If you are a nursing student—or are entertaining the thought of enrolling in a nursing program—and you haven’t heard of the NCLEX, you should.
All nursing-career hopefuls in the United States are required to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) before they can receive their license as a registered nurse. For many, testing is often accompanied with unwanted angst and unrelenting nerves. This is especially true for the NCLEX; notorious for being one of the most challenging exams for future healthcare employees.
One of the reasons the NCLEX is so challenging is the sheer volumes of questions. Unlike most other certification qualifying tests, the NCLEX requires everyone to answer a minimum of 75 questions to a maximum of 265 questions in the six hours of time you are given to take the exam. That means you will have an average of a little less than a minute and a half to complete each question.
The hardest part about any test is not knowing what to expect. The NCLEX consists of four major sections, each of which tests your knowledge, skills and abilities to meet the minimum license requirements. The sections include:
- Safe and Effective Care Environment
- Management of Care – 17% to 23%
- Safety and Infection Control – 9% to 15%
- Health Promotion and Maintenance – 6% to 12%
- Psychosocial Integrity – 6% to 12%
- Physiological Integrity
- Basic Care and Comfort – 6% to 12%
- Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies – 12% to 18%
- Reduction of Risk Potential – 9% to 15%
- Physiological Adaptation – 11% to 17%
Most of the questions you’ll come across are multiple choice questions with four answers to choose from, only one of which is correct. Other questions may be fill in the blanks, arranging lists of priorities or steps to a procedure from the first to last. Questions may also include charts, tables, or graphic images.
Every question throughout the exam is created to test essential themes and skills such as clinical problem solving, an understanding of the nursing process, proper communication, caring and compassion, and accurate collection of documentation.
Here Are Some Examples Of What You Might Find On The NCLEX
- After the physician performs an amniotomy, the nurse’s first action should be to assess the:
- A client is admitted to the labor and delivery unit. The nurse performs a vaginal exam and determines that the client’s cervix is 5 cm dilated with 75% effacement. Based on the nurse’s assessment the client is in which phase of labor?
- A newborn with narcotic abstinence syndrome is admitted to the nursery. Nursing care of the newborn should include:
- A client elects to have epidural anesthesia to relieve the discomfort of labor. Following the initiation of epidural anesthesia, the nurse should give priority to:
- The nurse is aware that the best way to prevent postoperative wound infection in the surgical client is to:
- The elderly client is admitted to the emergency room. Which symptom is the client with a fractured hip most likely to exhibit?
- The nurse knows that a 60-year-old female client’s susceptibility to osteoporosis is most likely related to:
- A 2-year-old is admitted for repair of a fractured femur and is placed in Bryant’s traction. Which finding by the nurse indicates that the traction is working properly?
- A client with a fractured hip has been placed in Buck’s traction. Which statement is true regarding balanced skeletal traction? Balanced skeletal traction:
- The client is admitted for an open reduction internal fixation of a fractured hip. Immediately following surgery, the nurse should give priority to assessing the:
The best thing you can do to ensure you’re prepared to take the NCLEX is to actively study for it. There are so many resources online to help students understand the NCLEX. Search online for practice tests to take, focusing on getting correct answers but also trying to answer as many questions as possible in the shortest amount of time. Take note of any subjects you’d like to familiarize yourself with more before the big exam day and be proactive about studying them.
It’s also important to be prepared to take the NCLEX on exam day. Be sure to get plenty of sleep the night before and wake up with enough time to get to the testing location (anticipate traffic), find a parking spot, and find your testing room with time to spare. Eat a balanced breakfast and pack water and simple snacks to take with you into the exam room. Stress and anxiety can really weigh on your mind, taking away from focusing on the exam itself. Take a deep breath and remember that everything you’ve studied has helped to prepare you for this next step.
If you’re ready to start a rewarding career as a nurse, contact Provo College today. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be able to explain our nursing programs to you and help you find the one that is best for you.