5 Best Kept Secrets to Master Pharmacology Questions for NCLEX-PN Exam

NCLEX exams are scary enough to give you nightmares, and it has been the cause of many students’ anxiety and sleepless nights. One of the most hellish experiences that students have to go through is learning Pharmacology while preparing to take their NCLEX exams as preparing for Pharmacology is tough. You have to remember many medications and their corresponding values, possible side effects, and how to treat them. So it suffices to say that Pharmacology is one of the toughest subjects in the NCLEX syllabus. Thus, we have got some of the little-known tips and tricks to help you master pharmacology for your NCLEX-PN exam. So let’s dive in!

1. Focus on Prefixes and Suffixes

It is not humanly possible to learn the names of so many medicines, their exact doses, and their usage. It is even harder to summon all the knowledge during an exam because you will be able to solve two more questions during that time. Therefore, this approach is not efficient at all. So, instead of trying to learn about all the medicines, you can focus on their prefixes and suffixes.

Usually, in NCLEX exam papers, medicines with similar prefixes or suffixes fall in the same category and have a similar use. If you know the prefix or the suffix of medicine, and you know that it belongs to a specific group, then the drug mentioned in the question might belong to the same category as well. This way, you will be able to solve that question much faster. Though this trick doesn’t work always, it is a good trick which wins on the basis of probability.

2. Learn the Mechanism of Action by Heart

The mechanism of action, as most of you probably know by now, is a term which refers to the biochemical interaction of a drug with the cells of a host body. It tells us about how a drug would react with the target cells of a body. From the NCLEX exam point of view, it is imperative that you learn the mechanism of action thoroughly. Being the fact that if you know the action mechanism of a drug in depth, you can easily predict the side effects, and how you can create an antidote for them.

Therefore, if you understand the mechanism clearly, you can solve complicated questions with relative ease. These type of questions tend to irritate a lot of students, and the best way to tackle them is by preparing. So, if you can’t understand by your tutor how the whole deal works, then seek online help. There is no shortage of study material like notes, tutorial videos podcasts, and books on the internet.

3. Study in Different Ways

Learning never stops. While you are preparing for the NCLEX exam, you need to utilize every bit of time you have. But, it gets tedious and boring if you keep poring over books repeatedly. Also, studying in one style only remains effective for some time, it stops being fruitful after that. To bypass this hiccup, you should have some variety in your study methods. Don’t just study from books; appoint online videos, discuss with fellow exam takers, your professors, etc.

Keep an open ear at all times and scoop up new information wherever you can find it. Also, teaching others can also be helpful as it may clear your doubts, and make sure that you remember delicate and crucial bits of information. You can gather a bunch of friends who are struggling with the topics you’ve already studied and in the way of mutual benefit, you can teach them the subject while revising what you had already learned.

4. Know What Works Best for You

While advice givers are many, you should always be able to filter random knowledge dropping in from an actual intellect. What we mean to say is, while preparing to take your NCLEX-PN examination or any other exam for that matter, you will be given a lot of unwanted advice. But, you need to understand what works for others – your friends, family, and teachers – might not work for you. So, you need to try and find a way which is the best fit for you.

If you are more productive when you take frequent breaks, then do that. Or if you realize that long continuous study session is the best way for you, then you shouldn’t let others talk you out of the same. When it comes to remembering a lot of names and corresponding values, you should, however, make a point of writing them all down at once. Generally, we remember better if we write something down rather than just reading it once or twice.

Another thing that you should do is frequently ask your friends to ask questions related to Pharmacology. This will make your memory sharp, and your brain will be forced to remember these names and values. Also, you should tape your cheat sheet for pharmacology near your desk or anywhere you’d look over it a couple of times a day for regular revision.

5. Use Other Resources too

Apart from books, notes and tutorial videos, you can also take help of other tools that are available to help you get in the best shape to take on your NCLEX exams.

Podcasts

One of the most effective ways to be mobile and productive at the same time is a podcast. We spend a lot of time commuting here and there on cars, buses, etc. and we spend even more time in lines at the cash registers, taking walks or doing other daily chores. While you are getting ready to take on NCLEX-PN, that time can prove fatal.
Using educational podcasts, you can learn and carry out your daily duties at the same time. For Pharmacology specifically, Podcasts like ‘Med of the Day Podcast’ is probably the best one out there and is free as well. Each podcast is five minutes long and goes over 140 medications that are important from the NCLEX point of view.

140 Must Know Meds

It is virtually impossible for an exam taker to memorize all the medications. The pressure is too high, and if the candidate piles on too much, then the chances are that he/she might mix up the medicines and answer the NCLEX-PN questions wrong. There is just too much material to go through, so a better alternative is NRSNG’s ‘140 Must Know Meds’. It is a collection of most prescribed medications along with all the information about them that is required for you to ace the Pharmacology section.
It is a great, and more to the point, cost-effective way to prepare of Pharmacology if money is a little tight and you can’t take NRSNG’s Med Master course, which is the last tool on the list.

