How I passed the NCLEX-RN first try

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    How I passed the nclex-rn first time!
    I want everyone to know to know first that I am a very average student that was successful enough to pass the nclex the first time. I want you guys to know that I honestly believe that if I was able to pass the nclex, you can too. I struggled throughout high school with borderline passing grades, and went to the Philippines to take up nursing because my grades werenít high enough to get straight into any nursing program here in NJ (I applied to at least 4, got accepted into the school, but not directly into the nursing program-was put on waiting list). I was borderline passing most of my classes, so I want all you guys to know that even the average student who struggle can pass this exam. After I graduated I took up a Kaplan course, I scored I think a 40% on my diagnostic exam, got lazy, eventually stopped going to the review, and enjoyed the rest of my vacation before I went back to New Jersey. I came home realizing that I need to focus because I am already 22 years old and I have to get my life going.
    My Study Guide: I truly believe if you do exactly what I did on in order to practice for this exam, then you can pass.
    I want you guys to know that any type of review course isnít necessary. I honestly didnít need the Kaplan course, and simply used it as a way to stay in the Philippines longer to enjoy the rest of my vacation. There are people that spend hundreds of dollars on online reviews, and live lectures, and arenít able to pass. Some of you learn better when things are read and taught to you, so its totally your preference! It doesnít matter if you have the best tutor in the world; itís all up to you how bad you want it. When I got back to New Jersey, I bought the Saunders comprehensive book from amazon.
    It is a bit overwhelming since itís so thick, but donít get discouraged. I read every chapter and did all the questions in the book. If I was unfamiliar with the topic, I would write it down, and made sure I would re-read that specific topic, and would even google about it before going to sleep for additional information. After I finished the book, I did the CD, and did each content section at a time. I did EVERY question (total of 4000+ questions) on that CD on study mode. After I finished every question, I then would go to quiz mode and made sure I would get 70% 3 times in a row before stopping. (I did that every day until the day of my exam) This is key, read EVERY single rationale, even if you get the question correct!! I believe that people take that for granted, and it never hurts taking an extra 20 seconds trying to read over a rationale. Before going to the next step, I want you all to know I didnít finish that in just 1-2 weeks. The whole process took me just about a month, I am not a fast learner, and I need to see things more than once in order for it to stick in my head. So take your time doing these questions! Bookmark the questions you get incorrect so you can do them again in the future.
    Next, I bought the LaCharity Book (Prioritization, Delegation and Assignment) Let me tell all of you, I would NOT have passed my exam if it wasnít for this book. I can say half of my exam was prioritization. I would have to say that the questions in this book are HARDER than the nclex, so it will prepare you for when you take the actual exam. I did only 1-2chapters a day, once again, reading ALL the rationales. (I only did the first half of the book, not the case studies, took me about 2 weeks to finish in all since it wasnít the only thing I was reviewing)
    During my review with the Lacharity book, I also went to the closest Barnes and Noble and used their books (I didnít want to buy them because it was expensive) and did as many questions as I can each day (around 200 questions + the 1/2 chapters in lacharity) Basically, throughout this whole process, nclex was my life. My friends actually thought I went back to the Philippines because I didnít have a social life, I stayed home, and studied. I was committed to it. Remember, I am not the fastest learner, I knew that if I wanted to pass, I had to sacrifice a little bit in order to do this. I want to give links on the books I reviewed at barnes and Noble hoping that you guys might want to go there also or invest in them.
    NCLEX RN-101 How to Pass! Ė Straight up questions, VERY similar to nclex examination. Has about 10 chapters of different topics, a MUST read!
    Davisís Q&A for the Nclex Exam Ė Challenging questions, a ton of SATA. Good prep, if you decide to buy it, it comes with a CD with over 3000 questions if you need more practice, I didnít buy it though because I thought the book was good enough.
    They say itís not good to review the day before your exam, but I did. And I reviewed a book I bought off amazon for only 5 dollars because it was used, and it was well worth every penny. I think I would even have bought it for its original price if I had to. The book I reviewed right before my exam is called NCLEX-RN In a Flash. It basically goes through essential topics that you must know, easy flow charts and some pointers to help remember the topic. Itís a total of 300 questions, which I reviewed the day before my exam, they werenít long questions, but the pointers it gave were great. The author states in his notes ďthe book lives up to its title: the 24-hour guide for passing the NCLEX-RN.Ē
    And one other thing, I prayed, A LOT. I donít expect all of you to have the same beliefs as I do, but I do believe that with all the prayers I had gone through, had helped me and god was by my side helping me during the exam. I would pray every night and go to church when I had time. I said to myself, if the lord knows that Iím giving it my all, (and I mean tried the best to my ability) then in the end, everything will be FINE. He will be there to guide you through the exam.
    Some tips I want to give. I donít believe that you can ďover-study.Ē But know your limitations, if you need a break, take one. But donít read for just 30 minutes thinking thatís enough. BE CONFIDENT, Iím telling you, if you really go through the whole studying process saying that you are going to fail, then thatís what youíre going to get. Iíll say this again, if I can do it, then anyone of you can. Before I slept, there are audio lectures you can download on the internet (you have to find it, I recommend NCLEX Hot Topics) that you can listen to before going to sleep. I do find it good to review before sleeping because it sticks in your head. Keep your pace constant, work hard, and donít stop. You may have to review for 2 months non-stop like I did, but at least you donít have to wait 45-90 days to retest, right? Keep doing questions, the more you do, the easier they get! Repetition is key! You know the NCLEX-4000 program? Do it whenever you have extra time, try to set a goal for AT LEAST 200 questions a day. Make flashcards! Ė This is a very efficient, way to study. I made flashcards with the most familiar drugs(Make sure you study herbal drugs too), and it helped! When doing questions, ALWAYS eliminate the answers that you know are wrong. TRY to limit it to the best 2 answers, you will ALWAYS have a better outcome. Another tip, USE THIS SITE TO REVIEW! This site is awesome!! The random facts that everyone gives? The best! Besides prioritization, make sure you know your infection control! And precautions! Know them well! ONE MORE- do NOT get discouraged if you get low scores on your quizzes at first, because it doesnít mean ANYTHING. As long as you focus and read the rationale, and fully understand it, then you will be fine.
    This whole process of studying took about 2 months, and I know itís a long time. But if you are having trouble, take the time and go through the study guide I went through. I really really really think that ANYONE can do it, it all depends on YOU. You can spend over 1000 dollars on review material, but in the end, itís up to YOU.
    I have a folder of files that helped me review, and it did help. If anyone needs a copy, or has any questions, just send me a private message to my email, and I will be glad to help. I used these random review materials (Microsoft word documents, programs I downloaded) for my last week or so before my exam.
    So I took my exam on Friday January 7, I had 95 questions. I was hoping it would shut off at 75 questions. I took a deep breath, prayed, and kept on going. I had about 10SATA, meds that are familiar, and meds that I have never heard of (hoping that those ones were trial questions), no calculations, a TON of prioritization, and infection control. After my exam, I said to myself that I failed. I got into my car, thought of all the hard work I did, and all my prayers. Took a deep breath and said to myself, I worked too hard for this, so maybe I did pass. I went home, tried the PVT as soon as I saw my results were in, I got the good popup.
    48 Hours passed, kept checking on the site if my quick results were ready. Finally I was able to see that I passed. Thank god, and thank all of you for the support and prayers! I wish everyone the best of luck, and if you donít make it the first time, there is always a next time. Never give up guys!!
    1smrtnurse, mbuttar, katyb213, and 7 others like this.

