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Six Common Types of Questions Found on the NCLEX

Higher Education Articles March 9, 2013

Everyone who plans to become a registered nurse has to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to obtain licensure. This test is computerized and tests everything you have learned in your nursing degree program. In addition to assessing your level of factual knowledge, it also tests your ability to perform the job safely and with patients in mind at all times, as well as your ability to cope with a stressful job.

You can take up to six hours to complete the long and complex NCLEX-RN. Be careful to pace yourself and work steadily throughout the exam, so you do not rush your answers or waste any time. You do have to be constantly aware of the answers you give to the questions because each new question is based on the answer you provide to the previous one. This is what is meant by an adaptive test – which is what the NCLEX-RN is. If you find questions difficult to answer, this means you will have more of them to answer. There also may be several correct answers to the questions and this makes it particularly confusing.

NCLEX Questions to Prepare For

You can expect to find questions on sheer common decisions you will have to make as a nurse on this test. You will not receive a mark – just a Pass or Fail notification. This makes it hard to know where you have made a mistake, if you are not successful.

The test is difficult, but if you are diligent in your nursing studies and prepare for the exam, you should not have a problem. There are six common types of questions you will find on every NCLEX exam, and by being aware of these when you study, you should do well.

Question One – Hypothetical scenarios you may encounter on the job. In these questions, you will be presented with a scenario and choose the best course of action from the multiple choice answers. A commonly asked question deals with what you would do for a patient with chest pain in the emergency room. Read all the answers and narrow down the choices until you have the best one.

Question Two – Questions focus on the symptoms of a condition to determine whether or not you can make the proper choices for the patient. A sample question of this nature could concern symptoms of post-surgery problems for a patient recovering from hip surgery.

Question Three – Nurses need to be aware of milestones in a patient’s development. Some questions may be of this nature, such as determining which behavior would be a cause of concern about a child. An example would be to find the best answer to a question about abnormal behavior in a two-year old.

Question Four – Medication questions are certainly one of the types of questions on the NCLEX. You may be asked about medications used for certain conditions, such as allergies, when you should administer medication or what the proper dosage for a patient should be.

Question Five – Questions regarding illnesses and disease. Do you know the symptoms and signs of specific illnesses or diseases? If you do not, you better brush up, because you are going to be asked about them. For example, questions in the test will likely ask you to choose an answer that is not a symptom of a certain disease, from Hepatitis A to scarlet fever.

Question Six – Being able to diagnose a condition based on physical examinations is also something that you will have to do on occasion. For example, you may have to choose the correct answer about the physical exam required to test for scoliosis. Also, you might be asked which of the answers would be the reason for asking the patient to move in a specific way.

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