NCLEX Sharpening Your Test-Taking Skills

To be as sharp as possible when answering test questions, follow these steps:
• Identify the parts of a question
—the scenario which tells you about the situation
—the stem which contains the actual problem/question to be answered
—for multiple choice questions, the options or alternatives, which consist of one correct answer (the key) and three distracters or incorrect answers. Distracters sometimes answer a different question than the one asked in the stem or they may assume information not provided in the stem. As a result, they can seem like a good choice and hence are good distracters. Remember that if any part of an option is incorrect, the whole answer is wrong.
• Read the words in the question carefully. Identify “tricky” English words and think about their meaning. Jot down the meaning over each such word and then reread using the definition.
• Determine what the question is asking—read twice and try rephrasing it in easier terms. Once you identify the specific question and its subject, then you can focus on what you know about it.
• Identify what facts provided in the stem or scenario are relevant to the question.
• Ask if the option makes sense for this client—eliminate the option from consideration if the answer is No—even if under other circumstances it is a high-priority action.
• Look for key words—those that direct the answer—when you read the question. Take special note of a negative key word.
• As you read the question, think of your answer and then see if it is among the choices. Do not select the first answer that looks right; however, read all the options carefully.
• Always select an answer within the RN scope of practice.

Which of the following is a basic nursing responsibility related to drug administration?
1. Monitoring the client’s response to the administration of the drug Correct
2. Determining the appropriate drug dosage
3. Selecting the best route of administration of the drug
4. Ordering the drug from the pharmacy
• When not certain of an answer, select the most complete
Which is the best definition of a medication?
1. Chemical that treats symptoms of disease
2. Drug used for a therapeutic effect Correct
3. Pharmacological preparation used to reverse disease
4. Plant, animal, or mineral substance which prevents disease
• Do not change your answer unless you are certain it is incorrect.
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