Preparing For The LPN & RN NCLEX Exam
The NCSBN-PN and NCSBN-RN exams (PDF) vary in subtle ways. The most notable differences include categorical questions, such as client care responsibility, blood administration and central line care.
Registered Nurses have furthered their training to dictate responsibilities concerning coordination and management, initiating IVs and medication, blood transfusions, and central line care, while an LPN has limited freedom to perform those duties. The RN exam ranges between 75 and 265 questions, while the LPN exam ranges between 85 and 205.
Taking the Exam
The test-taker must answer the questions as they appear on the screen, giving no room to skip ahead or return to a previously unanswered question. Test-takers (PDF) should read each question carefully before selecting the appropriate response. RN program candidates are allowed 6 hours to take the exam, whereas LPN program candidates are limited to a maximum of 5 hours. The NCLEX consists of test questions covering cognitive recall, comprehension, application and analysis. The majority of the questions test each candidate's application and analysis capabilities. In fact, the NCLEX exam incorporates the five fundamental stages of the nursing process, including assessing, analyzing, planning, implementing, and evaluating patient situations.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing determines the percentage of categorical questions and largely depends on the results of a graduate survey conducted by the council every three years. The categorical percentages change in accordance with 130 activity statements. The NCSBN's test format (computerized adaptive testing) generates questions based on the test-takers previous answers to pose less of a challenge for struggling test-takers. The computer analyzes the candidate's knowledge of the subject to determine the next question. In fact, a passing grade is determined by the amount of difficult questions the candidate answered correctly. Moreover, the computer will stop asking questions when the test-taker answers a certain amount of difficult questions correctly. The candidate must remain above the passing standard on the last 60 questions answered. Test-takers can schedule the NCSBN exam at the time most convenient for them. Candidates usually receive test results within 7 days and can then begin their nursing career.
Preparing for the NCSBN-PN and NCSBN-RN Exams
The NCLEX is a manageable exam for candidates who thoroughly prepare for test day. Candidates should study until fully comprehending each topic, instead of memorizing and regurgitating questions and patterns. Since the computer engine presents the candidate with a series of questions based on the level of performance, candidates should carefully read and answer each question based on their nursing education. Try to practice patient-based clinical situations and condense the information into a question format. Timing is everything with the NCSBN exams. Do not spend a lot of time on only one question. The faster a candidate answers the questions correctly, the more stress it will relieve while sitting through the process. Try to answer each question in less than one minute while taking NCSBN practice tests. Use NSCBN flash cards for patient situations and terminology recall. Most of all remain calm and breathe while answering each question. It's important to use critical thinking skills while answering questions in each topic, instead of a straight question and answer pattern. The candidates that expose themselves to this kind of exercise will improve their answering speed. NCLEX combines analytical and application-related questions to test the candidate clinical knowledge of each patient situation. For this reason, it is recommended that each candidate volunteers in a clinical environment to thoroughly comprehend the subject matter.
Candidates should immerse themselves in the textbook material, despite the simulated structure of the NCLEX. The textbook prepares students for the NCLEX exam. Likewise, each instructor covers the same patient situations presented on the exam. It's a good idea to review previous coursework and lecture notes for any potential information that may be on the exam. Try to get an older copy of the NCLEX exam with all the necessary materials to fully comprehend it. Make sure it's an authentic test and resembles information applicable to the current version. Form study groups geared towards understanding the course material. Avoid getting sidetracked in social activities. Envision working in a patient-based scenario and work at a steady pace. Motivate yourself based on the future personal and financial rewards that will come as a result of obtaining a nursing license.
Preparing for Test Day
Candidates may encounter test anxiety during the day of the exam; however, there are ways to minimize this effect if you have taken the necessary steps to really understand the course material before sitting down at the computer. For instance, simply knowing the exact location of the testing site will help curtail any unnecessary stress before arriving at the testing center. Traffic unpredictability or unawareness to where the testing site is located will force the candidate to forfeit the exam and money. Candidates will need to reschedule and pay again. Don't forget important information, such as a form of identification before leaving the house. Without the proper identification, candidates automatically forfeit the exam and all applicable fees. Candidates will need to present a form of identification in order to get photographed and fingerprinted prior to entering the testing center.
Eat a high-protein meal before taking the exam. Statistically, test-takers who have eaten a meal high in b-vitamins have commented on the clarity of thought during stressful peaks. Breathe in slowly to stimulate oxygen to the brain. Remember to pace yourself through the exam, making sure not to rush or spend too much time on any one question. Stand up and walk around if permitted to stimulate blood flow to the brain and throughout the body. Stretch to relieve cramping and muscle tension. Lastly, dress in layers to predict against the testing sites cold or warm temperature. Nobody wants to shiver while taking one of the most important exams of their nursing career. Remain calm and don't overstress yourself if the test questions catch you off-guard. Keep in mind that even if you don't pass the first time, there's always the chance to re-take the exam and then start one of many nurse jobs.
