Thursday, May 28, 2015

Clearing the NCLEX-RN Exam Hurdle—Calmly

Tachycardia—a common NCLEX-RN exam room diagnosis. Nurses are trained to fly in the face of stress, but most of us are nevertheless unable to escape nerves when it comes to test taking.

Like the CFE for accountants and the bar for lawyers, the NCLEX-RN represents the final hurdle for student nurses. It’s what tells you whether you’re in or out of the professional club—following semester after semester of classes and practicums and stacks and stacks of flash cards.

At PRIMED, we know nursing is much more than textbook learning and test taking, but first things first: you’ve got to clear this final exam hurdle—and keep your heart rate down at a healthy bpm while doing so.

One of the best ways to do this is to take stock of all the skills you’ve already got under your belt and figure out how to apply them to the NCLEX-RN.

High on the list of nurses’ special skills is being able to distract people with something bright and shiny while doing something unpleasant to them with the other hand. With the NCLEX-RN, it’s time to use that skill on yourself. For example, every time you start studying a new exam topic, kick off with an Americano or a red velvet brownie cookie. Soon you’ll develop a Pavlovian response to pharmacological test questions that’ll last a lifetime (or at least through the end of the NCLEX-RN).

Nurses are also exceedingly good at combining the theoretical with the practical. When it comes to taking the NCLEX-RN, this means effectively and efficiently synthesizing data before coming up with an end action. Although in the case of the NCLEX-RN exam it means selecting the right answer on the screen rather than, say, administering 10 units of Humulin R, the brain pathways you use to get there are exactly the same.

But exams are scary, you say! It’s not the same thing as real-life practice! My palms get sweaty!

It’s true—exam situations can sometimes get the best of us.

That’s why during PRIMED’s two-day intensive NCLEX-RN Prep course, we give you tools to help with memory retention and recall, along with other tried and true test-taking techniques that you may have forgotten about since your last big exam.

And don’t forget, in addition to the PRIMED instructor, there’s also opportunity to utilize the fellow exam takers you meet during your PRIMED NCLEX-RN Prep course. Along with quizzing each other on nursing concepts, you can share your NCLEX anxieties with one another—just like group therapy.

Whether you plan on being loveable and by-the-book like Zoey from Nurse Jackie or sassy and take-charge like Carla from Scrubs, every nursing career begins with tackling the NCLEX-RN. You may have to bring your own red velvet brownie cookies, but PRIMED will help you conquer exam day nerves, so that you walk into the NCLEX-RN with the heartbeat of an elephant.