First of all, I just want to say how grateful I am for this community- all the experiences I've read from nursing grads really put my mind at ease when I was anxious about NCLEX and did not know what to expect. I must have looked up countless topics: "Kaplan scores", "does the PVT really work", "does the PVT ever make a mistake", "when does the CA BON update their website" and so on.
And so I thought I would go ahead and share my ups and downs with the NCLEX process in case it can help ease some of the stress of upcoming test-takers.
I took the exam 2/5/13 and found out at 2am on 2/7/13 via the CA BON website that I am officially a Registered Nurse! I am grateful with how quick the CA BON was to respond-- though I've had classmates wait 10+ days and some are still waiting. My friend took her exam the same day as I did and didn't find out for 8 days (she also passed!). I guess it is just luck of the draw sometimes.
So I thought I would provide some background on how I studied in nursing school. I wasn't an A-student in school... I ended up with mostly B's. I was not a great test-taker. I also worked as a CNA during school 12 hours a week.
When I graduated, I scheduled my NCLEX a little over a month in advance. My school had required us to purchase Kaplan- which included the books, online course, and a review session for our class after we finished school. The review session was led by a NP who basically walked us through NCLEX-style questions for a week straight. This class really helped retrain my brain and break down difficult questions. Kaplan's delegation tree was pretty helpful.
The NP told us that students that had passed NCLEX the 1st time had answered all 7 Question Trainer tests and 90% of the QBank. Students that failed typically only answered Question Trainers 1-3 and 40% of the QBank. For some reason this statistic was comforting to me-- it made me feel like my likelihood of passing would be high if I could just read through the majority of the questions.
I practiced Kaplan questions for a full month and reviewed rationales of both right and wrong answers (The majority of the RN staff I work with recommended doing this). I also took notes on rationales that required a second review. I only read the Kaplan book when I wanted to review a specific topic I missed and then closed the book again. I requested two weeks off of work to ensure I would have enough study time. My Qbank scores: 60, 64, 58, 66, 58, 58, 54, 62, 56, 70, 54, 62, 58, 70, 58, 58, & 56. My QT scores: QT1- 60, QT4- 62.7, QT5- 66.7, QT6- 64, & QT7- 60.8. We were told to aim for a 65% on Question Trainers 4 and 5 and a 60% on Question Trainers 6 & 7. The night of the exam I shared a hotel with my friend and reviewed my notes I had taken on rationales.
The day of my exam I had the flu and was vomiting (!)- but I finished the exam in 75 questions and found out two days later that I was a Registered Nurse!
I am giving out all these details mostly because it was these types of threads that preserved my own insanity when my anxiety was sky-high... It was statistics like these and "meh" Kaplan scores like mine that kept me hopeful. Just remember, 87% of students in 2012 passed NCLEX the first time! Just say a prayer, take a breath, and take your time!
P.S. Pearson Vue Trick worked for me (and my friend) within 1 hour of the test. We both got the "good pop up" but still couldn't breathe until our names appeared on the BON website.
Anyway, that's my story... just found out today that I have an interview for RN at my work in two days! Excited but terrified. But I guess that's my new reality in the world of nursing! ha. I look forward to reading more NCLEX stories and I hope some of this information can relieve some anxiety/stress. Good luck to everyone!!!