Just wanted to share my NCLEX experience and study tips with everyone since as of today I can now call myself an RN!!! I've been on allnurses since like 2008 or 2009 and I wanted to share my experience because reading everyone else's helped me.
I finished my ADN program 12/4/12 with pinning ceremony 12/12/12. I was a pretty decent student, A's and B's throughout the two year program. I took the HURST review for the first time in the summer break between my third and fourth semester. Found it to be extremely helpful and humorous at the same time. During my fourth and final semester we had both Hurst and Kaplan reps come and speak to us on campus to talk about their review courses. I had no interest in Kaplan because for one, it was more expensive, and I had heard mixed reviews about it. Our names were entered into a drawing and I actually was picked as winner of the whole course for free! So I thought, what the heck. I couldn't take another 3-4 days off of work because I was already signed up to take the HURST review a second time for free in December.
So I signed up for the live online Kaplan course. I liked it pretty well. To be honest though, now that I've taken my NCLEX, I never once used the decision tree during the exam. What I did really find helpful with Kaplan was the the amount of practice questions and materials available. It was hard to sit down and study for NCLEX after graduation because none of us in our class had our ATT letters yet. That finally came a month after pinning and I scheduled as soon as I could since I had already secured a job. Scheduled my exam for this past Tuesday January 29th.
Then the nerves set it....oh my gosh I now have a deadline! I went over some of the Kaplan recorded lectures because I felt my weaknesses were some medications and lab values. So I started the Kaplan practice tests. My scores were as follows :
Kaplan Diagnostic test - 71
Q Trainer 1 - 67
QT 2 - 69
QT 3 - 59.....yikes!
QT 4 - 75
QT 5 - 70
QT 6 - 70
Never did test 7.
Readiness test - 71
Qbank 89% complete with an average of 65%.....I will admit I was trying to do some of these at work and there were about 4 separate times I would be called away for a patient and my timer would run out and I would score in the 20% range!! lol!
My HURST Q reviews were 70, 88, 90 and I only took three out of my alloted 6 or 7.
I had been using the Saunders NCLEX book since my first semester thanks to the great reviews on allnurses about it so I had been using that as a supplement for all 4 semesters for study material so I never looked at it again after my last final. Same with my HURST book, never opened it after taking it for free the second time as review.
I also bought the LaCharity PDA book which I thought was pretty helpful even if I never made it all the way through it.
I also really liked the Saunders NCLEX review app for my iPhone. I believe it is usually like $40 but I got it over a year ago on a huge sale and it was like $10.
I would do about three separate Qbank quizzes which equaled 150 questions a day and then at night lying in bed I would use the 50 question Saunders app for about another 150 questions.
Might seem excessive for some but I felt guilty if I went to sleep without reviewing at least a little.
The weekend before my test I spent about 7 hours just doing practice tests on Kaplan. Probably ended up doing close to 1,000 questions last Saturday. I know everyone says to take the day before the exam off and not study but I did it opposite. I took Sunday off and then since I was off work Monday and Tuesday. So I reviewed some on Monday, not as much as before, honestly I felt brain fried. Tried looking at lab values again but just could not focus. Did not sleep well, too nervous.
Arrived about an hour and a half early for my 0800 test time Tuesday, I'm always an early person anyways but the testing center was located in the heart of downtown and I had no idea where it was outside of test driving it on google maps! haha! There was only about 6 of us and they let us in at 0730 and I was starting my test at 0745.
My heart did not stop racing until around question 25, then I got into the test zone and it felt just like any other test. I would get excited when I would answer a question and the next one would be a SATA. I last looked at the question number count around 73 and when my computer screen went blue I sat there for about 5 minutes just in disbelief that it was over. I did not believe I would be one of those who only got 75 questions.
The post survey was a blur. I took the elevator down to the lobby and immediately went on my phone to try the PVT trick. It said delivery successful and I got the good pop up probably 10 minutes after I ended my test! Super excited!!!
I was going to try to get my quick results this morning since today would make it 48 hours but I tried the Texas Board of Nursing website and there it was......my name next to RN and my license number!!!! Woooohooooo!!!!!!!
Since I cannot really talk about specifics with the test itself I will say that I got about 20 SATA, 5 or 6 drag and drops, only one med calculation, and a lot of prioritization. I walked out thinking...."that's it?" I wouldn't say it was easy because you definitely need to know your stuff, but I felt the Kaplan tests that I had been doing were WAY more difficult than NCLEX. I heard people say that on here but I didn't believe it until now. There was only like 1 med that I had never heard of so I am glad I did not stress too much over meds while studying.
Of the 5 of my classmates who graduated with me and took it the same day as me, 4 of us shut off at 75 questions and the other shut off at 89 questions. All of us got the good pop up and found out today we were official!!! 2 of them felt like it was the hardiest test of their lives and the rest of us felt like it was just like any other test. Not sure if my school just prepared us so well (pass rate last semester was 99.9%) or if we just really knew more than we thought!
Please ask any questions you have and I will try my best to answer them. Good luck and best wishes to all of you out there preparing for this test!