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Tips for Answering NCLEX Questions

*Original post released 12/5/19

  • Read the question fully and anticipate the answer before reading your answer choice & understand what the question is asking before attempting to answer it.
  • Identify the type of question to make sure your answer fits the prompt. Types can include: matching, ordering, true/false, all of the above, and exceptions among others.
  • Pay attention to key words in the question such as NOT, BEST, NEVER, EXCEPT, MOST, etc. This will often change how you select an answer for the question.
  • Pay attention to key words within the answer choices. In most cases, the correct response will not be the one with extremes such as “never,” “always,” “all,” “none,” etc.
  • Eliminate wrong choices FIRST (if you do not know the answer). If there is an “all of the above” option and you can find one wrong answer, then that is not the correct response. If there is a “none of the above” option and you can find one correct answer, then this is not the right option either. Every time you eliminate an option, your odds of answering correctly are exponentially improved.
  • Go with your gut; trust the knowledge you have. Don’t change your answer UNLESS you happen to find the exact answer later on in the test (sometimes this happens).
  • When in doubt, remember your ABCs (Airway, Breathing, Circulation, etc.) and go with those priorities to help you choose between multiple correct responses. Unfortunately, more times than not, multiple answer choices will technically be correct. Often times, you will have to prioritize, choose the first action you’d take, etc.
  • If taking practice NCLEX questions, make sure to read the rationales if provided. These will often help prevent you from making the same mistake in the future. If you are unsure of your answer to a question, make a mark next to it (a dot, an X, a flag, or something to signify that you should revisit this before turning in your exam).. This will help you focus in on those uncertain questions if you are in a time crunch at the end of the exam session. You get better with practice!
  • Take as many NCLEX style questions as you can to get comfortable with the style. Download an app, pick up a NCLEX review book, do the questions at the end of each chapter, etc. Practice, practice, practice!

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