NCLEX-RN Cram Sheet for Nursing Exams: 2019 Update

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NCLEX-RN Cram Sheet for Nursing Exams (2019 Update)

Updated NCLEX-RN cram/sheet sheet for 2019

This NCLEX-RN cram sheet or cheat sheet can help you prepare as it contains condensed facts about the nurse licensure exam itself and key nursing information. When your time to take the NCLEX comes, you can write or transfer these vital information from your head to a blank sheet of paper provided by the testing center.

We all know that the final mountain that nursing students must summit before becoming a registered nurse is passing the NCLEX. Reviewing and preparing for the NCLEX can be stressful as taking in colossal amounts of information has never been easy.

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NCLEX-RN Cram Sheet

Test Information

  • Six hours – the maximum time allotted for the NCLEX is 6 hours.
  • Take breaks – Take breaks if you need a time out or need to move around. First optional break is offered after 2 hours of testing, next is offered after 3.5 hours of testing. All breaks count to your allotted six hours.
  • 75/265 – the minimum number of question you can answer is 75 and a maximum of 265. Of the 75 questions, 60 will be scored question and the remaining 15 are pretest or unscored questions.
  • Read the question and answers carefully – do not jump into conclusions or make wild guesses. Read the entirety of the question including its choices before selecting your final answer.
  • Look for keywords – avo >NCLEX Question Types

The following are the question types for the NCLEX-RN, all are included in the NCLEX-RN cram sheet.

  • Multiple-Choice –These questions provide you with data about client situation and given four options to choose from. Most common question type.
  • Fill-in-the-Blank – This format is usually used for medication calculation or computing an IV flow rate. Type only a number for your answer in the box. Rounding an answer should be done at the end of the calculation or as what the question specifies. Type in the decimal point if necessary.
  • Multiple-Response – You’ll be asked to select all the option that relate to the information asked by the question. There may be two or more correct answers and no partial credit is given for correct selection.
  • Ordered-Response – In this format, you’ll be asked to use the computer mouse to drag and drop your nursing actions in order or priority. Based on the information presented, determine what you’ll do first, second, third, and so forth. Directions are provided with the question.
  • Figure or Hotspot – A picture or graphic will be presented along with a question. This could contain a chart, a table, or an illustration where you’ll be asked to point or click on a specific area. Figures may also appear along with a multiple-choice question.
  • Chart/Exhibit –A chart or exhibit is presented along with a problem. You’ll be provided with three tabs or buttons that you need to click to obtain the information needed to answer the question.
  • Graphic Option – In this format, options are pictures rather than text. Each option is preceded by a circle that you need to click to represent your answer.
  • Audio – In this format, you’ll be required to listen to a sound to answer the question. You’ll need to use the headset provided and click on the sound icon for it to play. You’ll be able to listen to the sound as many times as necessary.
  • Video – This will require viewing of an animation or video clip to answer the accompanying question.

Vital Signs

  • Heart rate: 80—100 bpm
  • Respiratory rate: 12-20 rpm
  • Blood pressure: 110-120/60 mmHg
  • Temperature: 37 °C (98.6 °F)

Hematology values

We’ve included in this NCLEX-RN cram sheet are the common laboratory and diagnostic values you need to memorize for the exam.

RBCs 4.5 – 5.0 million per mm 3
WBCs 4,500 – 11,000 per mm 3
Neutrophils 60 – 70%
Lymphocytes 20­ – 25%
Monocytes 3­ – 8%
Eosinophils 2 – 4%
Basophils 0.5 – 1%
Platelets 150,000– 400,000 per mm 3
Hemoglobin (Hgb) 12 – 16 gm (F);
14 – 18 gm (M).
Hematocrit (Hct) 37 – 47 (F);
40 – 54 (M)

Serum electrolytes

Sodium 135 – 145 mEq/L
Potassium 3.5 – 5.0 mEq/L
Calcium 8.6–10 mg/dL
Chloride 98 – 107 mEq/L
Magnesium 1.2 – 2.6 mg/dL
Phosphorus 2.7-4.5 mg/dL