MedMaster

Developed by NRSNG, this course is a streamlined collection of knowledge that exam-takers or new nurses require. Packed with over 30+ hours of video and audio lectures, NCLEX-PN practice question papers and NCLEX cheat sheets, this course is all you need to pass your NCLEX-PN exam. From Pharmacology point of view, the makers of this course understand how incredibly frustrating the subject can be, and there is a need for proper, complete knowledge and resources for the aspirants.
The solution to all these issues is the MedMaster online course. The most striking feature of this course is the availability of many free NCLEX-PN practice questions. It is a well-accepted notion that by solving mock exam papers, you train your brain for actual exams.

Conclusion

Pharmacology is tough, and we get it. Learning all those medications, their doses and related stuff can be a difficult task. By using the tips mentioned above, you can make sure that you study Pharmacology the way it is meant to be analyzed. You would not only memorize the medications and their corresponding values, but understand them as well. All the best!

Pharmacological Test

  1. The doctor has prescribed Prostaglandins eye drops to a 65-year-old woman for open-angle glaucoma on both eyes. The recommended dose of Prostaglandins is 1 drop in the affected eye in the evening for 8 weeks. Each bottle of Prostaglandins eye drops contains 15 mcg/ml.  How many bottles would be required to complete the full course:
    • 1bottle
    • 2 bottles
    • 3 bottles
    • 4 bottles

    Answer: a

    Rational:

    Prostaglandins solutions are eye drops prescribed for Glaucoma, and each bottle contains doses in ml. The total bottles required can be calculated as follows:

    Drop to Millilitre conversion
    1 drop = 0.05 mL 20 drops = 1ml
    Total Drops required
    2 drops×2 eyes×1 time×56 days (8 weeks) =224 doses (drops)
    Total Volume required
    224 x 0.05ml = 11.2ml
    Divide total volume by each bottle quantity
    11.2
    ——- = 0.75 bottle (1 bottles roundup)
    15

    To complete the prescribed 8 weeks course for the open-angle glaucoma on both eyes, the patient will require 11.2 ml Prostaglandins solutions.  Getting a bottle containing 15 ml would be sufficient to cover the prescribed course.

  2. The doctor has prescribed liquid medicine to an infant and a child. Which of the following is a safe and easy way to give medicine:
    • Give medicine with a spoon
    • Lie down the child and administer medicine.
    • Mix the medicine in sweet chocolate and give it to the child.
    • Drip the medicine on the back of the tongue using medication dropper or syringe.

    Answer: d

    Rational:

    Using a spoon, making a child lie down, or mixing medicine in sweet chocolate are a wrong technique for administering medicines to an infant or child. The good technique is using a dropper or syringe, and pouring or dripping the medicine on the back of the tongue.

  3. Which of the following statement is not true about the HPV vaccine:
    • The HPV vaccine is recommended beginning at the age of 6 years through age 15 years.
    • Two-dose series of the HPV vaccine is recommended for age 9 through 14 years. 
    • People, who have an allergic reaction to the first dose of HPV vaccine, should avoid taking the second dose.
    • Mild fever, headache, soreness, and redness where the shot is administered are some of the side effects of the HPV vaccine.

    Answer: a

    Rational:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends FDA approved Human papillomaviruses Vaccine (HPV) to men and women for protection against Cancers that are caused by HPV infection. CDC suggests 2-doses series for age 9 through 14 years and advice 6-12 months difference between each dose. The recommended dose for age 15 and above is a 3-dose series, and the interval between the first and second dose should be 1-2 months, and the first and third dose should be 6 months.

  4. Which of the following is a side-effect from the Cholinoreceptor Blocker (Atropine):
    • Diarrhea
    • Bradycardia
    • Urinary Retention
    • Hyperhidrosis

    Answer: c

    Rational:

    Atropine is a muscarinic receptor antagonist used for the treatment of various conditions including low heart rate, bronchial secretions before surgery, reduced saliva and antidote for an overdose of mushroom poisoning and cholinergic drugs. The excess or repeated dosing side effects of Atropine include urinary retention, constipation, palpitations, blurred vision, dizziness, lack of sweating, headache, tachycardia and more. Diarrhea, Bradycardia, and Hyperhidrosis are not common side effects of the Atropine.

