Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Some (hopefully) helpful advice

Since it is time for another issue of Change of Shift, I thought I would provide some completely unsolicited and totally subjective advice about surviving the NCLEX. So, here you go. Here is the standard obvious disclaimer: the opinions expressed here are solely those of the poster and are in no way connected to anyone with an actual say in the matter. Your mileage may vary. Do not submerge. Clean with soft cloth only. May cause drowsiness; use care when driving or operating dangerous equipment......

How to Survive (but definately not enjoy) your NCLEX Experience

That pretty much sums up my completely unscientific and unofficial guide to surviving the NCLEX. Hopefully it will help someone out there pass her/his boards, or give some insight to the friends/families/people who've met them once at party of nurses about just exactly how it feels to try to survice the boards.

I would add: remember that this is a weird test with a weird scoring algorithm.

Usually when you take a multiple choice test, you know 90% of the answers, you can narrow another 5% down to 2 choices, and maybe you're guessing on 5%. That's how a test normally "feels" to you.

The NCLEX system, however, is looking for the difficulty level where you get half right and half wrong, then comparing that difficulty level with the passing difficulty level.

Thus, once the thing gets rolling, EVERY question is going to be a "guesser." You are going to feel like you don't know ANY of the answers for sure, because if you get one right you're going to get a harder question the next time.

Keep reminding yourself that the fact that you aren't sure of any any of the last 50 answers does NOT mean that you are not going to pass. It's just the nature of the test.
Page 12 of this PDF gives a detailed explanation of how the NCLEX computer calculates what questions it throws your way and how many questions it gives you. The entire PDF (all 46 pages-ugh) is interesting and worth a cursory perusal.
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