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December 18, 2023

10 Tips to Pass the Next Gen NCLEX Exam

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Ginelle Testa
UbiSim Story Teller

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Preparing for the Next Gen NCLEX might seem daunting, especially with the recent changes introduced on April 1st, 2023. These changes, focusing on clinical judgment, bring a fresh set of challenges for nursing students. But don't worry! This article is your guide to navigating these new waters. 

We'll explore practical and effective strategies to help you get ready for these innovative test questions. From understanding the test's unique format to using the latest learning tools, we're here to make your journey to NCLEX success a little less overwhelming and a lot more manageable.

10 Tips to Prepare for the Next Gen NCLEX

1. Familiarize yourself with the NCLEX test format

The Next Gen NCLEX is designed to be a personalized experience for each test taker. It uses a computerized adaptive testing (CAT) format, which means that every exam is unique and specifically tailored to the individual. In order to prepare for this new format, it's crucial to understand the structure and types of questions you'll encounter.

The exam comprises anywhere from a minimum of 70 to a maximum of 135 scored questions. The NGN algorithm generates new questions based on your performance. These questions include the following formats:

  • Extended Multiple Response Questions
  • Extended Drag and Drop Questions
  • Cloze (Drop–Down) Questions
  • Enhanced Hot spot (Highlighting) Questions
  • Matrix/Grid Questions

The exam concludes when you either pass the test by correctly answering enough questions to stay above the passing line with 95% confidence or when you fail to meet the passing line with 95% confidence. 

2. Review the NCLEX test plan

Study the content areas and nursing concepts covered in the exam to prioritize your studying and focus on the most important topics. The NCSBN has developed a detailed test plan you can download to familiarize yourself with all of the aspects. 

3. Practice with sample questions & simulated exams 

Regularly complete practice questions and simulated exams to assess your knowledge and identify weak areas. Pay attention to both the correct and incorrect answer explanations to gain a better understanding of the concepts. ArcherReview has a question bank with rationales on why you got questions wrong; reading these can help solidify learning. 

4. Build a study schedule

It can be helpful to create a schedule to study regularly. Kaplan has an NCLEX quiz question of the day you can take to build preparation into your day and test your knowledge.

You can build a schedule by taking an honest look at your patterns. Are you a night-owl or an early bird? Will studying in the middle of the day help or be feasible? Identify when will be the most effective time to study and create a schedule. Consider adding blocks of time to your calendar so you’re committed!

5. Utilize case studies

Case studies are a valuable tool for preparing for the new NCLEX test questions. Using a case study can help develop critical thinking skills and allows you to apply knowledge in realistic scenarios. Analyzing case studies, engaging in discussions, and practicing time management are all important aspects of utilizing these resources effectively. 

6. Seek guidance from nursing faculty or mentors

Consult with your nursing instructors or experienced nurses who have successfully passed the NCLEX. Even though their version was a little different, they can still provide valuable insights, study tips, and personalized guidance. They may even be able to give you a pep talk to help you be positive that you can pass!

7. Join study groups or online forums

Collaborate with peers, perhaps in your nursing school, who are also preparing for the NCLEX. Discussing concepts, sharing study materials, and exchanging strategies can enhance your learning experience. You can set up study sessions together, making the experience more manageable and providing support to one another. 

8. Review the clinical judgment measurement model 

Reviewing the clinical judgment measurement model is crucial for students preparing for the new NCLEX test questions. The model helps assess a nurse's ability to make sound clinical judgments, and as we said, clinical judgment is a big part of this new test. 

The six steps in the model are:

  1. Recognize cues
  2. Analyze cues
  3. Prioritize hypotheses
  4. Generate solutions
  5. Take action
  6. Evaluate outcomes

9. Use immersive virtual reality (VR) to develop clinical judgment

Immersive virtual reality (VR) is a valuable tool for developing clinical judgment skills in preparation for the new NCLEX test questions. VR simulations provide realistic and interactive scenarios for students to practice patient care, make decisions, and learn from the consequences. 

The safe learning environment allows for repeated practice and exposure to diverse patient populations, enhancing critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and cultural competence. Incorporating VR into nursing education programs prepares students for the challenges of the NCLEX and their nursing careers.

UbiSim is a VR training platform built entirely for nursing students and nurses by nurse educators. Hear from one of our users, Dr. Jill Van Der Like, Director of the Nursing Skills & Simulation Learning Center and Assistant Professor of Clinical Practice, UWF: “Our second quarter pass rates were 100%. Students have a rich discussion, and [UbiSim] is a powerful way to process the concepts for NCLEX.”

10. Take care of your physical and mental well-being

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing stress is crucial during the preparation phase, whatever “healthy” means for you! Perhaps it's more sleep and some movement or relaxation and self-care. Do what works for you so you can be in the best position possible to succeed on the Nex Gen NCLEX. 

Final thoughts

Don't stress! There's reason to be optimistic. The pass rate for Q2 2023 (after the release of the NGN) was 94.32%! This is so much higher than in past years. You have a great chance at passing the Next Gen NCLEX with flying colors by following some of these tips. 

Interested in trying UbiSim in your healthcare institution?
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Ginelle Testa
UbiSim Story Teller

As an integral center of UbiSim's content team, Ginelle pens stories on the rapidly changing landscape of VR in nursing simulation. Ginelle is committed to elevating the voices of practicing nurses, nurse educators, and program leaders who are making a difference.

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