  5. A 30-year-old woman in her late pregnancy is advised high blood pressure medications. Which of the following blood pressure lowering medication is not safe for the pregnant woman:
    • Methyldopa
    • ACE inhibitors
    • Labetalol
    • Beta Blockers

    Answer: b

    Certain precaution is needed when taking high blood pressure medication because some groups of medications are safe, but other groups of medications may harm others. The ACE inhibitors and the angiotensin II receptor blockers are high blood pressure medication, but not advised and safe for women in late pregnancy because it may cause harm to mother and baby. The pregnant woman should never use ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers.

  6. Which of the following type of alkalosis occurs due to lack of normal amount of potassium:
    • Metabolic alkalosis 
    • Respiratory alkalosis 
    • Hypokalemic alkalosis
    • Hypochloremic alkalosis

    Answer: c

    Rational:

    The primary reason for Hypokalemic alkalosis is lack of normal amount of the mineral potassium that body needs. The deficiency in mineral potassium in the body is caused by diarrhea, sweating too much, or a disease of the kidney. The body needs Potassium for the proper functioning of digestive and nervous system, kidney, heart, and muscles. 

  7. The following is not considered as a side effect from chemotherapy:
    • Alopecia
    • Cognitive problems
    • High white blood cell count
    • Fertility problems

    Answer: c

    Rational:

    Chemotherapy is a popular treatment for cancer.  It prevents the progress of cancer by killing Cancer cells and restraining growth and dividation. There are also sever adverse and side-effects from Chemotherapy including fertility problems, low blood platelet count, low white cell count, blood clotting problems, anemia, cognitive problems, nausea and vomiting, and more common side-effects.

  8. Which of the following about prescribing Aspirin is not true:
    • Prevents Blood clots
    • Cure Toothaches
    • Treat Allergic reactions
    • Relieves Arthritis pain and swelling

    Answer: d

    Rational:

    Aspirin is usually prescribed for relieving mild to moderate pain, fever, and swelling. The doctors also recommend it as a blood thinner to prevent the formation of blood clots for reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. However, certain precautions are necessary when taking Aspirin. It is harmful if a person is allergic to medications such as Aspirin, pain and fever relievers, and other salicylates and allergies.

  9. The nurse is performing the Mantoux tuberculin skin test  (TST) on a patient by administering purified protein derivative (PPD). Which of the following is the TST injection:
    • Subcutaneous injection (SC)
    • Intramuscular injections (IM)
    • Intravenous (IV) injection
    • Intradermal injections (ID)

    Answer: d

    When performing TST, 0.1 ml of tuberculin purified protein derivative (PPD) is injected into the inner surface of the forearm by an Intradermal Injection made with a tuberculin syringe. 

  10. Which of the following is true about IV Medication:
    • IV administration is easy to use
    • Helps in controlling the dose
    • IV administration directly sends medication to the bloodstream.
    •  IV Medication acts on the body slowly.

    Answer: d

    Rational:

    An intravenous (IV) injection or infusion is administered to send medication directly into the vein and bloodstream. IV Administration benefits include control over the dose and administer medication directly to the bloodstream through a vein. It is also highly beneficial during emergencies such as stroke, heart attack, poisoning, and other serious medical conditions because the medication acts fast in the body through the bloodstream. While IV administration is considered safe, it can also provide side effects because the medication is quickly absorbed in the body through the bloodstream. So, if there is any side effect or allergic reaction, it can happen quickly.  

  11. Which of the following statement is not correct about the use of Central Venous Catheters (CVCs):
    • It is used for frequent and long-term treatment.
    • More than one drug can be administered.
    • It is used for short-term treatment
    • Used for self-treatment at home.

    Answer: c

    Rational:

    Central venous catheters (CVCs) are also known as Central Lines, or Central Venous Access Devices (CVADs). CVCs are commonly used for giving medicines and blood products, taking blood samples for multiple tests, and sending fluid directly to the blood. Most of the patients get CVC for long-term therapy and treatment or self-treatment at home. CVC is also used to give nutrients, Chemotherapy for cancer, kidney dialysis, and to administer more than one drugs. Standard IV lines are also used to give medications or fluid to patients, but they are mostly used for short-term treatments.

  12.  The physician has prescribed Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) to a 35-year-old woman suffering from anxiety disorder and depression. The nurse is explaining about the side effects and risks of SNRIs. Which of the following is not a side-effect of SNRIs:
    • Excessive sweating
    • Nausea
    • Excessive mouth watering
    • Erectile dysfunction

    Answer: c

    Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), also called dual-acting antidepressants and dual reuptake inhibitors are FDA approved antidepressant drugs for treating depression.  SNRIs block two brain chemicals – norepinephrine and serotonin. There are also possible common side-effects of all SNRIs including nausea, changes in sexual function, dry mouth, dizziness, excessive sweating, headache and more. Dry mouth is a common side-effect, but excessive mouth watering is not the symptom of the antidepressant drug.

