Some of the NCLEX review courses have been talking about the same, old test-taking strategies for the past 50 years. Well, guess what?! NCLEX caught on a while ago and many of the test-taking strategies are OLD. They just don’t work.
A student recently told me of a tutoring company she was working with and when she told me of the strategies they were telling her, I was appalled. I also still read these strategies in recent NCLEX review books. It seems like the books all copy each other.
These are old strategies, don’t use these:
- OLD: If you don’t know pick C. That is really old. The reason is because the test purposely has 25% of your answers to be from each letter A, B, C and D.
Do this instead: eliminate answers that you know are wrong. Between the two answers left, pick a safe answer.
- OLD: Choose the umbrella option. That means choose an option that covers more of what you would do. For example, there’s an answer that says, “check oxygen saturation” and another answer that says “check vital signs”. The umbrella option would be to choose “check vital signs”. I don’t think picking the general answers work. Because if you have a patient that is having difficulty breathing, I really don’t need to check the patient’s blood pressure right now. I’d rather see if the patient is getting enough oxygen and then go do the rest of the vital signs.
Do this instead: Avoid the “umbrella answer”. Better answers are more specific to what the problem is.
- OLD: ABC it. I do like this strategy if you have absolutely know idea. Picking an answer that deals with the airway is safe. However, NCLEX caught on a long time ago that ABC answers are definitely not right a lot of the time.
Do this instead: use your knowledge and common sense before you just decide to pick an answer that has the word “airway”, “breathing” or “oxygen” in it.
- OLD: Get rid of answers with the words: only, always, never, must. That’s an old strategy!
Do this instead: keep those answers and actually think about the answer as a possibility. Sometimes it is the right answer, such as “ALWAYS wash your hands in between patients”.
More old strategies?
Are there any strategies that you have heard of that seem old or don’t really work for you? What are they? Should you still be using them? Post them below and I’ll let you know if it is a good strategy to use.
Monica Amaka Ezemba
I am a graduate Nurse and I am preparing for my first NCLEX EXAM.
I am reading but it is a lot to read.