By Robyn Knapp
The time is going to come for every graduate nurse to sit for their state boards. To become a Registered Nurse, the graduate nurse must pass the NCLEX. This is a comprehensive examination of the skills necessary to practice nursing safely. It is important for the graduate nurse to use all of the tools available to ensure success at passing. Many schools prepare the student nurses early in their curriculum with test questions that mimic the format of the NCLEX.
This is done to familiarize the students with the type of questions that they will face when they take the NCLEX. Many schools, in addition to in class tests, are also incorporating outside resource testing. These companies offer a wide selection of computerized nursing test bank questions that measure the student's comprehension and application of practice and theory for each nursing course. The student's are required to pass these tests with an acceptable score that is decided by the school that they are attending.
Most of the time, the score that the student tries to achieve is at or above the national average. If the student's score falls below the national average, that student is then required to take the test until their score is acceptable. This can be most bothersome for many nursing students. Although these tests do not add or detract from the student's grade point average, they are mandatory for many schools. Most nursing schools will with hold the student's diploma if the student has not completed all of the necessary required tests. These questions not only help to measure the student's knowledge level in regards to the material covered, but it also acts as a tracking tool. In acting as a tracking tool, student's scores from all participating nursing schools can be compared and contrasted.
These same students are followed up until the end of the program, and then determinations regarding one schools performance over another can be interpolated. Once the student graduates from nursing school, they are further tracked by their mandatory and or voluntary participation in a four day NCLEX review seminar. These seminars are usually offered by the same testing corporation originally used by the school throughout the program and are offered at no extra expense to the student's. The performance of the student's throughout the program can then be interpolated with some degree of confidence on how well they perform on the NCLEX.
Of course all of the tracking and testing statistics can only predict outcomes. Only the student knows how much effort that they need to expend to pass their nursing courses and the state boards. Ask any nursing student, and most will concur that there is a lot of work that goes into getting through nursing school. It is important for the nursing student to look objectively at the numbers and percentages of those who pass the NCLEX. The rumor, that is supposedly based on fact, in, that all "A" and "B" students pass the NCLEX the first time, and all "C" student's fail the first time, is a false assumption, and one which can be detrimental to a "C" student's psyche. The only fact, is that the student must be the final judge of themselves, as far as knowing what they are capable of accomplishing, and not what rumor or statistics reflect.
Students should be aware that the use of outside practice resources is an acceptable and proven method to increase their chances of passing the NCLEX Nursing student's are encouraged to study not just one NCLEX study guide, but many. Using two or three NCLEX study guides as a reference is a solid strategic plan. Knowledge gained from the nursing program is of course valuable. However, a student cannot possibly remember every little detail. They would have thousands of flash cards to study, if that were the case. So, as the saying goes, "study smarter, not harder" applies.
The NCLEX is scientifically designed and percentages are assigned in respect to different content areas. The student is urged to study how the test is put together and use review material that best supports a similar format. This article will not recommend any study material, but it will impress upon student's to use up to date, current and respected sources. Nursing instructors are a good resource for suggesting resources. It is a good beginning strategy. Nursing instructor's have a lot of experience and are consistently revising their test bank material to keep current with the latest NCLEX question format.
Students are encouraged to practice online computer tests as well. Not only does familiarity with computer testing ease the student's anxiety, but it also gives the student the computer skill necessary to maneuver through the test without difficulty. Here is an example, imagine having to drive two thousand miles, and getting into a car. You know the direction to where you are going, but you never drove a car before in your life. How do you think you are going to feel getting behind that wheel, with such a long road ahead, and not being able to anticipate or know what to do when confronting unfamiliar situations?
It is the same thing with navigating the NCLEX. Knowing how to work the controls is very important, and it will save you time and energy that can be better put to use answering questions.
It is important not to go into the test thinking that luck is on your side, without having studied. Luck, may or may not be, but the fact is, most teachers will tell you, that if you didn't study, then you won't do well. The same thing can be said about the NCLEX. Study, is the key. Know what you are facing. There is so much information out there that gives the graduate nurse all the tools that they need to be successful in passing the NCLEX. Remember, it's up to you. So best wishes, on your test, and study, study, study.