywords to describe the work you completed during clinical rotations or practicums.

Having experience is not always enough to land a job. Employers want to see that you will make a positive contribution to their workplace. Use your resume to detail specific contributions you have made in each of your positions. Include examples of going beyond your job description to provide extra care or special attention to a patient or the community, providing training, helping your employer pass accreditation or reorganizing services. Listing these experiences will show your potential employer that you are a valuable asset.

If you have taken time off from nursing and are hoping to get back in the field, divide your resume into two sections. List nursing experience first and follow with additional work experience. Although your nursing work is older, it should be at the forefront of your resume. Concentrate on adding as much detail as possible to the nursing section and only mention key points about your non-nursing experience.

Your resume should also include information about your academic achievements. Supplement basic education information with a description of any honors you have earned, including scholarships, fellowships or grants. Only list your GPA if it is above a 3.5. Include relevant classes and coursework. You may also detail your clinical rotations and licensure in this section.

Most importantly, your resume should be a positive reflection of your work, experience and capabilities. Your final copy should be flawless, with no typos or misspellings. Print your resume on heavy white or cream paper using high quality ink and double check for mistakes before sending it out to a potential employer. These tips will help you present the very best version of yourself to your future boss.

Need to pass the NCLEX?  We can help.


Knowing the NCLEX Format

Written by The NCLEX Team. Posted in NCLEX Test Taking Tips

When beginning your preparations for the NCLEX-RN examination, knowing what to expect during the examination will help to put your mind at ease.  When studying for the NCLEX-RN examination, there are many important factors to consider, including time limitations, how to sign up for the exam, eligibility requirements, cost of the examination and where the examination is conducted.

NCLEX-RN Eligibility Requirements
In order to apply to take the NCLEX-RN examination, you must first contact your state board of nursing and apply for licensure and eligibility to take the exam. The nursing board will contact the institution where you have studied nursing and confirm your credentials and eligibility for the examination. Once eligibility is granted by your state board of nursing, you then receive authorization to test. Once your authorization has been received, you may then register to take the test with Pearson VUE and pay the testing fee.

Cost of the NCLEX-RN Examination
The testing fee for the NCLEX-RN examination is $200, which you may pay online using a credit card. If you need to repeat the examination, you will need to pay the fee each time you take the test. Your state board of nursing may charge separate fees for the other components of your licensure, which you are obligated to pay in order to obtain a license to practice nursing in your state.

NCLEX-RN Examination Locations
To find the nearest NCLEX-RN examination location, visit the Pearson VUE website to locate a testing center. You will need to input your address and a radius to find a testing location. The default settings will display the nearest 5 testing centers from the address you entered into the system.

Signing Up for the NCLEX-RN Examination
Once you receive your eligibility confirmation from your state board of nursing and your authorization to test, do not hesitate in signing up for a seat to take the NCLEX-RN examination. Your eligibility has an expiration date and you must complete your examination before your authorization and eligibility expire. After you have registered with Pearson VUE and paid your examination fee, schedule your examination date and location. You may do this by registering online with Pearson VUE. Once you have a login identification and password, you may schedule your examination on their website.

Time Limitations on the NCLEX-RN Examination
You will have up to six hours to complete the NCLEX-RN examination, which can be anywhere from 75 to 265 questions, with two optional breaks. Pace yourself accordingly, as the computerized testing system does not allow you to go back to questions you have already completed.

Are you ready to start studying?  Check out our NCLEX-RN Review.


Why Video Learning Might Be Better for You

Written by The NCLEX Team. Posted in NCLEX Test Taking Tips

If individuals exhibit frustration due to not being able to retain information solely from reading, there is a good chance that they are learning the wrong way. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people recall 80 percent from seeing and doing. Supportive to this finding, the U.S. Federal Government recently discovered that 83 percent of what humans learn is from visual stimulation. Combined with this knowledge, individuals, as a whole, retain knowledge six times greater through this presentation versus instruction through spoken or written words.

What are “Visual Learners”?

Visual, or spatial, individuals learn through what they see, preferring an all-encompassed “big picture” through various pictorial means. An astonishing sixty-five percent of the population are defined as “visual learners”, a statistic reported within “Understanding Your Learning Styles”.[1]

Visual students learn best through models, books, printouts, demonstrations, charts, timelines, maps, color-coded graphs and electronic media, such as video. Essentially, visually appealing material presented within a lecture or other learning environment will capture the interest of a visual learner.

Facts and Characteristics Concerning the Visual Learner

All-encompassed facts about these individuals suggest they are naturals at the following:

• Remembering colors, printed names and details
• Memorizing people’s faces yet forgetting names
• Spelling, reading and proofreading
• Appreciating quiet surroundings
• Creating a well-matched ensemble
• Establishing mental pictures

The visual learner exhibits certain characteristics shared with other visually inspired peers. As a whole, they tend to read for pleasure, doing so rapidly. These persons require a quiet atmosphere for study, avoiding excessive movement and noise. Study sessions tend to extend into long sessions. Individuals also typically exhibit the following characteristics:

• Pay close attention to detail
• Maintain organized and tidy surroundings
• Experience difficulty with following long lectures
• Preference to personal note-taking versus printed information containing the same material
• Ability to recall information location on a page or in a book
• Frustration with the inability to take notes
• Extreme interest in reading material, including books and magazines

Visual Learners Seeking Licensure

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) has developed two examinations for nurses seeking licensure as either a registered nurse (RN) or practical nurse (PN). Although different in nature, the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN), both require some amount of NCLEX review prior to undertaking the exam.

Traditionally, textbooks have been the preferred means of presenting review material to students. However, because over half of the population are visual learners, potential RNs and PNs require an alternative to textbooks. To accommodate these learners, video lessons for NCLEX review are an ideal way to prepare oneself for the examination.


Aultman College. “Understanding Your Learning Styles” (2008). Retrieved from October 6, 2011.[1]


How to Effectively Answer NCLEX Questions

Written by The NCLEX Team. Posted in NCLEX Test Taking Tips

To advance in your nursing career you have to master the NCLEX. In order to conquer the exam you should know how to effectively answer the NCLEX questions. You can prepare by utilizing an effective NCLEX Review. Passing this test will enable you to get licensed so that you can practice as an entry-level nurse. So how can you effectively answer the NCLEX Questions?

The first step in preparing yourself for the exam is to know the types of questions to expect.

The NCLEX is a computer-sensitized test. The next question is always dependent on a previous question. If you answer the first question correctly, then the next question is relatively more difficult. If you answer the first question incorrectly, then the next question is relatively easier. It adapts to the test taker. Knowing this upfront will give you a great advantage.

The entire exam must be completed in five hours and there is no time limit for each question. With the test being automated, you cannot change your answers once you have submitted them.

How to Successfully Answer the Questions

It all comes down to how well you’ve studied for the exam. With the right NCLEX Review course and enough practice, you can develop the critical thinking techniques required to pass the NCLEX.

Here are some strategies when answering the questions:

  • Make sure you understand the question. If you are uncertain, try paraphrasing the question.
  • Answer the question first before looking at the options. Options may confuse you and throw you off track.
  • During the times when you have no immediate answer, look at the options and use the process of elimination.
  • Read options thoroughly for possible hints.
  • Look for target words that can help you identify the correct answer.
  • Remember, the NCLEX is not a memory test. Questions require analysis and critical thinking.
  • Do not base answers on personal clinical experience from your past. NCLEX questions are based on established nursing guidelines.
  • Do not be too quick to answer familiar questions. Always read carefully and understand questions before answering.
  • Set a good pace from the beginning and be cautious of how much time you have left throughout the exam.
  • Avoid selecting answers simply because they are the longest. Lengthy responses are not always correct.
  • Try to avoid guessing. Before you guess use the strategies mentioned. Take a moment and recall from memory the section that this question may have been in while your were preparing using your NCLEX Review.

More Tips to Combat NCLEX Nerves

Written by The NCLEX Team. Posted in NCLEX Test Taking Tips

In order to ensure that the public receives the highest quality health care, the National Council of State Boards on Nursing requires all license candidates to pass an exam that that measures the skills needed to perform as an entry-level nurse.

