NCLEX PN Review: Best Methods To Pass

The NCLEX-PN Review should cover all the content you need to study as well as provide practice tests to apply your knowledge.

A good NCLEX-PN Review is not just about studying content for you have learned about this in school, but more importantly, on understanding the test questions and applying the right strategy to answer them. The truth is that studying the content and taking a test are two separate skills that test takers should master to ace the NCLEX practice nurse exam. For many candidates, it is not about knowledge deficit that have them failing the NCLEX several times. Test anxiety gets the better of them, which is why they fail to focus on the question and miss giving the right answers.

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When it comes to the LPN review, most candidates focus on recall and memorization, but would often neglect learning the art of test taking. Hence, you would often hear these complaints:

• “I do well with content but my worst fears are those SATA.”

• “I can spout any random information about the NCLEX-PN and was devastated that I failed.”

• “I dropped everything to study for 8 weeks so why did I fail?”

There is no denying that failing is devastating when you know that you have come prepared for the exam. Despite getting the best study guide and devoting weeks into intensive studying, many end up failing the exam. It is not because you are not intelligent enough, but you are attacking the NCLEX-PN exam review the wrong way. If you do not find the best way to study, the next time your hospital celebrates “Certified Nurse’s Day”, you better keep your chin up for you will not be getting any ribbon or be having tea with the CNO.

A good LPN review allows you to cover not just the multiple choices, but should provide you with the tools to effectively answer the more complicated questions requiring multiple answers or constructed responses.

The NCLEX-PN review should equip you to answer the test questions similar to the real tests. Here is what you should know about how the NCLEX-PN questions are classified:

• Set 1 questions tests basic knowledge, which can be answered by exact answers.

• Set 2 requires a process or an additional step so candidates need to analyze and apply their knowledge and skills accordingly.

• Set 3 requires critical thinking, wherein the candidate will make an evaluation combining all the facts provided and then employ the best strategy.

The NCLEX is a standardized test created by the NCSBN, aimed not only to check how much you know, but also to measure how well you can apply your knowledge. Expect that there would be more of set 2 and 3 types of questions, which could comprise 95% of the test.

The NCLEX-PN Review is designed to meet two purposes: (1) to study all the relevant content and (2) to practice answering questions that mirror the actual test questions.

How to prepare for the LPN review?

The NCLEX PN review needs about 2 months of preparation, devoting 2-3 hours a day. You can follow the suggested 40% reviewing content and 60% answering practice questions. But first you need to find the right study materials and identify which study method works best for you.

• Draw up your own NCLEX-PN review plan. There is an extensive list of subject areas to cover in your review for the NCLEX-PN exam. Investing on a good study guide should be your primary objective. You can buy a NCLEX-PN study guide online or in your local bookstore. Many test passers attest on Saunders, Kaplan, Hurst, Exam Cram, PDA, but you can also make use of your old books and lecture notes as supplement readings. In fact, you can easily have access to free study materials like a good resource book test by joining teacher’s forums like allnurses.com.

• Enrol in a LPN review class. Some candidates do not fare well with solo reviewing. If you long for a structured in-class review or even an online course, there are many campus and sites who offer the NCLEX-PN review. An example is the NCSBN’s NCLEX online review ranging from $50 to $160 depending on the duration.

• Join a NCLEX-PN review study group. Throwing random facts at one another will train you to think fast. Although you have 5 hours to finish the exam, you may find yourself pressed for time particularly on the SATA or Select that Apply portion. You can find study buddies in teacher’s forums if you do not know of anyone who is taking the same exam.

• Work with a LPN review coach. You can ask your former professor or a nursing colleague who have taken and passed the test as a test coach. You may also ask for recommendations and referrals from fellow nurses in nursing forums.

How to conduct the NCLEX-PN review?

Whether you have enrolled in an LPN review online or in a campus, you still need to do a substantial amount of self-studying. There are many ways to do this and let me illustrate one to help you:

#1 Focus on your blind spots. Review your weak subjects as much as you can and then review the areas you already know to reinforce your knowledge.

#2 Purchase a good LPN review book. Many attests by Kaplan’s Strategies and the NCLEX-PN practice and review 2012-2013. To optimize absorption, read it three times. Study and practice on using the strategy until it becomes easy for you to apply one on every question. It is unwise to cram the steps or the strategy. Once you fully understand the strategy, you may now answer the questions. Check and study the rationales for both right and wrong answers.

#3 A must have in your NCLEX-PN review is the PDA book. Begin with a practice test and apply the Kaplan strategy. Always read the rationales and learn it by heart.

#4 A supplement to an LPN review is the Exam Cram 3rd edition. It comes with 1000 questions including the CD. Practice on using and applying the strategy. It is best to begin with the study mode and start with the 50 questions then slowly going for 75 then to 100. Continue to apply the strategy and then proceed to the exam mode.

#5 For the last leg of the NCLEX-PN review, two weeks prior to the exam, practice on the SATA questions. This site at www.nclex.dover.edu/nclexpn3000 is a valuable resource. Click on the nursing topics under the alternate items then select all. The next part is practicing on 30 questions from the alternate items daily that come with full rationales.

#6 In that same last weeks of the LPN review, you may want to review the allnurses.com study guide more than once. You can have a read through the day before or on your way to the testing venue.

The NCLEX-PN review may require a lot of memorization on meds, diseases and lab values, but you can make it fun with acrostics, which I am sure you have learned in school. A good strategy is to avoid delegating when you can and EAT which is for evaluate, assess and teach.

A few illustrations of other easy to recall acrostics are think SPIDERMAN for droplet, MRS. WEE for contact precaution and VCHIPS for skin infection, to name a few. There can be shortcuts after all in studying, but the essence of a good review still lies on your desire to be a practical nurse. Pretty soon, you will be getting that ribbon on Certified Nurse’s Day or sharing a special meal with other hard working nurses who are reaping the rewards of being certified.

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