When I was stressed out before my NCLEX exam this forum helped me a lot. And one post that REALLY helped me was Edisonnurse's most fantastic NCLEX story. So here is mine and maybe it will help someone else. Pay it forward and all that...
How I studied:
I graduated May 6th and had very lofty plans. I took all my NCLEX books, added up the pages and divided it by the number of days until June 20th, my target date. I don't know why I picked June 20th. I just did and when I got my ATT on 5/15 that date was open. So I did manage to study a little bit almost every day. Unless I went fishing. Or there was something good on TV. Or I took my daughter to a playdate. Or the museum. Or a friend called... (sorry, I'm a big fan of ellipses (and parenthesis)).
Finally June 1st I had to buckle down. I put my daughter back into daycare full time and quit my job as a nurse tech. I seriously studied 3-4 hours a day, but it took me about 7 hours because I started out the window and painted my toenails and cleaned and tried everything else to really get out of studying.
My study plan:
1. The Kaplan NCLEX-RN strategy book. I read it and made a sheet and notecards of all the strategies. I did the test in the back of the book using the notecards and it went pretty well. And then I had the strategies memorized and did not need the cards anymore. I have a friend who took the Kaplan class and she said the main thing they did was a gazillion questions practicing the strategies.
2. Saunders Comprehensive Review Book: I did the chapter tests. If I got more than 75% on the test I didn't read the whole chapter--just concepts I was confused on. I also read every rationale and strategy.
3.Saunders Q&A Book: I did the first 50 in every chapter and got around 70% right. I also did the alternative questions. Then I broke out the CD and just took practice test after practice test until my head exploded.
4. Met a friend a few times and had lunch at a local restaurant that is tolerant of college students. We would do at least 100 q each time and talk about them and also ask each other about things we were confused on, "What the hell is Myasthenia Gravis again?? Something to do with ACH..."
5. Used my big fatty medical dictionary too look up all the things I forgot, like procedures and other stuff. I also looked up lots of meds in my med book.
The Actual Test:
My test was on Wednesday. Sunday my Husband took my 2 year old out to his sister's house. I felt guilty but she just had to go. She never lets me sleep and she is so cute that I would rather take her to the pool than study. She didn't have it too bad there--she went to the local amusement park (Silverwood in Idaho if anyone knows it) TWICE and came back with a huge bag of new clothes and toys. Anyway, I studied hard, at least 12 hours of practice questions and reviewing lab values, on Monday. I also met a friend who was also taking the test Wednesday for lunch and we put our computer on the table and did some review questions.
Tuesday I studied a little bit. Met my friend again. Mostly for a pep talk, lunch, and we did a comprehensive test from a book she had. I think it was NCLEX made incredibly easy. That night my husband and I went to a romantic dinner at Taco Bell and saw the very funny movie, "Knocked Up"
Wednesday morning my friend picked me up and we drove to the Valley for our test. I took snacks and water and a book (in case I finished first and had to wait for her). My friend also jokingly put a big bucket in her backseat, "In case we have to throw up". I was tempted. We got to the testing center and got finger printed and showed out Ids and ATT and all that and put our stuff in the lockers and waited to get escorted back. 2 other people from our class were there and we were all nervous but confident.
I sat down and did the little tutorial and then the exam started. I had a few questions about procedures (a z-track injection is all I really remember), a couple of med questions, one about an eye injury and A ZILLION prioritizing questions--You are the nurse at a clinic. In the morning you have 4 phone messages. Which client do you call first? You just came on shift, which client do you see first? You are a home healthcare nurse. All these clients live in a 3 mile radius, which client do you see first? I had a couple select all that apply asking about symptoms of diseases, no math (which I rock at) and none of the click the picture or fill in the blanks. I had looked at my counter at 69 questions and was actually surprised when the computer shut off at what I assume was 75. I did the survey, raised my hand, collected my crap from the locker, stumbled into the restroom, peed and stumbled out. We were on the 2nd floor of an office building so I was standing on the landing trying to decide where to go sit to read my book when my friend stumbled out and said, "What time is it?" I dug my watch out of my purse and it was 0925.
We went home. I had to drive because my friend was so sure she had failed that she could not operate her vehicle. We went to her house and played guitar hero. I went and collected my daughter. We checked the DOH site compulsively. Thursday I went camping with my daughter and sister in law and her husband. I called everyone on my cell phone every 12 minutes to make them check the website. I woke up Friday morning in the woods and turned on my cell phone and went and stood on the one rock in camp that had service. It beeped. I had some messages. I was a nurse!!
Wow, that is LONG. Any questions? I'll be glad to answer them and promise I will be less wordy!
Time to hop in the shower for my 3rd day of work as a real live RN!