I just recently passed the NCLEX-RN with over 200 questions. I almost got close to the maximum number! Honestly, I was expecting for it to shut off at 75 questions or at least around 100 because I was pretty confident that I had reviewed well. Maybe I underestimated this exam, because you really can't tell what kind of questions the NCLEX will throw at you. That's why it's very important to PREPARE WELL.
Just imagine my anxiety after question number 75 and it went on until over 200!! Got home an hour later and tried the Pearson Vue trick, got the good pop up. Days later, I found out from BON that I passed. So I guess it's safe to say, the NCLEX was the hardest test I ever took in my entire life!
Anyway, I want to share with you all how I prepared for my NCLEX-RN. If you're taking the PN exam, this is helpful for you too.
MATERIALS I USED:
Saunders Comprehensive Review book
Saunders Q&A Review book
La Charity PDA book
Kaplan Strategies, Practice, and Review book
35 page study guide that I found here in allnurses: NCLEX Study Guide Question
All of them I definitely recommend for NCLEX-RN!
FIVE REVIEW TIPS:
1) First of all, it's REVIEW, not STUDY. -- Everything in the NCLEX, we already studied during our nursing school! While preparing for this exam, it's only a matter of refreshing your mind so you will be able to remember everything. Review = go over. Whenever I say to myself, "I will REVIEW, not STUDY", it helps me to become more confident because I know that I already learned all of these in nursing school. I just gotta go over them
2) Make a daily to-do list of what you'd like to accomplish in your review. -- Don't just put "read Saunders" or "answer a few chapters in La Charity". If you do that, you will most likely just read 3 pages in Saunders and answer 2 chapters in La Charity when you could have done so much more! Make it as specific as possible. Set a goal for the day. For example, here is what I would put in mine:
[ ] Read chapters 42 and 43 of Saunders
[ ] Answer chapters 14, 15, 16 of La Charity
[ ] Finish AT LEAST 75 questions in Saunders CD
Believe me, not only does it feel good to check things off the list, it feels even better to know that you have maximized your productivity for the entire day.
3) Start doing practice questions early! -- I think that was my mistake. I only focused on the Q&As around two weeks before my exam. I suggest that you do content review and practice questions simultaneously.
4) Rationales are VERY important. -- Even if you got the practice question right, read the rationale anyway. Understand why the other three choices were wrong. You'll never know when you'll learn something new.
5) Whenever you come across a word, procedure, disease, medication that you don't understand or don't remember, list it down. Then before the day ends, look up those things on your list and review them. -- I had a number of topics in my NCLEX questions that I've come across while reviewing but I didn't bother to look it up because since it's not that common, I thought it was impossible for it to show up in my exam. Guess not!
FOUR TIPS TO AVOID DISTRACTION:
1) Find a spot in your home that is conducive for reviewing. -- No, your bed doesn't count! That is the worst place to review. It will only make you sleepy!
2) Turn off all your gadgets (phone, iPod, iPad, Kindle, laptop, everything!!) and keep them away! -- I put my gadgets at the very bottom of my clothes drawer whenever I'm reviewing. Because if it's just beside you, you will always have the urge to turn it on and use it even if it's turned off.
3) If you can deactivate your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest etc, please do. -- My number one distraction are social media websites. I can't help but check my Facebook, reblog a post on Tumblr, and pin a little something on Pinterest every now and then. You can easily deactivate Facebook and Twitter. As for the other social media websites, you can ask a trusted friend to change your password and command them not to tell you the new password by hook or by crook until you have taken your NCLEX! Hahaha. It worked for me!
4) Use your "distractions" to your advantage. Use it to challenge yourself! -- I'm a major TV series addict. I can never NOT watch a new episode of my favorite TV show. That's how much of I love TV. So here's what I did: whenever I'm set to watch a new episode at night, I would challenge myself that I must finish all that I'm supposed to review for that day. Even if I DVR it, that new episode will be left untouched unless I finish reviewing. Do you like online shopping? Or reading books for leisure? Or playing video games? Or baking? Think of the things you love to do but are a distraction for reviewing... put those off for a while and use those as a REWARD whenever you're done reviewing for the day. "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" , that is so true. Don't deprive yourself of the things you love to do. You can still do them, self-control is the key.
THREE THINGS TO DO THE DAY BEFORE THE EXAM:
1) Everyone says this and I know it's so tiring to hear it again... STOP REVIEWING. Let your brain rest because you will definitely need your brain in the best condition on your exam day.
2) Relax! -- Watch your favorite TV series, watch a movie. Practice your relaxation techniques... deep breathing exercises, meditate, do simple yoga exercises. Anxiety is our worst enemy during the exam day so do as much as you can to relieve your anxiety.
3) Music helps. -- Listen to your favorite music, whatever is calming for you. If you're a Christian and like listening to worship songs, do that. If instrumentals and classical music calms you down, go ahead. If you like dancing around to help ease your anxiety, go on and blast that electro/rave music. Haha
TWO IMPORTANT THINGS TO BRING ON THE EXAM DAY:
2) Acceptable ID (read: https://www.ncsbn.org/1221.htm
ONE THING TO DO ALL THROUGHOUT THIS PREPARATION:
1) Pray everyday!
That's it. I hope this helps. Best of luck to everyone who will be taking the NCLEX!