The NCLEX-RN test is meant to give nursing students a run for their money.
It is a difficult computerized test meant to predict with a 95% confidence interval whether or not a graduated nursing student meets the minimum level of competency to practice safely as a registered nurse. The test is adaptive, meaning high-scoring examinees will receive continuously more challenging questions and can expect less questions overall (minimum is 75 questions). Low performing examinees may have to test for up to 265 questions until the computer decides whether they have surpassed the minimal passing mark. The NCLEX exam now includes multiple testing formats other than simply multiple choice, including select all that apply, hotspot, ordered response, and fill in the blank responses. Due to these challenges, nursing students should be prepared to invest a significant amount of time, energy, and some money to adequately prepare to pass this important test. A failed test will result in additional costs (the price to take the test varies depending on your state, but usually costs around $300). One must also consider the lost income from being unable to start working as a registered nurse due to test failure and the time needed to study and retake.
There are many products tailored to graduating nursing students to assist them in preparing for NCLEX, including review courses in person (such as Kaplan), NCLEX review books, and software programs designed for improving knowledge and test taking skills. I got to personally experience a new tool for NCLEX review by UWorld. UWorld has been a trusted name in licensing exam preparation for medical students and has recently expanded their services to include nursing exam prep. The NCLEX-RN review software by Uworld contains an extensive question bank of over 1300 questions with detailed rationales developed by experienced nurse educators. The UWorld software also has mobile applications for Apple, Android, and Kindle to let students practice questions on the go wherever and whenever they have time. I enjoyed taking the test questions on my I-phone app, while sitting at the doctor’s office waiting room, and riding in the passenger’s seat on a long car drive recently. This is a great feature for assisting students to study “on the go”.
Demo Sample Question
As opposed to sitting with a bulky heavy NCLEX review textbook on one’s lap, UWorld provides an interactive, engaging format for reviewing nursing concepts that more closely mimics the actual NCLEX computerized test. This has the potential to decrease student anxiety with test taking, and increase confidence with one’s ability to choose the correct answer. I found the UWorld questions capable of challenging higher-order levels of thinking, including analysis and application of multiple concepts and levels. Another benefit is that UWorld’s system, as opposed to other software systems (like NCLEX-RN Mastery) contains over 30% alternate format questions similar to NCLEX-RN. These alternative format questions include select all that apply, hotspot and photo displays of such things as EKG strips, anatomical parts (where would you place the stethoscope?), ordered response, and fill in the blank (ex. math questions). The rationales explain the correct answer in detail, as well as provide rationales for each of the incorrect answers. According to the UWorld website, their slogan is “Designed to teach you not just test you”. I concur that this software teaches you through testing you.
Other benefits include the ability to create your own tests with the number of questions you want (up to 44), in the area you wish to review (Critical Care Nursing , Fundamentals of Nursing , Leadership & Management, Maternity, Medical/Surgical Nursing , Mental Health Nursing , Pediatric Nursing, and Pharmacology). There are timed and untimed modes, as well as tutored modes in which you will get immediate feedback and rationales on submitted answers. Students can track their overall performance in the different areas, looking at combined totals for various tests to see what areas they might be weaker in. UWorld also offers the ability for students to reset their test information once during their subscription, if subscribed to 180 days or longer. Primary technical support is offered via email and the UWorld website provides FAQ on many common technical issues. Phone support is offered by a case by case basis.
The UWorld NCLEX-RN software’s introductory rate starts at $49 a month. Nursing students can also pay $99 for three months access to give them more time to prepare. This is significantly less than a Kaplan course usually costs students. However, if money is tight, a nursing student can opt to purchase an NCLEX review book (like Lippincotts or Saunders) with up to 6000 review questions for $30-50 on Amazon, which even offers the ability to rent these books for even less cost. But for those who want a preview of what it really feels like to take the NCLEX, The UWorld software will provide this in a cost effective manner.