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How To Master Drop-Down NG NCLEX Questions: Expert Tips

The Next Generation NCLEX (NGN) is set to begin in April 2023, establishing a new standard of competence for obtaining a nursing license. This updated exam is designed to better assess future nurses and prepare them for the ever-evolving nursing profession.

The NGN will also introduce new question types to challenge students' knowledge and clinical judgment. To help you solve these questions effectively and pass the NGN on your first attempt, ArcherReview is publishing a series of articles about these new question types.

In this article, we will discuss the Drop-Down question type of the Next Generation NCLEX and offer tips on how to solve them.

What are the Drop-down Questions in NGN?

A drop-down question in the NCLEX exam presents a client scenario with options to fill in the blanks. There are three variations of drop-down questions that we will be discussing.

  1. Drop-down rationale question: This question tests your understanding of cause and effect based on a client scenario. You will be given information about a client in an electronic health record (EHR.) Then, based on that information, you will complete a sentence by selecting the cause and one or two effects from the drop-down menus. These menus will have three to five options to choose from.
  2. Drop-down table question: It tests your understanding of cause and effect based on a client scenario. This type of question requires you to select options to complete statements. It may have two to three drop-down menus in each statement, with each menu offering three to five options to choose from.
  3. Drop-down cloze question: It will present you with a client's EHR and a statement containing one or more drop-down options. Each drop-down menu will offer a choice between three to five options, and each passage will have a minimum of one and a maximum of five drop-down menus.

Tips for Solving Drop-Down Questions on the Next Generation NCLEX:

  1. Read the question thoroughly:

    Before selecting an answer, it is essential to carefully read the question and all possible answers. This will help you understand what the question is asking and what information is being tested. It is also necessary to give attention to any words such as "not," "least," or "most" that can change the meaning of the question.
  2. Use the process of elimination:

    Drop-down questions often have a long list of possible answers, making it difficult to choose the correct one.

    To help narrow down your options, eliminate any answers that you know are incorrect. This will increase your chances of selecting the correct answer and make choosing a solution much more effortless.
  3. Look for keywords and phrases:

    Drop-down questions may contain keywords or phrases to help you determine the correct answer. Keywords and phrases can often be found in the question or in the possible solutions, and they can help you to understand the context and focus of the question.

    For example, suppose the question asks about a medication's "most common" side effect. In that case, the keywords "most common" and "frequent" indicate that you should look for the side effect that occurs most frequently among patients taking that medication and leave out the rare ones.
  4. Use your knowledge of nursing practice:

    The NGN is designed to test your knowledge of the nursing practice. Use what you have learned in your nursing courses and clinical experiences to help you select the correct answer. In addition, the NGN will test your understanding of nursing principles, procedures, and best practices, so it is crucial to have a strong foundation in these areas.

    For example, if the question asks about a particular medication, consider the side effects and administration instructions you have learned in your nursing courses and clinical experiences. This knowledge can be invaluable in determining the correct answer.
  5. Check for consistency:

    When solving drop-down questions on the NCLEX, it is vital to check for consistency between the information provided in the question and the answers you are selecting.

    The answer should be consistent with the information provided in the question and not conflict with any other options.

    Suppose the answer you have selected is inconsistent or contradicts other information in the question. In that case, it is likely not the correct answer.

    By checking for consistency, you can increase your chances of selecting the correct answer and avoid mistakes that could negatively impact your score.
  6. Practice, Practice, and more Practice:

    The more you practice, the more at ease you will become with the format and style of the questions, which will increase your confidence on exam day. Many resources are available for practicing drop-down questions, including NCLEX review books, online practice questions, and NCLEX review courses. Using the strategies mentioned in this blog is essential when practicing with these resources.

    It is also important to note any questions you miss and review the correct answer to understand why you made a mistake. This will help you avoid making the same mistake and increase your knowledge and understanding of the nursing practice.

    If you're searching for a course to help you prepare for the new question types on the Next Generation NCLEX, look no further than ArcherReview NCLEX Course and Qbanks. Our course and Qbanks are created by a team of experienced nurse educators, so you can be sure your NGN prep journey will be made easier.
  7. Trust your instincts:

    In standardized testing, it can be easy to second-guess yourself and feel overwhelmed by the pressure to perform. However, it is vital to trust your instincts and make an educated guess if you are unsure of the answer to drop-down questions on the NGN.

    Making an educated guess means that you have considered the information in the question, used your knowledge of nursing practice, and eliminated any obviously incorrect answers. Doing this increases your chances of selecting the correct answer, even if you are unsure of the solution.

Wrap up:

In conclusion, drop-down questions can be challenging, but you can effectively solve them with the right approach. Remember to read the question thoroughly, use the process of elimination, look for keywords and phrases, utilize your knowledge of nursing practice, check for consistency, re-read the question and answers, and trust your instincts.

Additionally, practicing with practice questions is a great way to improve your skills and increase your chances of success on the NCLEX exam.

Make sure to practice as many drop-down questions as possible to become comfortable with the format and to improve your accuracy. With these strategies in mind and a strong foundation in nursing practice, you will be well on your way to success on the NCLEX exam.