A Look at NCLEX Preparation for Xavier ABSN Students

Imagine your concern if someone not properly vetted for the nursing profession was responsible for your care. This is why every nursing school graduate must pass the NCLEX-RN® exam to legally practice the profession. Approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing, our ABSN program in Cincinnati provides the curriculum and preparation required to take this difficult licensure exam with confidence.

The NCLEX is different from any test you took during your undergraduate studies. It’s not the type of exam you start studying for a few weeks in advance. NCLEX preparation begins on your first day of nursing school and ends when you pass the exam.

According to Cheryl L. Leksan, Associate Director of Nursing for Online and Hybrid Nursing Programs at Xavier University, NCLEX preparation is more about learning how to apply the concepts you learned in nursing school and less about taking an NCLEX review course after graduation.

“We provide the education and support necessary to earn your nursing licensure. If you’re a good student who understands and can synthesize nursing concepts, an NCLEX review course may prove unnecessary,” noted Leksan.

However, a review course can provide the extra boost in confidence and test-taking strategies that may help you overcome the anxiety many new grads experience.

Our ABSN program, which blends online and onsite instruction, teaches and continuously reinforces the type of nursing content presented throughout the NCLEX. The exam’s questions, which fit within four “client need” categories, evaluate how well you can analyze and apply your nursing knowledge when making a patient care decision.

NCLEX Strategy

Much of the NCLEX comprises complex multiple-choice questions that are unlike any you’ve had to answer before. Therefore, as an ABSN student, we require you to purchase an NCLEX review book filled with thousands of practice questions. During the program, faculty will coach you on test-taking strategies, including how to break these questions down to get the correct answer.

It’s important for you to be able to dissect NCLEX questions because it’s impossible for us to teach you everything there is to know about nursing. There will most likely be questions on the exam that reference items unfamiliar to you. But don’t worry―we give you a solid nursing foundation that’s transferable to all types of patient care situations.

Did You Know?

The NCLEX-RN is not an exam about recognizing facts. It focuses on thinking through a program or situation.

For example, let’s say you get a question that focuses on a patient who has a bezoar and requires abdominal surgery, but bezoars are a mystery to you. From a nursing perspective, however, abdominal surgery is abdominal surgery. While you may not know what a bezoar is, your knowledge of post-op care for abdominal surgery should bring you to the correct answer. (In case you were curious, a bezoar is a tightly packed collection of partially digested or undigested material that can’t exit the stomach.)

Throughout the ABSN program, we also administer a series of proctored HESI exams that mimic NCLEX-style testing. These exams measure your ability to apply nursing concepts in relation to a particular clinical segment. HESI testing is an effective way for faculty to evaluate how well you comprehend the material and determine ways to further support your learning. The testing is also a good way for us to gauge your level of readiness for the NCLEX.

Students who do not pass a HESI exam are tasked with improving their level of understanding by way of

Elsevier Adaptive Quizzing (EAQ). Serving as a formative learning tool, EAQ adapts to their knowledge level and reinforces content that poses the most challenge to them.

NCLEX Study Tips

Did You Know?

Good critical thinking skills are necessary when taking the NCLEX. You may get a question that seems to have multiple “right” answers. Your task will be to choose the one that best fits the scenario.

When studying for the NCLEX on your own, we recommend concentrating on those content areas where you had the lowest HESI scores. It’s also best to study one content area at a time, ensuring you fully grasp the material before moving to the next subject.

A good way to gauge your understanding of a concept is to stop reading and try explaining it to someone. If you can’t explain it, then more studying is required. Because our ABSN program is highly rigorous, we recommend that students form study groups to help each other keep pace.

Studying with others lets you know if you’re learning a concept properly. And it doesn’t matter if you’re the strongest or weakest student in class; everyone benefits from participating in a study group. Let’s say you’re the strongest student in class. By helping those who are struggling, you’re able to reinforce your knowledge and, in turn, become an even stronger student.

NCLEX Format

The NCLEX is a pass/fail exam that uses a computer adaptive testing (CAT) format. With this type of testing, each examinee is administered questions that are adapted to his/her skill level. For example, when you answer a question correctly, your next question will be slightly more difficult. But if you were to answer incorrectly, the next question would be slightly easier.

While you don’t receive a numerical exam score, the computer assigns value to each question you answer correctly. The more difficult the question, the more value it has. Everyone who takes the NCLEX must answer a minimum of 75 questions, but no more than 265, within a six-hour timeframe.

Once you achieve the “point value” required for passing, you will be done with the exam and can consider yourself a registered nurse. Failure occurs when you are unable to answer questions at or above the level of difficulty that’s required to pass. The CAT format makes it possible to properly assess whether someone is ready to provide safe, effective care as an entry-level nurse.

NCLEX Registration

Once you’ve graduated from our ABSN program, you’ll need to submit a licensure application to the Board of Nursing in the state where you plan to practice. Then, you’ll have to register for the NCLEX exam, with testing available all year long and almost every day of the week. If you plan to practice nursing in the ‘Buckeye State’, the NCLEX test center closest to our university is in Mason, Ohio, less than 20 miles away.

X Marks the Spot

If you’re ready to get moving on your nursing degree, Xavier will provide you with a great education that not only prepares you to take the NCLEX, but also gives you the path to enter the nursing profession with confidence. Speak with an admission counselor today about your future in health care.

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