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Pass Your Nursing Boards

Written by kimmel52 on March 23, 2008 – 12:05 am

By Nancy Lydia Kimmel R.N., Ph.D., C.H.M.M.

Preparing for the national boards begins as soon as a nursing student begins nursing school. Licensure as a Registered Nurse is granted upon a student passing the national boards or NCLEX. Passing scores are based on the amount of questions that the nurse gets correct in relation to the national average. Therefore there is no discrete passing grade. The fact that nursing students are started on licensure testing preparation so early into their curriculum is a testimony to those nursing schools with the highest and most numerous passing scores. Choosing a nursing school should be based on credentialing and the schools success rate of passing the national boards. Certain schools that are not accredited will be able to graduate nurses with an Associate Degree in Applied Science. However, graduates from these unaccredited schools will not be able to continue to their bachelors in nursing at an accredited university. The same is to be said of diploma nurses.

Passing the national boards is the final culmination of all of the work a student nurse has put into nursing school. The methods of teaching and the type of questions students have to answer throughout nursing school are structured to help them pass the boards. Board exam preparation classes are also mandatory toward the end of the nursing curriculum. These NCLEX preparation classes are offered for a period of four consecutive eight hour days. There is no extra charge to the students for this preparation. These classes are usually administrated a few days after graduation from the program. This intensive preparation is not only helpful to the students to successfully pass the boards, but boosts the schools standing and credentialing as well.

As to whether or not students should seek out extra tutoring for the national board exam is entirely up to the student, and depends on how much extra remediation they feel that they need to increase their comfort level. Many nursing students complain about the way that questions are worded in their nursing school exams. Instructors will always explain that the reasoning for this is to help the students develop the analytical thought process necessary to pass the boards. The most helpful study tools for nursing school exams as well as the national boards are the NCLEX study guides. As students use these guides continuously they develop the mind set to answer similar questions posed to them in class and on boards. There are numerous NCLEX guides on the market. It is up to the student to find the one that helps them the most. Using more than one guide can also help a student learn to critically think about questions. The student should consult with their nursing department and nursing instructors as to which of the guides out there will give them the best test preparation. Some teachers will offer students a private tutoring session for NCLEX review. The student would be encouraged to take advantage of any nursing instructor willing to help students out on their own time, even for a fee. These types of instructors care about their students and want them to be successful.

There are also computerized tests that nursing students must take in order to graduate. These tests are online and they are timed. The nursing student’s grade on these tests is not added in to their class grade. These tests are a separate entity altogether. The purpose of these tests is to measure the student’s competency in each of the fields of nursing curriculum and compare their scores with other nursing students from their school as well as with the rest of the nation. The student gets a print out of their results upon completion of each competency test. The school also gets the score and keeps a record of those students who did not pass as well as those who did. Those students that did not pass the exams are instructed to repeat the test again until they receive a passing score. The scores are listed by a number and if the student scores at a level that is termed, /”unsafe”, /then the student must retake the exam. Those students who do not take these online exams seriously are surprised that when it comes close to graduation they are prevented from graduating because they did not finish or repeat the tests with a passing score.

Nursing school is stressful right at the starting gate and keeps up the pace up until graduation. All of this constant bombardment with nursing tests and computerized competency tests are designed to assist the student pass the national boards.


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