Though earning a nursing degree is a major milestone on your journey to a career in nursing, becoming an RN ultimately hinges on one crucial step: passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the NCLEX is a standardized exam designed to ensure that only those with the knowledge necessary for a career in nursing make it into the field.
No pressure, right?
For many nursing students, just thinking about the NCLEX is enough to bring on a wave of anxious emotions. This makes it critically important that you choose a nursing school that is focused on preparing you for a changing field and developing your analytical thinking skills. After all, the NCLEX is a test of your ability to critically assess situations and make decisions.
Fortunately, Roseman University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program was designed to give you the tools you need tohttps://acceleratednursing.roseman.edu/accelerated-bsn-programs/ not only sit for the NCLEX, but also meet the everyday challenges nurses face. Not to mention, nearly 90 percent of Roseman University nursing school grads pass the NCLEX on their first try.
Understanding How the NCLEX Works
Before diving into how Roseman’s ABSN program prepares you to be an RN, it’s worth taking a quick look at how the NCLEX works. It is a different kind of test, incorporating computerized adaptive testing (CAT) technology to determine whether an individual has the knowledge to safely practice as a nurse without supervision. It does this through a series of questions — anywhere from 75 to a 265 — across all difficulty levels. What is meant by adaptive? It means that every time you answer a question, the testing software reevaluates your skill level and then selects a question you have a 50% chance of answering correctly based on your previous responses.
As a result, there are three reasons the test can end:
- You have answered all 265 questions
- The allotted testing time (six hours) is up
- The testing software can determine with a 95% confidence level how you will answer the remaining questions
The good news is that in the event you don’t pass on your first try, you can retake the NCLEX; however, you’ll need to wait 45 days, and it currently costs $200 to take the exam. In other words, you want to pass it on the first try, making a quality nursing program and adequate preparation key.
Preparing Students for the NCLEX and Career Success
There are countless NCLEX preparation resources available, today; however, the single most crucial aspect of NCLEX preparation is through nursing education. That’s why Roseman nursing students don’t just memorize facts; instead, they learn to think like professional nurses through our Six-Point Mastery Learning Model.
In essence, this learning model breaks nursing subject areas into 15 blocks delivered one at a time. During each of these blocks, you’ll learn the subject area through a blend of online coursework; campus-based discussions, demonstrations, and skills and simulation labs; and clinical rotations explicitly chosen to coincide with what you’re learning in your block. This way you apply what you’re learning in your coursework and labs as you’re learning it, leading to better retention of information.
Before moving on to the next block, you also will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the topic through a series of assessments. This ensures that you are sufficiently knowledgeable in a topic area before moving on to the next. The result is that you’ll graduate with not just the knowledge required of a nurse, but also the critical thinking skills.
And that’s important because, in the medical world, answers are seldom cut and dry, requiring you to call upon everything you learned in school to think through medical situations. Nurses, like detectives, need to be especially keen on even seemingly insignificant details. This includes:
- Making physical observations
- Listening critically
- Asking thoughtful questions and probing for answers that give you the information you need
- Recognizing patterns and slight changes in a patient’s condition
- Being able to evaluate patient information against your medical knowledge
It’s also critical to be able to prioritize care in situations where a patient has more than one condition requiring treatment. On the NCLEX, your ability to make decisions will be put to task with scenario-based questions that require you to make choices based on your knowledge of nursing concepts, the information provided, and the most urgent care issue at hand.
Getting into an NCLEX Mindset
Of course, the best nursing programs also incorporate NCLEX review into their curriculum. During the final block of our program, NURS 408 Senior Seminar, you’ll undergo extensive preparation for the NCLEX exam, culminating in a Comprehensive Predictor final assessment designed to predict your likelihood of passing the NCLEX-RN. Not only does this give you practice, but it also gauges your readiness to take the exam, so you know where to focus your study efforts.
Additional NCLEX Success Tips
So you’ve participated in practice tests and review sessions, graduated from nursing school, and have been preparing to take the NCLEX for months. What else can you do?
Part of preparing for the NCLEX means showing up mentally and physically ready for the big day. Here are five simple tips that will help you be your best come to test time:
- Get Enough Sleep — This cannot be overstated. It’s tempting to fuel up on energy drinks to squeeze every minute of possible studying time out of the night before the test, but this strategy could very well do you more harm than good. For starters, while you might feel wide awake studying at 3 am, there’s a very good chance that by morning, you’re going to start feeling the impact of little or no sleep, and no one does their best thinking exhausted. Nor is the false alertness of caffeine a substitute for actual rest. Rest not only helps your memory; it helps you to be a more active learner. A much better strategy is to spread out your studying over the weeks and months leading up to the NCLEX.
- Stay Hydrated — According to a growing body of research, even slight dehydration can lead to decreased cognitive functioning, which in turn can lead to mistakes. This doesn’t mean you should down a giant bottle of water before the test. What it does mean is that you should make sure to drink enough the day before, and bring a bottle of water with you to the test site.
- Fuel Up — Some people get hangry. Others get tired. However, your body responds to hunger, walking into a test that could take up to six hours hungry will do you any favors. Of course, neither do you want to load up on sugary foods that will cause you to “crash” in a few hours. Aim to eat a healthy, balanced meal before taking the NCLEX.
- Move Around — As part of your strategy to get enough sleep, you may have planned down to the last minute when you need to be out of bed in order to get the maximum amount of sleep. However, there’s a better way: Go to bed earlier, so you have time to wake up and get in a quick workout before the exam, even if it’s just a short, brisk walk. Not only will you arrive for the NCLEX fully awake, working out decreases stress and causes your brain to release chemicals that allow it to think more quickly and clearly.
- Breathe (You Can Do This) — It’s easy to let self-doubt creep in when you’re nervous or stressed. Don’t let it! It can cloud your judgment and make you unsure of yourself when you might otherwise be confident. Rather, focus on the positive. Consider what you’ve already accomplished — you survived school — you can pass the NCLEX. You might even visualize your reaction to finding out you’ve passed or try meditating the evening before the test. Meditation forces you to focus on your breathing, which can help clear your mind of stress and worry — and even if you aren’t big on meditation, it’s amazing what a few slow, deep breaths can do to help calm you down.
Ready to Pursue a Career in Nursing?
If you have at least 54 credits from an accredited university, it’s possible to earn your bachelor’s degree in nursing and graduate ready to sit for the NCLEX in less than 18 months through Roseman University’s Accelerated BSN program. Give us a call today, or fill out the form to have one of our admissions advisors talk to you about becoming an RN.