The ever-advancing landscape of the healthcare industry calls for nurses who are not only skilled but can demonstrate acute critical thinking and decision-making abilities. The Next Generation NCLEX (NGN), the newest iteration of the National Council Licensure Examination, aims to evaluate these exact qualities.

Among the many changes in the NGN, the inclusion of matrix/grid questions is significant. These questions are akin to unfolding case studies, assessing your skills in making safe client care decisions. This blog post delves into the concept of matrix/grid questions, their importance, and some invaluable tips to crack them on the NGN exam

What are Matrix/Grid Questions?

Matrix/grid questions offer multiple answer options for each row of a simulated Electronic Health Record (EHR). Designed like a case study, these questions enable multiple correct answers. You’re required to select an answer from each row, with the radio buttons indicating the correct choices.

In the NGN, you will encounter EHR mock-ups with tabs or layers presenting patient information. Based on this, you’ll have to select appropriate assessments or interventions. Essentially, matrix/grid questions gauge your ability to extract relevant information from the EHR to make sound decisions.

Why are Matrix/Grid Questions Crucial in the Next Generation NCLEX?

Incorporating matrix/grid questions in the NGN mirrors the current healthcare trends, which require nurses to be highly competent. These questions allow candidates to

demonstrate their ability to gather, interpret, and apply patient data while selecting suitable care interventions.

Matrix/grid questions also measure your critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and problem-solving skills. These skills are key to safe and effective patient care, and hence, these questions provide a comprehensive assessment of your clinical judgment skills.

Tips for Solving Matrix/Grid Questions

While matrix/grid questions might seem daunting at first, with the right preparation and practice, you can effectively tackle them. Here are some valuable tips:

  1. Read the Instructions Carefully: These questions are often complex and layered. Ensure you understand the requirements before you start answering. Carefully read the instructions and the Review any patient’s medical record in the EHR as needed.
  1. Understand the Patient’s Case: A deep understanding of the patient’s case, as presented in the EHR, is crucial. Review the patient’s medical history, current health status, pre-existing conditions, allergies, medications, and recent
  1. Utilize Your Critical Thinking Skills: Critical thinking is key when solving matrix/grid Use your nursing knowledge and clinical judgement to make informed decisions.
  1. Practice: Regular practice will hone your skills in analyzing patient cases and making informed decisions. Utilize practice exams and review materials designed for the NGN


Matrix/grid questions form a vital part of the Next Generation NCLEX, serving as an accurate measure of the clinical judgement skills required in today’s healthcare landscape. By understanding the structure of these questions and honing your critical thinking skills, you can conquer this aspect of the NGN exam.

Just remember, the key to success lies in practice and preparation. Stay focused, manage your time effectively, and regularly practice using sample questions and mock exams. Your road to becoming a competent and successful registered nurse is paved with the lessons learned from each question you tackle on the NGN exam. Remember, every challenge you overcome brings you one step closer to your nursing licensure dream.

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