  13.  Which of the following medication is associated with the change of Urine color to Red:
    • Chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
    • Warfarin (Coumadin)
    • Methocarbamol (Robaxin)
    • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

    Answer: b

    There are various reasons for changes in Urine color and odor. The changes may point to certain mild to serious medical conditions, or it may be harmless because the color may have changed due to medications, foods, vitamins, or consumption of lots of water. Natural Urine color is light yellow to a deeper amber color, but it may change to Red, Brown, Blue or Green, or Orange. Taking Warfarin (Coumadin) can change the color of urine to Red. Warfarin is a blood thinner, and doctors prescribe it to patients who have blood clots (deep vein thrombosis – DVT or pulmonary embolus-PE), a heart valve replacement, atrial fibrillation, and certain types of surgeries.

  14. Under which medical condition, the doctor prescribes Tetracycline:
    • Acne
    • Cold and Flu
    • Pneumonia
    • Anthrax 

    Rational:

    Tetracycline hydrochloride is a prescription antibiotic used for the treatment of a wide range of infections caused by the bacteria. Tetracycline can only treat infections caused by the bacteria; it will not treat any viral infection such as cold and flu. Prescription and over the counter Antiviral medications are given to treat viral infection.

  15. A 24-year-old man has an allergic reaction to bees sting, and the nurse is injecting epinephrine injection, USP. Which of the following is correct about administering  epinephrine injection:
    • Inject intravenously
    • Inject into the anterolateral aspect of the thigh
    • Inject into the buttock
    • Inject into the hands

    Answer: b

    Rational:

    Epinephrine injection Auto-Injectors is injected for allergic reactions caused by insect bites and stings, medications, foods, and other various allergic reactions. Epinephrine injection should only be injected into the anterolateral aspect of the thigh. It can also be injected through clothing but never should be administered into the buttocks, hands, feet, or any other body parts.

  16. Which of the following barbiturate combination is most commonly prescribed to treat bladder spasms, intestinal cramping, and irritable bowel syndrome:
    • Fioricet
    • Nembutal
    • Donnatal
    • Butisol

     Answer: c

    Rational:

    Several barbiturates and medications containing the substance are sold as prescription and over the counter drugs.  Prescription barbiturates combination drugs are used to treat various conditions and symptoms, but the continuous and longer use of these drugs leads to addictions. Donnatol, due to its antispasmodic and anticholinergic properties is commonly prescribed for treating bladder spasms, intestinal cramping, and irritable bowel syndrome.

  17. Which of the following is not truly a side effect of Methotrexate:
    • Nausea
    • Mouth ulcer
    • Vomiting
    • Permanent hair loss

    Answer: d

    Rational:

    Methotrexate is highly beneficial in treating rheumatoid arthritis. It offers minor to mild side-effects. Temporary hair loss is a minor side effect of using Methotrexate, but effect goes away once the treatment is completed. Methotrexate does not cause permanent hair loss.

  18. Which of the following is not a Schedule IV Controlled Substance drug:
    • Clorazepate (Tranxene)
    • Midazolam (Versed)
    • Robitussin AC
    • Triazolam (Halcion)

    Answer: c

    Rational:

    Controlled substances are Drugs, substances, and certain chemicals that are used when making drugs. The Controlled Substance Act (CSA) has classified Controlled Substance into five schedules- I, II, III, IV, and V depending upon the abuse, potential of the dependence risk of drugs, harm, and acceptance in the medical use. Schedule IV Controlled Substance drugs have a low risk of abuse as compared to substances in schedule I, II, and III. Similarly,  Robitussin AC is a Schedule V Controlled Substance drug that has a lower potential for abuse compared to other scheduled drugs.

  19. Which of the following medicines is not considered safe for controlling mild to severe hypertension in pregnancy:
    • Labetalol
    • ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors
    • Methyldopa
    • Nifedipine

    Answer: b

    Rational:

    Antihypertensive agents such as labetalol, Methyldopa, hydralazine, and Nifedipine are considered safe for use in pregnant women. However, certain drugs are not safe for use. Several studies findings show that angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE inhibitors ) is not safe if used during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. It can cause malformation and fetal renal damage.

  20.  Which of the following is not a side-effect of oral corticosteroids:
    • Fluid retention
    • Low Blood Pressure
    • Weight gain
    • Glaucoma

    Answer: b

    Corticosteroids including hydrocortisone, cortisone, and prednisone are anti-inflammatory medicines, used in treating various health conditions including asthma, lupus, COPD, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rashes, and more. However, caution is necessary when using because these drugs have the potential to give serious side effects. High Blood Pressure is also another strong risk because the use of Corticosteroids causes the body to retain fluid that increases the blood pressure.

Reference
https://www.nrsng.com/master-nursing-pharmacology/

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