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 weren't 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 isn't necessary. I honestly didn't 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 aren't able to pass. Some of you learn better when things are read and taught to you, so its totally your preference! It doesn't matter if you have the best tutor in the world; it's all up to you how bad you want it. When I got back to New Jersey, I bought the Saunders comprehensive book from amazon. http://www.amazon.com/By_Linda-Silve...448139&sr=8-11
It is a bit overwhelming since it's so thick, but don't 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 didn't 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 wasn't 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 wasn't 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 didn't 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 didn't 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! - Straight up questions, VERY similar to nclex examination. Has about 10 chapters of different topics, a MUST read! http://www.amazon.com/NCLEX-RN-101-P...4448232&sr=1-1
Davis's Q&A for the Nclex Exam - 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 didn't buy it though because I thought the book was good enough. http://www.amazon.com/Daviss-NCLEX-R...448139&sr=8-16
They say it's 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. It's a total of 300 questions, which I reviewed the day before my exam, they weren't long questions, but the pointers it gave were great. The author states in his notes "the book lives up to its title: the 24-hour guide for passing the NCLEX-RN."
And one other thing, I prayed, A LOT. I don't 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 I'm 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 don't believe that you can "over-study." But know your limitations, if you need a break, take one. But don't read for just 30 minutes thinking that's enough. BE CONFIDENT, I'm telling you, if you really go through the whole studying process saying that you are going to fail, then that's what you're going to get. I'll 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 don't stop. You may have to review for 2 months non-stop like I did, but at least you don't 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! - 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 doesn't 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 it's 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, it's 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
, 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 don't make it the first time, there is always a next time. Never give up guys!!