Select-All-That-Apply questions, or SATA questions, are an indicator that you’re getting answers right on the NCLEX. Why? SATA questions are considered more difficult. With the adaptive nature of this exam, you receive difficult or easy questions based on your response to the last question.
If you get an SATA question, that means you’ve been answering questions correctly. Now, on to how to tackle these questions…
Pay More Attention to the Question Than the Answers
It is sometimes tempting to glance through the answer choices before truly understanding the question. You think that you may be able to guess the right answer based on a few key words in the question. Although students do this in an effort to test faster, the results are often disastrous. It is important to thoroughly read the question and digest its meaning before even looking at the answer choices, especially with questions as tough as the SATA questions.
Avoid Grouping or Connecting the Answers to One Another
Since each answer choice in a SATA question may or may not be true, you can’t categorize them. It’s tempting to do this, again because it seems like it will help you answer it faster. However, it can easily cause you to choose the wrong answers, or to miss selecting all that really do apply. Look at each choice as its own individual answer before choosing or eliminating it.
Look closely at all answer choices, searching for absolute terminology. You can almost always mark these out without a further thought. Why? They are usually the wrong choice. Words like “always, “never,” “all,” “complete,” or “none” indicate blanket statements, which are almost never possible in the real world.
Recognize That You’ll Select at Least Two
It’s helpful to note that for most SATA questions, there are always at least two correct answers. That saves you from ever being tempted to select only one answer choice. This tip becomes useful when you arrive at an SATA question and can’t figure out how more than one of the possible answers could be right. You now know that you need to put a little more thought into these questions that stump you.
Practice This Type of Question
Finally, the most important way to ensure that you correctly answer SATA questions on the NCLEX-PN is to practice them. You can find practice SATA question in study guides or online.
All in all, while SATA questions are more difficult, they are not impossible to get right. Spend some time practicing and recognizing a few strategies to make sure you do well on these questions.
Sally B. is an online writing tutor as well as a professional writer and editor. She holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature.