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Some Strategies For the NCLEX:

Here are some quick and helpful strategies that you can use for the NCLEX Exam.

Watch out for indication of a “prioritize” problem, which includes words like:

  • Best, First, Initial, Highest, Highest Priority

There will be plenty of prioritization questions in the NCLEX exam

Always Remember:

  • It is very important to look at the main “Subject” in the question.
  • It will be the specific content that question is asking about.

 Toxic effects, side effects and adverse reactions are all the same thing. Duh …

♦ Be careful to watch out for “important keywords

  • A patient is suspected to have a TB and is scheduled for tests, the nurse anticipates which  diagnostic test that will most likely be done to the patient?
  1. chest x ray
  2. skin testing
  3. sputum culture
  4. while blood cell count
  • The important keyword: most likely
  • It would have been very easy to say “chest x ray” but that would be the “most reliable” diagnostic test, but not the “most likely.”

♥ Eliminate options that contains “medical” (interventions), focus on Nursing Interventions.

  • A nurse is taking care of a patient with heart failure who is experiencing dyspnea and is suspected to have pulmonary edema, the nurse needs to immediately:
  1. Place the patient in a High Fowler’s position
  2. Insert foley catheter
  3. Obtain morphine sulfate and administer to patient
  4. Administer furosemida (lasix)
  • Answer is # 1  since it’s the only Nursing Intervention.


Tips for Select all that apply.

  • Try to visualize the procedure


TRY TO REMEMBER THE PREFIX AND THE SUFFIX OF MEDICATIONS !  ( this is really big and quite helpful during the exam)

The Prefix/Suffix can help you to categorize different drugs:


  • -kinase = thrombolytic
  • -thiazide = diuretic
  • -oxin = cardiac glycoside
  • -dipine = calcium channel blocker
  • -nitr- = nitrate/vasodilator
  • -kinase = thrombolytics
  • -ase = thrombolytic
  • -osin = Alpha blocker
  • -parin = anticoagulant
  • -statin = cholesterol lowering agent
  • -sartan = angiotensin II blocker


  • -tidine = antiulcer
  • -prazole = PPI’s
  • -sone = glucocorticoid, corticosteroid


  • -azepam = benzodiazepine
  • -azine = antiemetic; phenothiazide
  • -barbital = barbiturate
  • -caine = anesthetics
  • -ipramine = Tricyclic antidepressant


  • -olol = beta antagonist
  • -lone, pred- = corticosteroid
  • -phylline = bronchodilator
  • -cillin = penicillin
  • -cycline = antibiotic
  • -floxacin = antibiotic
  • -azole = proton pump inhibitor
  • -stigmine = cholinergics
    -terol = Beta 2 Agonist


• Methanol — Ethanol
• CO2 — Oxygen
• Dopamine — Phentolamine


Lithium patients must consume extra sodium to prevent toxicity (0.5-1.5):

  • • Digoxin- don’t give if heart rate <60bpm, watch for green/yellow vision… means toxicity.
  • • Don’t give non-selective beta-blockers to patients w/respiratory problems (anything ending in olol)
  • • Vitamin C can cause false +ive occult blood
  • • Avoid the ‘G’ herbs (ginsing, ginger, ginko, garlic) when on anti-clotting drugs (coumadin, ASA, Plavix, etc)
  • • ASA toxicity can cause ringing of the ears
  • • No narcotics to any head-injury victims (increases chance of respiratory arrest)
  • • Mg2+ toxicity is treated with Calcium Gluconate
  • • Do not give Calcium-Channel Blockers with Grapefruit Juice
  • • Oxytocin is never administered through the primary IV
  • • Lithium patients must consume extra sodium to prevent toxicity (0.5-1.5)
  • MAOI Patients should avoid tyramine:
  • ⁃ Aacados, bananas, beef/chicken liver, caffeine, red wine, beer, cheese (except cottage cheese), raisins, sausages, pepperoni, yogurt, sour cream.

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