The NCLEX stands for National Council Licensure Examination. It is a test required for graduates of nursing programs to obtain their licenses by demonstrating that they have the necessary abilities and knowledge to become nurses.
Any nurse who wants to be able to work in the United States needs to pass this exam to obtain their license in their state.
Are There Changes Coming to the NCLEX Exam?
Healthcare delivery is constantly changing and evolving, which is why the NCLEX exam is reviewed from time to time.
The goal of the changes made to the new generation of the NCLEX exam is to improve patient outcomes and simulate the hospital workspace, focusing on improving clinical judgment for new nurses.
Here you'll find helpful information about these changes and updates to the NCLEX Exam, which are based on the importance of testing candidates in their critical thinking, judgment, and decision-making skills.
NCLEX Exam Updates 2023
Although clinical nursing skills are needed to pass the exam, the test does not test clinical knowledge directly. The NCLEX is a written exam. Each question is expected to take about one minute to answer.
The test questions will give each nurse relevant and irrelevant information about the situation so they can assess the situation and clinical presentations and decide what is relevant to the case. Once they have chosen, they should establish a hypothesis and again prioritize which hypotheses would be most urgent. Finally, the nurse should indicate the most appropriate actions or interventions and evaluate the results and outcomes.
Through the following six steps, you can better understand the reasoning behind each question:
- Recognizing Cues: What is the situation?
- Analyzing Cues: Which cues are relevant and irrelevant to the problem?
- Prioritizing Hypothesis: Select the relevant cues.
- Generating Solutions: What can be done about it?
- Taking Action: Deciding the treatment and prioritizing.
- Evaluating Outcomes: What could have been done differently?
Why Were the New Changes Incorporated?
Within these changes, environmental and individual factors are also considered, and in this examination, nurses are expected to recognize all relevant information from different sources.
The reason for having these changes in the test is to improve care and avoid unnecessary deaths due to clinical errors, which happen pretty often in hospital settings.
The present question format changes are as follows and can be adapted to different contexts and formats. Generally, you have the case on the left side of the screen and on the right side, the answers to choose from:
- Extended multiple response.
- The extended multiple-response questions allow the nurse to select all the answers from a longer list, allowing the applicant to assess which ones apply.
- Extended drag and drop.
- From a list on the left side of the screen, the nurse must select the items that apply and drag them to the right column. This extended drag and drop allows the nurses to understand the situation better and thus discard unnecessary choices. Similar questions in the past are identical in that not all items in the left column will always use as correct answers.
- Cloze or drop-down.
- In a sentence, chart, or table, drop-down lists are inserted to select the correct option from this list. Generally, it is expected that for each case study, the nurse must answer up to 6 drop-down questions.
- Enhanced hot spot.
- The candidate will try this question to highlight the correct answers in a paragraph, solutions that can be predefined words or sentences.
- Matrix / Grid.
- From a matrix, a group of items arranged in a table or rectangle, the nurse should check the appropriate items in the matrix. There will probably be columns showing into which category the sentence should fall.
- These changes are intended to give nursing students real-world situations and opportunities to make decisions so that their knowledge is applied to the pursuit of improved healthcare and the protection of the public.
How Do I Prepare for the Next Generation NCLEX?
In general, nursing schools should prepare this type of test in their curricula and seek to improve the clinical skills of nurse applicants. Still, if you are concerned about passing this exam, it is essential to be well-prepared.
- Evaluate sample case studies that are available on the official NCSBN website.
- Search for resources and review them.
- Understand the new format of the exam and prepare yourself by practicing as much as possible in advance.
- Practice your critical thinking skills.