The NCLEX-RN® Cram Sheet
This cram sheet contains the distilled, key facts about the licensure exam. Review this information just before you enter the testing center, paying special attention to those areas where you feel you need the most review. You can transfer any of these facts from your head onto a blank sheet provided by the testing center. We also recommend reading the glossary as a last-minute cram tool before entering the testing center. Good luck. GENERAL TEST INFORMATION
1. Minimum 75/maximum 265—The maximum time allotted
for the test is 6 hours. Don’t get frustrated if you need to take the entire number of items or take the entire allotted
time. Get up and move around and take breaks if you need
2. Take deep breaths and imagine yourself studying in
your favorite location—Take a small item with you that
you have had with you during your study time.
3. Read the question and all answers carefully—
Don’t jump to conclusions or make wild guesses.
4. Look for keywords—Avoid answers that include always,
never, all, every, only, must, no, except, or none.
5. Watch for specific details—Avoid vague answers.
Look for adjectives and adverbs.
6. Eliminate answers that are clearly wrong or incorrect—
Eliminating any incorrect answer increases the probability
of selecting the correct answer by 25%.
7. Look for information given within the question and the
answers—For example, the phrase “client with diabetic
ketoacidosis” should bring to mind the range of 7.35–7.45 or normal pH.
8. Look for the same or similar wording in the question
and the answers.
9. Watch for grammatical inconsistencies—Subjects and
verbs should agree, meaning singular subject, singular
verb or plural subject, plural verb. If the question is an
incomplete sentence, the correct answer should complete
the question in a grammatically correct manner.
10. Don’t read into questions—Reading into the question
can create errors in judgment. If the question asks for an
immediate response or prioritization of action, choose the
answer that is critical to the life and safety of the client. 11. Make an educated guess—If you are unsure after
carefully reading the question and all the answers, choose
C or the answer with the most information.
NORMAL LAB VALUES
12. Serum electrolytes—It is important for you to remember these normal lab values because they might be included in
questions throughout the test.
. Sodium: 135–145 mEq/L
. Potassium: 3.5–5.5 mEq/L
. Calcium: 8.5–10.9 mg/L
. Chloride: 95–105 mEq/L
. Magnesium: 1.5–2.5 mEq/L
. Phosphorus: 2.5–4.5 mg/dL
13. Hematology values
. RBC: 4.5–5.0 million
. WBC: 5,000–10,000
. Plt.: 200,000–400,000
. Hgb: 12–16 gms women; 14–18 gms men
14. ABG values
. HCO3: 24–26 mEq/L
. CO2: 35–45 mEq/L
. PaO2: 80%–100%
. SaO2: > 95%
15. Chemistry values
. Glucose: 70–110 mg/dL
. Specific gravity: 1.010–1.030
. BUN: 7–22 mg/dL
. Serum creatinine: 0.6–1.35 mg/dL
(< 2 in older adults)
*Information included in laboratory test may vary slightly
according to methods used
. LDH: 100–190 U/L
. CPK: 21–232 U/L
. Uric acid: 3.5–7.5 mg/dL
. Triglyceride: 40–50 mg/dL
. Total cholesterol: 130–200 mg/dL
. Bilirubin: < 1.0 mg/dL
. Protein: 6.2–8.1 g/dL
. Albumin: 3.4–5.0 g/dL
16. Therapeutic drug levels
. Digoxin: 0.5–2.0 ng/ml
. Lithium: 0.8–1.5 mEq/L
. Dilantin: 10–20 mcg/dL
. Theophylline: 10–20 mcg/dL
17. Vital signs (adult)
. Heart rate: 80–100
. Respiratory rate: 12–20
. Blood pressure: 110–120 (systolic); 60–90 (diastolic)
. Temperature: 98.6° ?/–1
18. Maternity normals
. FHR: 120–160 BPM.
. Variability: 6–10 BPM.
. Contractions: normal frequency 2–5 minutes apart;
normal duration < 90 sec.; intensity < 100 mm/hg.
. Amniotic fluid: 500–1200 ml (nitrozine urine-litmus
paper green/amniotic fluid-litmus paper blue).
. Apgar scoring: A = appearance, P = pulses, G =
grimace, A = activity, R = reflexes (Done at 1 and 5
minutes with a score of 0 for...
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