Ready For Nursing School – Is the NCLEX Hard?

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Hi everyone. This is the nursing podcast from And today we are talking about getting ready for nursing school, but more specifically is the NCLEX hard. I love to be direct. So I will answer you right now and say that, yes, the NCLEX is hard. The NCLEX is probably the hardest test you will ever take. And I will tell you exactly why I say that. But before I talk about the NCLEX as a whole, let’s first talk about those NCLEX questions. The dreaded nursing or NCLEX style questions are very unique. One specific type of question that can be particularly stressful is SATA or select all that apply. It’s like answering six true false questions, except that if you get just one wrong, the entire question is wrong. So it’s not like the typical multiple choice where you have a 25% chance of getting it, right. These are a bit more challenging.

If you have to guess the odds are not going to be in your favor. Another unique thing is the questions that have multiple right answers. You may check your results after a test and compare them to the textbook and tell your teacher, Hey, I think it was correct. I got this right! However, your answer might not have been the most correct answer. Well, here’s the deal. The NCLEX says trying to gauge critical thinking. For example, do you know what is the best option in a certain situation? So let’s talk for a minute about questions with more than one, correct answer. And let’s walk through an example.

So what if you have a patient come to the hospital with a history of diabetes, they’re shaky, they’re clammy, they report feeling very hungry. What’s the right thing to do? Well, we should check their blood sugar. We should give them a serving of orange juice. But what if, both of those questions or answers were listed on your question on your test? Well, in this situation, it depends on what you already know. You want to confirm the patient is having low blood sugars. So you’re going to check that is a part of the assessment phase of the nursing care process. If you have an incomplete assessment, you should not move on to implementation yet. I am giving the orange juice. However, if we already know a blood sugar, then we now know the patient has low blood sugar reading, and we can decide what should be done. It’s not just about knowing the right things to do. You also need to be aware of the specific situation where you are in that nursing process. This is very important in practice, and it’s very important on the NCLEX.

If you’re not yet familiar with the nursing process, don’t worry. You will be, I’m not going to go into that now, but it will be your best friend. Now let’s talk about the actual NCLEX experience. I think it is very likely that this will be the hardest test that you ever take. Now, let me tell you why. You are going to get about a 50% on the NCLEX. I’m serious! You were going to get a 50% on the NCLEX. This is whether you pass or fail. However, on probably every other test that you’ve ever had to take 50% is failing, but you made it into nursing school. So my guess is that you haven’t failed too many tests in your life. So if you get a 50% on the NCLEX and you usually get 70 to 90% of questions right, This test is going to feel like the hardest test you have ever taken.

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When you walk out of the NCLEX, having just gotten half of the questions wrong, that might feel really bad, but it might not be. So how can that be? How can you get a 50%, whether you pass or fail? How can a 50% be good? Well, this is part of what makes the NCLEX so unique. The NCLEX algorithm is designed to choose questions that you have about a 50% chance of getting correct. It has a lot of data about every single question. And if you’re answering very difficult questions, correct half of the time, you’re going to keep getting those difficult questions. If you get several questions that are really difficult wrong, then you’re going to start getting slightly easier questions until you level off and start answering questions, right about 50% of the time, the test is literally changing, constantly adapting to get you 50% right half of the time.

So what changes is, how hard your questions are. However, the crazy thing is that all students will be getting half of their questions right. So the NCLEX should feel just as hard for a student that is failing miserably as a student, that is well above the passing standard. And at the end of the test, you would both get a 50% on your test. However, the NCLEX isn’t grading percent correct. It’s evaluating what level of questions you’re at, how hard are those questions, and if that level is above the passing standard or below the passing standard. So really the NCLEX may not be the hardest test you ever take, but it will probably feel like the hardest test you ever take. But remember the percent is not actually how you are graded. So don’t let yourself get disheartened while you were taking the NCLEX and don’t let those NCLEX style questions get you down.

You can do this. I know this is hard. I know there is so much to learn, but you can do this. I believe in you now go out and be your best self today and as always happy nursing.

Thank you for listening to our podcast today. is the trusted learning hub of all future nurses, your secret weapon for passing nursing school with your sanity intact. We want to invite all our listeners to visit us online and take advantage of a special promo offer. Just head over to that’s forward slash F R E E, and check out the free resources and other goodies that we have there just for our podcast listeners until next time, go out and be your best self today. And as always happy nursing.

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