Tips for Taking an Exam

Whether it’s the NCLEX or any other important exam, there are some general rules of thumb that can increase your chances of passing. Keep in mind that these tips are to be used in conjunction with proper preparation and a lot of hard work and studying. Doing these things alone will not make a difference.

However, if you’ve prepared the way you should, these tips can help.

  • Tip #1: Don’t study the night before the test
    This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s a good idea. This tip assumes that you’ve already studied quite a bit, and you can study the DAY before the exam, but it’s best if you relax and rest the night before taking it. Studying may make you stressed or nervous, which could impact your ability to focus the next day. Some people who’ve taken the NCLEX say they did something fun the day before the test. But the important thing is, don’t study. Give yourself a night to relax and get a good night’s sleep.
  • Tip #2: Have everything ready the night before the test
    Before you start that evening of relaxation, make sure everything you need for the big test is ready. In other words, have your authorization letter, IDs, map and directions, and any other documentation you need, together and ready for you just to pick up and go the next day. This will reduce your stress the day of the test.
  • Tip #3: Eat a healthy meal before the test
    Your mother was right. Eating a good, healthy meal, especially breakfast if you’re taking the test in the morning, is essential for starting the day on the best foot (or taking a test). That doesn’t mean you overindulge or load up with carbs and sugar—that will only lead to a blood sugar crash or other digestive problems halfway through the test. But a balanced, healthy breakfast or other meal will keep you from getting hungry and allow you to focus.
  • Tips for Taking an Exam
  • Tip #4: Don’t skip questions
    This tip applies primarily to the NCLEX, but also may hold true for other examinations, especially if they are computer-based and multiple choice like the NCLEX. In the past, you may have been told that if you don’t know a question, skip it and move on to the next. If you’ve been told that for a specific test, then you should heed that advice. But when it comes to the NCLEX, it’s better NOT to skip any question. It’s better to guess and select an answer. You may have a better understanding than you think. Plus, the computer bases the next question on your answer to the current one. So make your best guess, and move on.
  • Tip #5
    Stay relaxed and focused. This is probably the most important tip of all. The more stressed you are, the more likely you are to forget information that you knew quite well just the day before.

Last Updated: 05/19/2014

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