Taking any kind of exam can be a very stressful experience. We’re worried about how much information we will be able to recall or how well we’ll do on the test overall. With the right tips and tricks, taking the NCLEX can be a breeze and you’ll feel a lot calmer.

Here are three tips for a successful NCLEX exam.

1. Don’t cram the night before
As with most tests, your first instinct to try and cram everything in one night out of fear that you’ll get that one question that you just don’t know. The reality is, it took you a while to learn all of that information, and while you can take some time to refresh yourself on important info or notes, there’s no point to cramming everything in one night. You know what you know at this point, so just breathe and go over areas you struggled with the most.

2. Take practice tests
Taking practice tests can help you feel more confident, since you will have a better idea of what kind of questions you can expect on the test. It can help you get in the mindset and make you feel more prepared. There’s no harm in taking practice tests, as the results don’t go anywhere and won’t impact your official NCLEX score at all. The more practice tests you take, the better you’ll feel!

3. When taking the test, avoid answers that include absolutes
Always exercise caution when answers have any of the following words: always, all, everyone, never, none, only, every, must. The majority of the time, answers that include these words are incorrect. Words like these imply that there is no exception when presented with a scenario, and usually there is an exception.

Example: A nurse is providing safety instruction to the mother of a child with hemophilia and tells the mother to do which of the following to promote a safe environment for the child?

1. Remove toys with sharp edges from the child’s toy box.
2. Allow the child to play with toys only if a parent is present.
3. Place a helmet and elbow pads on the child every day.
4. Allow the child to play indoors only.

The correct answer here is #1, and it does not include absolutes. This is one very important test strategy to think about on exam day!

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