Online Nursing School Study Guide
Nursing school can provide valuable tools for entering into the nursing and health care industry. There are many topics that are covered during these courses that prepare a person to take the licensing exams required to become a nurse. The ultimate purpose in nursing school, besides providing training, is to prepare the student for the license and certification exams for entry into a nursing career. This will help students ultimately apply for nurse jobs. The following topics and study guide will help prepare a nursing student with additional resources for taking a nursing license exam that will provide entrance into the nursing field.
Fundamentals of Nursing:
Basic nursing information is covered in this subject. It is important to review the key information that was covered for an exam. Information about basic patient care in addition to nursing techniques and policies is typically covered. Physical care of the patient as well as handling the emotional care of the patient is important to distinguish, as both are important to nursing care.
Knowing the basic nursing roles
is essential when preparing for the RN testing. How to assess, diagnose, plan, implement and evaluate are the main steps in the basic nursing fundamentals. How to efficiently take a patient’s health history, physical exam, and observations are all key aspects to providing the best care. Taking vital signs including temperature, pulse, respiration rates as well as blood pressure and assessing pain threshold are all important to know.
There are many areas of human anatomy that are covered on licensing exams. Knowing all the major parts of the body including major organs, muscle groups, and skeletal system is required when entering any nursing occupation. All fluids such as blood, marrow, spinal fluid, and water are important to break down. It is also important to identify all of the different systems in the body including the respiratory system, cardiovascular system, digestive system, urinary system, nervous system, and endocrine system. All basic nursing positions require an understanding of human anatomy.
The main points that are covered in biology courses include microbiology history, viruses, microbial classifications, parasite interactions, enzymes, structure of bacteria and chemistry of life. Understanding each aspect of these topics is fundamental prior to taking the exams for nursing licensing.
Understanding motivations and emotions are the basics of psychology. Learning how to handle the entire patient including the psychological well-being is essential to entering into a career of nursing. These topics will be on most entrance exams and licensing exams for nursing. Learning the psychological warning signs to look out for, as well as the proper way to handle these types of issues in patients can be crucial to nursing and caring for a patient. Most nursing occupations require the knowledge of psychology.
Chemistry is the foundation of anatomy and physiology, so this is an important topic to cover. Knowing the basics of chemistry will be an advantage to entering nursing school, but there will be in depth coverage of this topic throughout nursing school. Studying the notes and key terms will be beneficial when studying for a nursing licensing exam.
A nutritional assessment is typically required when taking a patient’s history. Understanding nutrition will be an important factor when preparing for a job in nursing. It is common for the nursing exams to include questions on nutrition since this can be a vital factor of patient care. Knowing how to identify signs of malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies can be beneficial when assessing a patient.
Care of the Elderly:
Now that the baby boomers are in the elderly category, there is a huge need for nurses to understand care of the elderly. There are many nurses who will specialize in this field of nursing whether it will be working in a nursing home or a hospital setting. This topic can be valuable to understand. In most nursing programs, this topic is covered under the general requirements. Baby boomers that are retiring from the nursing field will leave a huge gap where nurses are needed, so there are many positions that will need to be filled in order to provide continued care.
Care of Children:
A basic understanding of caring for children will be taught in most nursing programs. A more in depth knowledge will need to be taught to those who will go into pediatric nursing. This is a large field of study, and can cover the basic pediatric nurses for a general pediatrician’s office or a specialized area of pediatrics such as pediatric cardio. Understanding the physiological and psychological differences in children versus adults is important.
Health Care Management:
Many specialized licensing tests can include health care management, including a nursing home administrator or any other type of management in health care. Office level positions that cover managing the care of patients in a broad environment can require specific exams. Many (nursing schools) offer this course as a specialty course.
Nurses will need to be up to date with the latest hospital and clinical technology in order to provide proper care to patients. This means that continuing education throughout a nurses career is essential to keep up with the change and advancement in technology. Online nursing programs are available for those interested in pursuing their education in this fashion. There are many nursing associations that provide conferences and educational opportunities for nurses to remain up to date with their nursing education. Many of these associations target specialized niche fields such as pediatrics or geriatric care.
It is important to know the difference between the generic and brand names of drugs. The principles of pharmacology, including intended uses and “off-label” usage, will be important to know when taking any nursing exams. Studying the use of scheduled drugs, and knowing about what the Drug Enforcement Agency is intended for are essential to the basis of pharmacology in the US. In pharmacology it is vital to learn about the administration routes such as intravenous, which can be injected via intramuscular, subcutaneous, and intradermal. Drugs can also be administered orally, sublingual, topical, inhalants and optically. Learning the full and half-life of each drug is a necessary aspect of nursing as well as adverse reactions such as anaphylactic allergy, and tolerance.