Your initial thought on certification exams is usually correct. You may have heard it before as “going with your gut.” Instead, you are going with your initial impression of the material and the question. If you read the question carefully, then your first response should be correct.
As nurses, we were taught to collect data and then make an educated decision. When it comes to taking certification exams, many of us will overanalyze a question. Using thorough assessment skills, nurses tend to overanalyze exam questions. Though you came up with an initial answer, you may begin to doubt yourself as you think about additional information, some of which may not be relevant.
The rule of thumb is not to change an answer unless you found additional information later in the certification exam, and you remembered other facts. If later you think a change is necessary, then re-read the question and reconsider the answers without reading anything into the issue. Another way to think about this is to take a question at face value.