What nursing students should know about the ATI and passing the first time

November 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Lucia McNamara is a Junior 2 in the traditional BSN program who has a double major in nursing and Spanish. She is a member of SNAOU and the Dean’s Circle. Lucia currently works at Henry Ford Hospital on the Nephrology floor as a Nurse Assistant. In her free time, she likes to be outdoors – gardening, walking her two dogs or playing horse shoes.


We all fear the ATI at some point in our nursing student careers and if you have not yet heard of it, you will. The ATI is a standardized test that provides predictability of how likely one is to pass the NCLEX, nursing state boards, on the first try.

The school provides tests throughout the course of the program as it pertains to your progress in Med/Surg, Peds, OB, Mental Health, etc. These smaller tests start to prepare you for the final ATI, the big one, which you’ll take in your final semester as a Senior 2. In order to graduate you must pass this test.

There is often a misconception about what grade is considered passing. The SON requires an 88% probability of passing the NCLEX on the first try, which is equivalent to 68.7% on the test. THAT is not as scary, however, it still requires effort and study time to put into it. Remember, a 68.7% is equivalent to 88% probability of passing; that goes to show how difficult the ATI can be so do NOT take it lightly.

If you do not pass on the first try, you will get one more chance. If requirements are not made the second time, then you receive an unpassing grade of 2.4 in the course and will have to repeat the course. This may sound harsh and appears intimidating; however, it is just one more step that you must take to become a nurse. The school wants to ensure that we are prepared to be on our own, which can be intimidating!

So how do you pass the ATI on the first try? It starts on your first day of class…it is a comprehensive final! As you go through the course of the program, do not MEMORIZE information, learn it! I know it is hard when you are being hit in 18 different directions with information, but the more time you spend on learning the information the better it will be…not only for the ATI, but in other classes as well.

To critically think as nurses do, you must understand what it is that they are thinking about. When your final semester begins, approximately 50 different ATI quizzes will be made available. Use your resources! Re-take your past quizzes. But as you go through them, make sure you understand the answers. Whether you got it right or wrong, make sure to understand the answer. If you put your time in throughout the program, brush up on weak areas and review stronger areas, you will be fine! If I can do it, you can too!

The night before the exam, be sure to get a good night’s rest and rise early with a healthy breakfast! Take deep breaths and put your thinking caps on!


1 Comment

  1. 30 Great Blogs for Nurses said,

    […] Highlight: What Nursing Students Should know About the ATI and Passing the First Time […]

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