3 Important Question Answering Strategies All Nursing Students Must Know!

As I am sure you are beginning to realize, understanding how to approach and answer certain types of questions can be just as difficult as the extensive content knowledge you have worked so hard to learn.

Sometimes, understanding the strategies to use can be just as important in passing the NCLEX!! I chose three question strategies to focus on today that I hope will help you the next time you are faced with a question of this type!


When approaching ‘Select All That Apply’ questions, it is very easy to become immediately overwhelmed. Try to avoid comparing all of the answer choices. Instead, look at each individual answer selection and view it as a true or false statement as it pertains to the question.


When a question contains the words like initial, priority, first – it is asking for your skills at prioritization. Usually, all of the choices are correct, but only one is the appropriate first choice. ABC’s- use ABC’s (airway, breathing and circulation). Airway problems or interventions to provide airway management are always going to be top priority. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs- Physiological needs come first before safety and security. If you have a question where the patient has multiple problems remember this! Nursing process- Always assess first! You can’t determine interventions and plans without an assessment unless that information has already been provided in the question.


Distractors are parts of a question that really have no bearing on the answer, but are meant to distract you and throw you off. The question below is a good example…the only part of the question that really matters is the last sentence, which is asking the different types of fluid volume deficits. (Hypertonic, Hypotonic, Isotonic) (Distractor – A post-operative patient has an IV of 0.9% NaCl D5W infusing. The nurse understands that the type of maintenance IV fluid given is based on the type of fluid volume deficit.) The nurse correctly identifies which of the following as categories of fluid volume deficits? Happy studying and have a great rest of your week!!