The NCLEX is the ultimate conclusion of nursing studies and is necessary to launch your nursing career. Knowing that this single test can determine your future can be nerve-wracking to say the least. That anxiety can work against you during the exam, so it is important to avoid it. Luckily, there are steps you can take to ease the stress of this vital test.

1. First and foremost: prepare, prepare, prepare. The most important way to get ready for the NCLEX is to study as much as possible. Get out the textbooks, readings, and your notes, and review them.
A more reliable method than studying solo is taking an NCLEX review course. An NCLEX review concentrates the information you have learned and makes it easier to recall when under pressure. They also teach you how to successfully navigate the exam format itself.

2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep. In order to be able to concentrate, your body and brain need to rest before the exam. You may be tempted to stay up all night studying, but this will backfire. Studies show that a tired mind is unable to process information efficiently.

3. Eat Before Test Time. You may be nervous and even nauseated, but you still need to give your brain and body food. Hunger is a distraction that you can’t afford. Even if you don’t think you can handle a full meal, have something light and nutritious, like yogurt or whole grain toast with peanut butter and some skim milk. Taking a test without eating can make you even more nervous, especially if you consume a lot of coffee.

4. Dress Comfortably. Loose, breathable layers of clothing that don’t require attention are best to keep you relaxed during the testing period.

5. Breathe! It sounds simple, and yet when you’re nervous, it’s easy to forget! Your brain needs oxygen and you need to be as calm as possible, so taking long, soothing breaths can really help.

6. Read Instructions and Questions Carefully. Be on the lookout for crafty changes in wording that can trip you up if you are careless and cost valuable points. Read slowly and carefully to make sure you understand each question and the possible responses.

7. Use the Process of Elimination on Multiple Choice Questions. The best way is to review the exam options carefully, and then eliminate the answers you know are wrong one at a time.  If you have studied well, you should be able to pare the choices to one or two.

8. Relax and take your time. Go slowly through each question. If there’s an item you don’t know how to answer, think about it for a moment, and if you still aren’t sure, continue. Come back later and try again.


Tips to Fight NCLEX Test Anxiety

Written by The NCLEX Team. Posted in NCLEX Test Taking Tips

Does the thought of taking your NCLEX make you break out in a cold sweat? Are you worried that you will not be able to hold your pencil because of sweaty palms? Never fear! Practice these handy test-taking tips and you will be able to pass the NCLEX on your first try!

Study, Study, Study
This may seem pointless to mention, but you would be surprised to learn how many students attempt to pass the NCLEX without sufficiently studying. This exam is passable, but cannot be done without hours of hitting the books thoroughly. Resist the urge of trying to “wing it” on exam day.

Get a Good Night of Sleep Before the Exam
Tempting though it may seem, cramming before an exam is not a good idea. Your body and your brain need rest, so lay aside the books and try to get at least six hours of sleep the night before taking your exam. Sufficient rest will help keep you relaxed and alert as you attempt to pass the exam.

Eat Before Taking the Test
Even though your stomach may feel tied up in knots, it still needs food. The last thing you want during the exam is an attack of hunger, plus your brain also needs nourishment. If you do not think you can stomach a full meal, try to at least eat something light, such as a smoothie or bagel.  Testing on an empty stomach can make you feel jittery and more anxious.

Read All Directions and Questions Carefully
By now as a graduate nurse, you should have learned there are such things as trick questions on exams. Subtle wording changes are hazards for careless test takers and can cost you valuable points as you try to pass the NCLEX. Read carefully to make sure that you understand each question thoroughly.

Use the Process of Elimination on Multiple Choice Questions
The questions on the NCLEX are in multiple choice format. One of the best ways to answer these types of questions is to use the process of elimination. Review the exam options carefully, and then try to eliminate wrong answers one by one. Depending on how well you have studied for the test, you might be able to easily eliminate all but one or two possible answers.

Stay Calm and Relax
During the NCLEX, it is okay to pause for a breath! Refuse to get overwhelmed and be prepared to slowly and methodically go through each question. If you come across a question to which you do not know the answer, stop for a few moments in contemplation, and then if you still do not know the answer, keep going. You can always come back later and try to answer it.

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I cannot say enough wonderful things about you!! I tend to learn and retain material better by visual aids and then re-inforcing what I I've learned. - Nicholas Loukas
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