Tips for Answering Bow-Tie Questions

Tips and strategies for answering NextGen NCLEX questions
Bow-tie questions are among the most challenging of the new NGN question types. Read on for 6 tips on how to successfully answer these complex questions.
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Tips and strategies for answering NextGen NCLEX questions
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Now that you’re almost finished with nursing school, you’re closer than ever to fulfilling your calling to be a nurse. But before you start as a practicing clinician, there is one more hurdle to clear — passing the Next Generation NCLEX® (NGN). This may be the hardest test you’ll ever take, and the updated exam will introduce new bow-tie questions to assess your clinical judgment. 

Bow-tie questions are among the most challenging of the new NGN question types because they measure all six steps of the clinical judgment measurement model in one question. But not all candidates will see a bow-tie question on the updated exam. Only candidates who continue to test after the minimum-length exam (85 questions) will receive a scored bow-tie question. 

NGN-style bow-tie item

Although you may not encounter a bow-tie question on the NGN, practicing answering this challenging question type can boost your confidence and reduce anxiety about the exam. As you become more comfortable with challenging questions, you will feel more prepared for the actual exam. 

Here are some tips for answering bow-tie questions on the NGN:

1. Read the question carefully

The first step in breaking down any complex question is carefully reading it. Take your time and make sure you understand what the question is asking. Don’t rush through it, or you may miss important details that could affect your answer.

2. Identify the main question

Once you’ve read the question, identify the potential condition [center] first. This is the main question that it’s asking. This can help you focus on what you need to answer and avoid getting sidetracked by the supporting information in the scenario.

3. Look for keywords

Look for keywords in the question that can give you clues about what the question is asking. These might include words like “first,” “priority,” or “increased/decreased.” Understanding what the question asks you to do can help you approach it more effectively. 

4. Break the bow-tie question into parts

Now that you have identified the potential condition [center], fill in the “actions to take” [left] answer choices. Treat each potential answer choice in the “actions to take” column as a true/false question. Once you have selected two actions, move to the “parameters to monitor” [right] column and repeat the process. 

5. Check your work

Once you have selected all your answer choices, double-check your work to make sure you have selected the correct answers. If you’re not sure, go back and review the question and answer choices again.

6. Practice answering bow-tie questions

The best way to prepare for the new item types on the exam is to practice. This will help you develop the skills you need to answer bow tie questions efficiently and accurately, and build your confidence for the exam.

In conclusion, the Next Generation NCLEX may be challenging, but with practice and the right approach, you’re likely to succeed. As you prepare for the exam, it’s essential to understand all the new question types, including bow-ties. By carefully reading the question, breaking it down into parts, double-checking your work, and practicing, you can master this new question type!

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