A traditional multiple-choice item typically presents a statement (stem) that asks a question. Usually, four statements that are potential answers follow the stem (options); one of which is the correct answer and three of which are incorrect answers (distractors). The test-taker must select the option that is the correct answer to receive credit for answering a traditional multiple-choice item correctly. By using these helpful tips brought to you by Davis Edge NCLEX- RN, you can improve your chances of selecting the correct answer.
Test-taking tip #2: Identify positive polarity of a stem.
◾A stem with positive polarity is asking, “What should the nurse do when . . .?”
◾The correct answer may be based on understanding what is accurate or comprehending the principle underlying the correct answer.
◾For example, a stem with positive polarity might say, “Which nursing action should a nurse implement when a patient who is being ambulated begins to fall?”
◾Study tip: Change the stem so that it reflects a negative focus and then answer the question based on a stem with negative polarity. For example, “Which action should a nurse not implement when a patient who is being ambulated begins to fall?”
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