I used this website so much when preparing for my NCLEX that I vowed to write my story on here when I passed.
Let me tell you a little about myself to start ... I graduated earlier this year, did pretty well in my program and was doing extremely well by the end of it. I was always better in clinical than I was in theory based classes such as patho and pharm. Those classes, I could study so hard and manage to get a B+ for my efforts. Other classmates put in half the work and got As which was pretty discouraging, but I managed it and graduated.
I did not start studying until August for my NCLEX ... I was nervous and had landed a temporary RN job and didn't want to risk losing that job by writing too early, like many others. So I delayed the exam and honestly I don't think that affected my writing at all. If anything, because of this short experience as an RN I knew a few more meds and basic first aid that I believed would help me.
Fast forward to September when I wrote the exam. I wrote in about 3 hours, 265 questions. It was the most gruelling experience and I had only decided to take 2 five minute breaks throughout because I didn't want to get out of the "test mode" I was in. What a mistake that was; When question 200 hit I was honestly so exhausted. I had done all of Uworld (about 1800 questions), all of the Mark Klimlek lectures with my own written notes, and the Saunders Canadian textbook. What I failed to realize is that this was never how I learned in school ... I'm a hands on, practical learner and all of these "concepts" in patho and pharm were never going to stick with me. I learned the hard way, because I failed.
I was so defeated after this experience you have no idea. I had done the stupid pearsonvue trick and got the "bad window" for that exam, so you best believe I cried between that day and the day my actual results came in (about 3 days). I felt like I had done absolutely everything for this exam so what else was there to study? I took 2 weeks off. I did absolutely no studying during this time, caught up with friends and started working out again. I came up with a new study plan that would last 3 weeks and booked my exam exactly 45 days from my exam date. This time, I wouldn't just put away my life for the exam. You know what's ridiculous about the NCLEX? The fact that it makes you think it has to be the only thing going on in your life right then. I'm a hands on learner and so the test in general is a mind game for me- I'd have done so much better if it was a skills based test, or a combination of the two. They preach about incorporating all learning styles and this test definitely doesn't do that so learn to play the game. Here's what I did:
For my second time I studied with LaCharity and Kaplan Q-Bank. I already had all of the knowledge from Mark Klimlek and my UWorld notes so in terms of content I was pretty set. I found what I had most trouble with was the management/ priority questions which is most of the harder NCLEX questions. Yes, you must know content to be able to answer them but overall there are algorithms and rules to answering NCLEX questions that you also can benefit from knowing walking in. LaCharity was my saving grace. I did all of the first section chapters and about 10 case studies ... What a difference this made. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone, but more specifically those of you that have to write again. I passed this time in 75 questions and could not be happier.
If you're rebooking your second exam because you failed the first or you feel like there's no way you can write it again, trust me when I say you're going to be fine. I thought my world was ending when it happened originally, and now looking back I realize I just needed to change my attitude and studying strategy. Don't panic- You know what you know, and don't listen to the people giving crazy advice like "don't study on test day". If that's how you studied in nursing school
, why would you stop now? I'm a half memorization/ half visual type of person so writing a fake "cheat sheet" allowed me to write a load of information on that white board once the test started- this helped me SO much. I also went over labs that morning because that "last time" calms my nerves and gives me confidence. Do what works for you. You've got this