By GUIAN MIGUEL BANTA
HERE ARE THE TOP 10 ASPIRER TIPS
- CAREFULLY READ THE QUESTION FIRST BEFORE CONSIDERING THE OPTIONS.
Glance through the options before understanding the question, pick up keywords that will affect how you perceive the question. It is essential to understand the question and not formulate an opinion about the answer before you understand it. On a paper-and-pencil test, cover the answers with your hand or a notecard. If you practice this strategy before taking the NCLEX, you will be able to focus on the question without physically covering the answers when taking a test on the computer.
- DO NOT ADD EXTRA MEANING OR DATA INTO THE QUESTION.
NCLEX questions typically ask for specific information; if it appears to be simple “common sense,” then assume it is simple. Do not look for a hidden meaning in a question. Avoid asking yourself “what if …?” or speculating about the future (“maybe the client will …”). Do not make the client any sicker than he or she already is!
- FOCUS ON THE STEM OF THE QUESTION.
Make sure to understand precisely what information the question is asking. Determine whether the question is stated in a positive (true) or negative (false) format. Watch for words that provide direction to the question. A positive or true stem may include the following: “indicates the client understands,” “the best nursing action is,” “the preoperative teaching would include,” or “the best nursing assignment is.”
Also, watch for words in the stem that have a negative meaning so that the question asks for a response that is not accurate or false. Phrases such as “is contraindicated,” “the client should avoid,” “indicate the client does not understand,” “does not occur,” and “indicates [medication, equipment, nursing action] is not working” are negative indicators. The question is asking for information that is not accurate or actions the nurse would not take. The following words or phrases change the question’s direction: except, never, avoid, least, contraindicated, would not occur. It may help to rephrase the question in your own words to understand better what information is being requested.
- IDENTIFY THE NURSING PROCESS BEING TESTED.
Remember, you must have adequate assessment data before you move through the steps of the nursing process. Is there adequate information presented in the stem of the question to determine appropriate nursing planning or intervention? Is the correct nursing action to obtain further assessment data? Look for keywords that can assist you in determining what type of information is being requested.
- PREDICTING A RIGHT ANSWER IS A NO-NO!
Frequently, the answer you anticipate is not going to be an option! Keep in mind the characteristics and concepts of nursing care for a client with the condition or problem in the situation presented. Eliminate options: every time you eliminate an option, you increase your chance of selecting a correct answer. If all of the options are plausible, then rank the options. The first one is the highest priority, and the fourth one is the lowest priority. Which one is the first action or answers the question?
- ELIMINATE THOSE OPTIONS YOU DEEM ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT
Consider each option as true or false. This will help narrow the field of choice. When you select an answer or eliminate an option, you should have a specific reason for doing so. Correctly eliminating options will increase your chances of selecting the correct answer.
- FIND SIMILARITIES IN THE OPTIONS AND PICK THE “ODD-ONE” OUT.
Frequently, the options will contain similar information, and sometimes you can eliminate similar options. If three options are similar, the different one may be the correct answer. When two of the options are very similar and one of those options is not any better than the other, both of them are probably wrong, so start looking for another answer. Sometimes three of the options have very similar characteristics; the “different” option may be the correct answer.
- FIND THE “QUALIFIERS” IN THE OPTIONS.
Every, none, all, always, never, and only are words that have no exceptions. Options containing these words are frequently incorrect. Seldom in health care is anything absolute with no exceptions; thus, you can often eliminate these options. In some situations, the qualifiers are correct, primarily when a principle or policy is described. For example, the nurse always establishes positive client identification before administering medications. This would be a correct statement. Carefully evaluate qualifiers; they are clues to the correct answer.
- SOME QUESTIONS MAY HAVE OPTIONS THAT CONTAIN SEVERAL ITEMS TO CONSIDER.
After you understand surely what information the question is requesting, evaluate each part of the option. Is the option appropriate to what the question is asking? If an option contains one incorrect item, the entire option is incorrect. All of the option’s items must be correct if that option is to be the correct answer to the question.
- WHEN UNCERTAINTY STILL STRIKES BACK, WHAT’S YOUR BACK UP PLAN?
Take a deep breath, reread the question, and ask yourself, “What is the main topic of the question?” Now read the option choices, not to eliminate options or select a correct answer, but to get a clue about the direction of the question. It might be helpful to read the options from the bottom up (start with option 4, rather than option 1) to help your brain focus on the options.