Help passing NCLEX

How to Effectively Answer NCLEX Questions

To move to the next level of your nursing profession, you should know how to effectively answer the NCLEX questions. Without passing the NCLEX, you won’t receive that prized license that determines if you can safely and efficiently practice as an entry-level nurse.

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

The NCLEX is a computer-adaptive test. This means that 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.

There is no time limit for each question, but the entire exam must be completed in five hours. With the test being automated, you cannot edit answers once selected and submitted.

How to Successfully Answer the Questions

It all boils down to how well you’ve prepared for the exam. With enough practice, you can develop the critical thinking skills 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 affect a correct answer you’ve already stored in your memory.

When you have no immediate answer, look at the options and eliminate the ones you are certain are incorrect.

Try to avoid guessing. A lot of people will advise you to guess, but before you resort to that, try every strategy that we suggest on this website to tease the answer out.

Read options thoroughly for possible hints.

Look for keywords that can help you identify the correct answer.

Do not depend on recall and recognition. The NCLEX is not a memory test. Questions require analysis and critical thinking.

Do not base answers on personal clinical experience and intuition. NCLEX questions are based on established nursing principles.

Do not be too quick to answer familiar questions. Always carefully read and understand questions before answering.

Never go too fast or too slow when answering questions. Go at your own normal pace, but be aware how much time you have left.

Avoid selecting answers simply because they are the longest. Lengthy responses are not always correct.

Avoid selecting answers simply because they “sound” right. Sometimes, these familiar options are designed as traps.

Never panic when you don’t know the answer to a question. Don’t give up. Try getting contextual clues from the question and choices.

Always check your response before pressing the Enter key.

Know what to expect. Prepare, review and practice as much as you can. If you are confident that you correctly understand every nursing principle and concept you’ve learned and applied, then you will be able to effectively answer the NCLEX questions.

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Anna Curran. RN, BSN, PHN

Anna Curran. RN, BSN, PHN
Clinical Nurse Instructor

Emergency Room Registered Nurse
Critical Care Transport Nurse
Clinical Nurse Instructor for LVN and BSN students

Anna began writing extra materials to help her BSN and LVN students with their studies and writing nursing care plans. She takes the topics that the students are learning and expands on them to try to help with their understanding of the nursing process and help nursing students pass the NCLEX exams.

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