COVID-19, virtual learning, the pandemic, so much has changed in nursing and in healthcare within the past year. The question now becomes how do you still pass the NCLEX exam with ease in light of all of these changes. This is what we are going to be essentially discussing through this article.
#1- The Actual Test
One thing for sure is that the actual NCLEX exam has not become more difficult since the start of the pandemic, if anything it has become easier and I have seen more people pass the exam than ever before. The main challenge is even being able to take the exam within a timely manner. However we will discuss this later into this article. The main thing that makes taking the actual exam easier is there are less questions than before. Prior to the pandemic, the number of questions you can get maximum on either the NCLEX-RN or the NCLEX-PN is 265 questions. However now it’s about half of this with 140 questions because they want to reduce how long people are in a closed area to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19. However now that the number of deaths from COVID-19 has dramatically decreased and many people are getting vaccinated, I can anticipate this will soon change.
Passing the exam is no different than before essentially. There are four main elements towards successfully passing the exam.
#2- Understanding The Disease Processes
I hear people often say, “I will read through everything and then forget it the next day”. The main reason why this is, is because you don’t have a strong foundation in the pathophysiology. Knowing the pathophysiology means that you first understand each body system in the human body and how the physiological processes and functions work which is also called the anatomy and physiology. For example, the physiological processes in the cardiac system, the physiological processes in the respiratory system and etc. Once you have this understood well and you can articulate it to others then understanding and knowing the disease processes will be easier and faster.
Why do people struggle to learn the pathophysiology?
Because they honestly forgot it since they graduated more than a year ago or they did not receive it from their nursing education in the first place. They went through a poor nursing educational system that shut down and didn’t give them the most important component they need to hold the information that they learn.
A major resource I recommend to help you with understanding pathophysiology is Picmonic.
Picmonic is effective because they integrate very essential fundamentals in nursing alongside with heavy visual illustrations that make even the slowest learner to quickly learn a difficult or complicated topic. You can learn more about them by visiting their website here.
#3- Knowing the Content
You need to genuinely know different pieces of content. Yes of course there’s a lot of nursing content to know but if you focus on how much there is to know versus actually learning it, you will always be behind. How much information can you spend time learning this week? How many medications have you memorized? How many lab values do you know? How many mental health disorders have you really learned? This is the very beginning of knowing the content. If you can’t articulate what you know then you do it not know it. Point blank period. It’s time to get learning.
#4- Critical Thinking
There’s two components of critical thinking. One is understanding how, what, when the nurse prioritizes care and two comprehending how it all connects together. Grasping the information so well than you understand how it is applied in real world life scenarios which is essentially the questions on the NCLEX exam. Let me point out something very important, you have to first grasp all the other topics mentioned above BEFORE you really grasp critical thinking. Otherwise you’re going to find yourself in the same cycle over and over again. One technique I would recommend to help you learn critical thinking skills is doing practice questions AFTER you learn new content information. The issue that a lot of people do wrong is that they just do practice questions only and assume that the rationale from each individual question is all of the relevant information to that topic when it’s only a piece of the information; which is why it’s so important to first learn that topic in it’s ENTIRETY.
If you feel like you are really struggling in any of these areas, then register now for my free training, called, “How To Pass The NCLEX In 2021“.
Here’s what you will learn:
- How to better understand the diseases
- Common mistakes most test takers are making
- The biggest myth about the exam and why it’s NOT true
- How to effectively break down NCLEX questions
There will be no replay so you need to attend live to get access to the information.