Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The NCLEX-RN Challenge: How to Sit for up to Six Hours

A lot of ground is covered in PRIMED’s intensive two-day NCLEX Prep course, which you can learn more about here and here. However, we can’t cover everything. So while the NCLEX-RN Prep instructors focus on platelets, paediatrics, and Penrose drains in class, here let’s take a look at how to—dun dun duh—survive up to six hours in the exam room.

If you’ve got an 8 am NCLEX-RN appointment, it’s tempting to roll out of bed and head immediately to the test centre. Avoid this at all costs: you don’t want to still be groggy when you take your seat. Even more importantly, you need time to:

Drink your coffee early. Way early. If there’s one thing you don’t need to take with you to the NCLEX-RN, it’s a dose of diuretic. Add that on top of a nervous bladder and minimal time for bathroom breaks, and it can make for one uncomfortable exam situation.

Photo: Petr Kratochvil (CC)
On this note, you’ll want to be hydrated, but not too hydrated (see above). Make sure you bring a bottle of water and a snack, which you can access during breaks—the first of which comes 2 hours in, and the second another 3.5 hours after that.

Being comfortable for marathon exams like the NCLEX-RN is important, but there are two schools of thoughts on how to dress. One says, even though you may have finally outgrown your yoga pants, it’s time to bust those comfy suckers out once again. The other says, “dress well, test well.” That is, according to theories of embodied cognition, if you show up to the NCLEX smartly dressed, you’ll be more confident. The choice here comes down to your own psychology. Either way, wear layers, so you can modulate your temperature.

Last but not least: Although we all know how to properly sit at a computer, most of us still slump like we’re giant gummy bears. While sparring with CAT, be aware of your posture to avoid eventual back pain, and also periodically stretch out your toes and fingers to keep the blood pumping and to allow your mind to take a little itty bitty break.

One last time, for good measure: Remember, no venti lattes before the NCLEX.