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  2. 20 Comments...

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    thanks for taking the time to say these.they are really words of encouragement would surely use your study plan sounds good to me would send u an email if i have a problem thanks for your surpport and congratulations on a job well done
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    First off, congratulations oscarfarnacio!

    I too found out this morning with quick results that I passed! I took it last Friday and finished with 75 questions. I didn't realize that I hit that number and, when the screen went blue, I almost yelled and actually jumped in the chair (sure the proctors got a chuckle out of the reaction lol!)

    This road to finishing school has been a rough one for me. Though starting right after high school, I got married and took a semester off, had my first son and took off another, and gave birth to my second during the semester (who was born requiring a NICU stay, a trach, and a g-tube). After him, I took no breaks and just finished (now 8 months pregnant with a third son)! On top of all that, marriage hasn't gone too well over the years (had to actually leave home during part of this semester for safety reasons and to have a peaceful studying environment)....All that said, today is a joyous day!!!

    I completely agree with you on your study mentality. I went into studying knowing that I wouldn't be able to learn everything that could be tested. Also, Kaplan's book is a good source (glad I decided not to pay the $350+ dollars and read the book cover-to-cover instead and did the questions). The strategy is the largest help!!!

    I did the flashcards by Mosby. They were, in my opinion, too easy but were informative in the rationale section. They are good on-the-go like car rides as long as you aren't the one driving!

    Last, I also did Saunders Comprehensive. Their strategy is somewhat helpful (I like how the encourage you to look for repetitive answers to eliminate). The book is way too huge, and I'm a slow reader, so I read the sections that I struggled in during school, like on ATI exams and classes. After that, I did questions from the book sections as well as tons of content quizzes on the CD. It helps to do the alternate format section of the CD (I did every question) as my exam was littered with them and I typically stink at them.

    Outside of that, I did controlled breathing (I tend to hypoventilate!), prayer in the sign-in area and during the tutorial (even created a mantra of praise to recite when needed!), and a high-protein breakfast that wasn't too big...Plus, had to ignored my husband the night before to maintain a clear, unstressed mind!

    Attitude is everything going in!...
    allinGod likes this.
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    Thank you for posting your story. Congratulations on your success!
    Your positive energy is just what I need to keep this process moving.
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    Hi everyone!

    I am becoming a little nervous about nursing school. I am starting a BSN program next week at Felician college in NJ and would like any input on it. I am a young mother to my 3 year old & have been in communmity college for the past 2 years.. having to go to school for another 3 years to get my bachelor's degree has been getting me scared.. I just want to finish alreadyy! lol! I am hoping to possibly get into the associate's degree program in bergen community college, but it is very competetive and I don't want to wait around anymore trying to get into the 2 year program. Any advise? Thanks!
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    Quote from anisamarie
    Hi everyone!

    I am becoming a little nervous about nursing school. I am starting a BSN program next week at Felician college in NJ and would like any input on it. I am a young mother to my 3 year old & have been in communmity college for the past 2 years.. having to go to school for another 3 years to get my bachelor's degree has been getting me scared.. I just want to finish alreadyy! lol! I am hoping to possibly get into the associate's degree program in bergen community college, but it is very competetive and I don't want to wait around anymore trying to get into the 2 year program. Any advise? Thanks!
    As you said, ASN programs are overly competitive right now, meaning a possible waiting list (more time). Also, it matters whether they are proprietary schools (as you may be unable to transfer towards a ASN-BSN later). With that said, and being in the same spot 4 years ago, I would recommend just going through with it. At the point where you are, it feels like forever but, in the end, is worthwhile.

    Just my opinion, but the choice is yours and what's best for you.
    anisamarie likes this.
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    I agree you dont need to spend hundreds of dollars for NCLEX review. Barnes and nobles is the best place to study and lecharity is harder than actual nclex. Good tips!
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    thanks for your advise sophistomommarn i'm definitely going to go through with the bsn

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