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Joined: Sep 4, '11;
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First of all, I'd like to say thank you to everyone who has posted any form of information and tips of how they passed the NCLEX. I used this site on a regular basis to keep me informed about the NCLEX-RN.
Tools & Tips for Studying for NCLEX:
I graduated on May 26th 2013 from University of Guam. Guam is a United States Territory. Our school has an 8 year accreditation for being able to maintain an 85-100% passing rate for NCLEX during the last few years. I would have to say it was a struggle getting into our nursing program. The year I applied, I knew a 100+ applicants but only 35 of us got accepted.
First of all, I did not graduate with honors, though I was close. I had a 3.4 GPA, and unfortunately I failed one class during my first semester of nursing school. I was held back a year. However, that experience pushed me to work harder and I was motivated more than ever to succeed.
So after I graduated, I took a few days to party. I signed up for the Kaplan On Demand. I jumped into doing questions before I watched the content. However, I did finish all the videos. It took me at least 2 months to do this. At times, it dragged so I would skip days here and there. Unfortunately the Kaplan On Demand does not come with the hard cover of the book, so I had to order it online. I got the book and would watch the videos and take notes. I studied about 3-5 hours/day for 3 months. I finished the Q-bank with a 60%. My scores for the question trainers are as follows:
Kaplan Blue Book 180 Questions: 70%
I also used the Saunders Comprehensive book, but I didn't finish reading the entire content. I only used the book to clarify what I needed to know. I felt that the book was too complex, but I did use the disc that came along with the book. I practiced the select all that apply questions that came along with the disc. If I had to compare the questions to that of NCLEX-RN to Saunders, Saunders' questions were easier. NCLEX-RN's questions were more like Kaplan's question style (however, Kaplan was definitely harder). I felt that Kaplan really prepared me, especially with the critical thinking and test taking strategies.
Additionally, I used NCLEX-RN Exam Cram, I didn't finish the book as well, but it did have straightforward needed to know topics. I actually liked reading this better than Saunders. The book also came with a disc, which was definitely useful for practicing questions. By the 2nd month of my studying, I was done with the Q-Bank from Kaplan. I used Saunder's Disc, NCLEX-RN Exam Cram disc and the NCLEX 4000 to answer questions. I felt that the NCLEX-RN Exam cram questions were also similar to NCLEX. The questions were straightforward.
The 3rd month of my studying consisted of reading the Kaplan Content Review Guide (Purple Book with a person holding a stethoscope). I probably read this book twice cover to cover. I loved the content and I felt that the book really prepared me to answer the questions I received during the exam.
Lastly, there was no way around it, I memorized my lab values by going over them every night for the first two months. I also posted them up in a white paper on the walls of my bedroom and the dinning area where I studied.
I kept a study plan, but I also took the time to take breaks. I would watch my favorite T.V. shows on Netflix, occasionally hang out with friends, and make time for my family. Additionally, during the entire three months, I would go to the gym at sporadic times to relieve the anxiety I felt. I felt this helped me.
Most of all, I prayed, prayed, and prayed daily. I don't think I could have done it without God by my side.
Day Of Exam:
Two days prior to the exam, I tried not to study. The day before my exam, my boyfriend took me around. I got a pedicure, watched a movie, went to mass at my church at 7pm and hung out with my family. I had about 8 hours of sleep. I was able to sleep (surprisingly). Although my anxiety level was high, I had this gut, this feeling know I can do this, and I'm able to pass NCLEX. FYI, there were 9 people in my graduating class who has taken the test before me and they all passed. So I felt the pressure. lol.
I woke up at 5:30am, and the first thing I said was "It's a beautiful day to pass NCLEX". It was also my Dad's birthday so I knew the best gift to give to him was to pass the test! My boyfriend drove me to the exam, but prior to that, we ate breakfast. I couldn't really eat due to the anxiety, but I ensured that I had something in my stomach. I ate egg whites and pancakes and drank green tea.
My exam was scheduled for 0800. I got to the testing site at 0720. I was the first one there. One of the workers gave me a set of instructions to read. Next, they asked if I had any cellphones and they bagged it. I was given a locker to put all my belongings, and I was not allowed to wear any jewelry or have anything in my pockets. They took my picture and got my palm scanned twice.
I sat there and I wore the headphones. I read here that wearing the headphones would enhance one's concentration, so I did just that. The tutorial started and right before my test started I said a prayer. I freaked out because my first question was a SATA, but I thought this thoroughly. I hid the timer and the #of question button. 1 hour and 28 mins in I was at #74. I noticed that the last remaining questions I had were priority/who do you see first questions and SATA. I was at #75 and it was a SATA. Before hitting the next button, I said a prayer. I hit the next button and the screen turned blue. I was scared. I felt like I failed. I was required to answer a survey afterwards. All in all I had about 8-10 SATA, 1 EKG, 3 dosage calculation, a few infection control questions and tons of priority questions.
I raised my hands and the proctor assisted me out. I called my boyfriend to pick me up and he was shocked that I was finished. I was prepared to sit there for 6 hours to answer 265 questions and he was prepared to wait for me.
I told him to pick me up and I was crying hysterically because I felt like I failed. I told him I didn't want to do the Pearson Vue trick until we got to church. I got to church and I prayed. We sat down in church and I was shaking. I asked him to do the trick, and then I couldn't believe it. I got the good pop up! It felt surreal.
Just then, I posted the good pop on Facebook. My classmate who had recently passed, texted me saying that she was able to get her official results a few hours after taking her exam on the same day. I felt like I needed to get the official result to believe that I passed. I couldn't believe the trick even if I knew that all my classmates who received the good pop up, passed.
At 1300 I got my official results at my BON, I was officially an RN on my Dad's birthday. I definitely went to church to thank God. That night, I celebrated both my Dad's birthday and my passing of the NCLEX.
I know this was a long post but remember you can do it! I struggled in nursing school, failed a semester, but bounced back. I felt resilient. Remember, you can do anything if you work hard and have faith. I knew I couldn't do it without the support of my family and friends and with God by my side.
I had to sacrifice 3 months of studying to reach that goal. For some, it may come easy, for others it takes time and hard work, I was one of those people. Good luck and I hope this post helped you.
Michelle F, RN
Congrats! I didnt study either and passed in 75 questions and under an hour. I figured if I didnt know the info by then I never would know it!
I'm going to challenge the exam too. I just got hired for a job doing home care and was told my rate would be their starting salary because I don't have my CNA. So annoying to me because I am a third semester RN student!
I got a lot of information for Southern California from this website:http://regionaltestingcenter.org/cna.html
It seems to be the same process the OP went through.
Good luck to everyone!
One of my favorite nursing teachers says everyone will make a certain percentage of mistakes so celebrate the errors you make that don’t cause permanent damage or death!
There should be enough nurses to provide adequte safe care, thats a big probably. Many Hosp, Ltc/Snf etc have toatally neglected pt safety by not having enough staff on the units. School teaches you the basics (perfect world), once you are out there on your own you have to learn to use minimal resources. Its a challenge for novice.
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