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The NCLEX Test Preparation

Written by kimmel52

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

This is the day that you will sit for your nursing boards, and take the NCLEX.. Be sure that you have you ATT, (Authorization To Test) form with you. You will not be able to test without this form. You will also need to present picture identification. Of course now is not the time to ask yourself if you have studied enough, but hopefully you have. Many people who sit for the NCLEX have fears that they have not studied enough.

The truth is, that if you are taking the exam within a month or so after you have graduated from nursing school and have spent at least three hours per day studying various NCLEX tutorials, you should be just fine. It is important to relax. Don’t make the mistake of altering hair color or facial hair prior to the exam. Your picture has to match the application picture. You will also have to be thumb printed to take the NCLEX. In addition, bring a drink and some snack food for your testing break and wear layered clothing. Students that take the NCLEX in shorts and a tee shirt may find the testing center unbearable cold and be unable to concentrate. Remember, you have had two intense years of nursing practice and material. In addition to the material that you have studied in nursing school, you probably also had to do training modules on the internet. Try not to let yourself get caught up worrying about others who didn’t pass the NCLEX.

You do not know others study regime, focus only on yourself and what you have done to prepare for the nursing boards. If you are already working as a graduate nurse, it may be wise to ask for a day or two off prior to taking your boards. Many hospitals will gladly oblige in allowing their newly hired graduate nurses some time off to study for their boards. After all, the hospitals want their graduate nurses to get their Registered Nurses Licensure.

Hospitals will not allow graduate nurses to pass medications until they have their license. Hospitals will also pay you for the day that you sit for your nursing boards. It behooves those graduate nurses to begin work in a hospital setting soon after graduation. Many hospitals have two to three week classroom orientation for new nurses. These orientations cover hands on demonstrations of various nursing skills such as chest tube management, how to draw blood through PIC lines, I.V. insertion, tube feeding, PCA (Patient Controlled Analgesic Pumps) and many other skills.

This learning also benefits those who are preparing for the NCLEX, which is why it is advisable to start working prior to taking the boards. Now let’s get back to the NCLEX testing day. The place of testing will be a Pearson Vue. testing center.
The NCLEX CAT testing format stands for a computer adaptive testing format. The computer during the NCLEX test will give you harder questions if you answer a question correctly or easier questions if you answer a question incorrectly. The first question on the NCLEX will be below the baseline required passing score.
Once you have returned the reading material, you will be given a key. This is a key to one of the lockers in which you will put your belongings. You cannot take anything into the testing room with you. This includes any pocket change, comb, hair clips, wrist watch and anything else that you can think of that you may carry on your person. The next step is to verify your identification. You will be photographed and fingerprinted. Upon being called into the testing area, you will be fingerprinted again prior to entry into the testing room. The testing room is in constant view of the administrator, and there is also a camera above each person testing. You are given an erasable white board with marker for calculations. You are instructed to raise your hand if you need to leave the testing area or to use the facilities, after which the test administrator will escort you out. The test is scheduled for a maximum of six hours or two hundred and sixty five questions, or there about.

Due to the fact that the test is based on a computer adaptive testing format or CAT, you may finish the test before reaching the maximum number of questions. The number of questions that you finish with does not have any bearing on whether you passed or failed. Those that pass may do so with answering only seventy five questions or two hundred and sixty five questions. While testing you are allowed to take a break at any time, but the time is counted toward the total six hours. Once you have completed the test, you must raise your hand and be escorted out by the test administrator.

They will return your license to you and fingerprint you one last time. You can find out if you have passed or failed the NCLEX within forty eight hours, including Saturday’s and Sunday’s, either by checking the Pearson Vue web site, or by phone. There is a small charge between seven and ten dollars for this service. It usually takes about five working days from the time that your results became available to receive your Registered Nurse Licensure from the Nursing Boards of your state. Upon receiving your Registered Nurse Licensure, the rate of pay goes up from graduate nurse to staff nurse by several dollars or more, depending on the hospital organization. Your nursing license is good for one year.
During this time it is not mandatory to collect continuing education points toward license renewal. However, after one year, you will renew your license and will have to begin to earn continuing educational credits toward renewal of your license after two years. The state of Michigan requires twenty five continuing educational units for Registered Nurse License renewal. It is important to keep documentation of your continuing educational credits toward your license, because you can be audited by the State Board of Nursing at anytime. Failure to provide the State Board of Nursing proof of continuing educational credits or CEU’s may result in a temporary suspension of your license. Your license is public knowledge.
Anyone can access the State Nursing Boards to see who has had their license suspended or who is facing disciplinary actions. Therefore it is very important to protect your license at all time and to know your states Nurse Practice Act by laws. In abiding by the rules and regulations of your State Board of Nursing you will ensure safe practice as well as protect your license.
If you would like to find out more in regards to taking the NCLEX, you may contact your State Board of Nursing and Pearson Vue.

References:
Pearson Vue telephone: 1-866-496-2539
NCLEX.Examination Candidate Bulletin
NCSBN (National Council of State Boards of Nursing)

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