Acid-Base Balance

Use the ABG Tic-Tac-Toe Method for interpreting. Learn about the technique at: (

pH 7.35 – 7.45
HCO3 22 – 26 mEq/L
Pco2 35 – 45 mmHg
PaO2 80–100 mmHg
SaO2 >95

Chemistry Values

Glucose 70 – 110 mg/dL
BUN 7-22 mg/dL
Serum creatinine 0.6 – 1.35 mg/dL
LDH 100-190 U/L
Protein 6.2 – 8.1 g/dL
Albumin 3.4 – 5.0 g/dL
Bilirubin Urine Test Normal Values
Color Pale yellow
Odor Specific aromatic odor, similar to ammonia
Turbidity Clear
pH 4.5 – 7.8
Specific gravity 1.016 to 1.022
Glucose Normal Glucose Values
Glucose, fasting 70 – 110 mg/dL
Glucose, monitoring 60 – 100 mg/dL
Glucose tolerance test, oral
Baseline fasting 70 – 110 mg/dL
  • 30-min fasting
110 – 170 mg/dL
  • 60-min fasting
120 – 170 mg/dL
  • 90-min fasting
100 – 140 mg/dL
  • 120-min fasting
70 – 120 mg/dL
Glucose, 2-hour postprandial Therapeutic Drug Levels
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 10-20 mcg/mL
Carbamazepine (Tegretol) 4 – 10 mcg/mL
Digoxin (Lanoxin) 0.5 – 2.0 ng/mL
Gentamycin (Garamycin) 5 – 10 mcg/ml (peak),
Cardiac Markers
Creatinine kinase (CK) 26 – 174 units/L
  • CK-MB
0%-5% of total
  • CK-MM
95%-100% of total
  • CK-BB
Troponin I 1.5 ng/mL indicates MI)
Troponin T > 0.1-0.2 ng/mL indicates MI
Myoglobin Anticoagulant therapy
Sodium warfarin (Coumadin) PT 10 – 12 seconds (control). The antidote is Vitamin K.
INR (Coumadin) 0.9 – 1.2
Heparin PTT 30 – 45 seconds (control). The antidote is protamine sulfate.
APTT 3 – 31.9 seconds
Fibrinogen level 203 – 377 mg/dL

Unit Conversions

1 teaspoon (t) 5 ml
1 tablespoon (T) 3 t (15 ml)
1 oz 30 ml
1 cup 8 oz
1 quart 2 pints
1 pint 2 cups
1 grain (gr) 60 mg
1 gram (g) 1,000 mg
1 kilogram (kg) 2.2 lbs
1 lb 16 oz
Convert C to F multiply by 1.8 then add 32
Convert F to C: subtract 32 then divide by 1.8

Maternity Normal Values

  • Fetal Heart Rate: 120—160 bpm
  • Variability: 6—10 bpm
  • Amniotic flu >STOP

Treatment for maternal hypotension after an epidural anesthesia:

  • Stop infusion of Pitocin.
  • Turn the client on her left s >Pregnancy Category of Drugs
  • Category A—No risk in controlled human studies
  • Category B—No risk in other studies. Examples: Amoxicillin, Cefotaxime.
  • Category C—Risk not ruled out. Examples: Rifampicin (Rifampin), Theophylline (Theolair).
  • Category D—Positive ev >Drug Schedules
  • Schedule I—no currently accepted medical use and for research use only (e.g., heroin, LSD, MDMA).
  • Schedule II—drugs with high potential for abuse and requires written prescription (e.g., Ritalin, hydromorphone (Dilaud >Medication Classifications
  • Antac >Rules of nines for Burns

Calculating Total Body Surface Area (TBSA) for burns

  • Head and neck: 9%
  • Upper limbs: 18% (9% each)
  • Trunk: 36%
  • Legs: 36% (18% each)
  • Genitalia: 1%


  • Digoxin (Lanoxin)—Assess pulses for a full minute, if less than 60 bpm hold dose. Check digitalis and potassium levels.
  • Aluminum Hydrox >Watch out for (WOF) respiratory depression and hypotension.
  • Amiodarone (Cordarone)—WOF diaphoresis, dyspnea, lethargy. Take missed dose any time in the day or to skip it entirely. Do not take double dose.
  • Warfarin (Coumadin)—WOF for signs of bleeding, diarrhea, fever, or rash. Stress importance of complying with prescribed dosage and follow-up appointments.
  • Methylphen >Developmental Milestones
  • 2—3 months: able to turn head up, and can turn s >Cultural Considerations

The NCLEX-RN Cram Sheet also includes cultural considerations for different patients:

  • African Americans—May believe that illness is caused by supernatural causes and seek advice and remedies from faith healers; they are family oriented; have higher inc >Common Diets

Included in the NCLEX-RN cram sheet are the common diets for patients in different conditions:

  • Acute Renal Disease—protein-restricted, high-calorie, flu >Positioning Clients

Included in this NCLEX-RN cram sheet are the recommended position for different disease conditions.

  • Asthma—orthopneic position where patient is sitting up and bent forward with arms supported on a table or chair arms.
  • PostBronchoscopy—flat on bed with head hyperextended.
  • Cerebral Aneurysm—high Fowler’s.
  • Hemorrhagic Stroke: HOV elevated 30 degrees to reduce ICP and facilitate venous drainage.
  • Ischemic Stroke: HOB flat.
  • Cardiac Catheterization—keep site extended.
  • Epistaxis—lean forward.
  • Above Knee Amputation—elevate for first 24 hours on pillow, position on prone daily for hip extension.
  • Below Knee Amputation—foot of bed elevated for first 24 hours, position prone daily for hip extension.
  • Tube feeding for patients with decreased LOC—position patient on right s >Common Signs and Symptoms

The NCLEX cram sheet will also help you review the common signs and symptoms for various diseases.

  • Pulmonary Tuberculosis (PTB)—low-grade afternoon fever.
  • Pneumonia—rust-colored sputum.
  • Asthma—wheezing on expiration.
  • Emphysema—barrel chest.
  • Kawasaki Syndrome—strawberry tongue.
  • Pernicious Anemia—red beefy tongue.
  • Down syndrome—protruding tongue.
  • Cholera—rice-watery stool and washer woman’s hands (wrinkled hands from dehydration).
  • Malaria—stepladder like fever with chills.
  • Typho >Miscellaneous Tips

Other nursing tips and skills you need to know that are included in the NCLEX-RN cram sheet.

  • Delegate sterile skills (e.g., dressing change) to the RN or LPN.
  • Where non-skilled care is required, delegate the stable client to the nursing assistant.
  • Assign the most critical client to the RN.
  • Clients who are being discharged should have final assessments done by the RN.
  • The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) can monitor clients with IV therapy, insert urinary catheters, feeding tubes, and apply restraints.
  • Assessment, teaching, medication administration, evaluation, unstable patients cannot be delegated to an unlicensed assistive personnel.
  • Weight is the best indicator of dehydration.
  • When patient is in distress, administration of medication is rarely the best choice.
  • Always check for allergies before administering antibiotics.
  • Neutropenic patients should not receive vaccines, fresh fruits, or flowers.
  • Nitroglycerine sublingual is administered up to three times with intervals of five minutes.
  • Morphine is contraindicated in pancreatitis because it causes spasms of the Sphincter of Oddi. Demerol should be given.
  • Never give potassium (K+) in IV push.
  • Infants born to an HIV-positive mothershould receive all immunizations of schedule.
  • Grav >NCLEX-RN Cram Sheet Online Resources
  • NCLEX-RN Official Website (
  • Registration for the NCLEX (
  • NCLEX-RN Practice Questions—Over 2,100 free sample questions (
  • 20 NCLEX Tips and Strategies Every Nursing Students Should Know (
  • 12 Tips to Answer NCLEX Select All That Apply (SATA) Questions (
  • 5 Principles in Answering Therapeutic Communication Questions—great tips on how to answer TheraCom questions (
  • 11 Test Taking Tips & Strategies For Nurses (
  • Nursing Bullets—collection of bite-sized nursing information, great for reviews! (
  • Kevin’s Ultimate Gu >NCLEX Review Books

This NCLEX-RN cram sheet is best paired with these review books:

  • Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN by Silvestri, 6th edition (
  • Saunders Q & A Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination by Silvestri, 6th edition (
  • Saunders 2014-2015 Strategies for Test Success – Passing Nursing School and the NCLEX Exam by Silvestri, 3rd edition (
  • Saunders Q&A Review Cards for the NCLEX-RN Examination by Silvestri and Silvestri, 2nd edition (
  • Davis’s NCLEX-RN Success by Lagerquist, 3rd edition (
  • Mosby’s Comprehensive Review of Nursing for the NCLEX-RN Exam by Nugent et al., 20th edition (
  • Kaplan NCLEX RN 2013-2014 Edition: Strategies, Practice, and Review (
  • Lippincott’s NCLEX-RN Questions and Answers Made Incredibly Easy, 5th edition (
  • Lippincott’s NCLEX-RN Alternate-Format Questions, 5th edition (

See Also

  • NCLEX Practice Questions
  • 20 NCLEX Tips and Strategies Every Nursing Students Should Know
  • 12 Tips to Answer NCLEX Select All That Apply (SATA) Questions
  • 10 Brilliant Tips to Overcome Test Anxiety
  • 10 Quick Tips Before Taking the Nursing Licensure Exam (NLE)
  • 11 Test Taking Tips & Strategies For Nurses
  • 5 Must-Read Communication Principles Before You Take the Board Exams

NCLEX-RN Cram Sheet for 2019

Post was originally published on February 2015 and updated as of January 2019.

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