How many weeks did you all study for the test?

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    How many weeks did you take to study for the NCLEX? And how many test questions did you do a day? I'm about 2 weeks out and I'm starting to feel overwhelmed. I don't feel like I'm where I'd like to be at this point in the game. I think I still have time to pull ahead, so I'd love to hear about study tips, things to focus on, etc. aside from doing questions every day. I've been using Saunders Comprehensive Review CD and the NCLEX 4000 CD every day. I've done about 900 questions thus far, but I'm really not where I want to be right now. Any suggestions?
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  3. 20 Comments so far...

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    I didn't really study much. I did the Hurst live review, and then maybe studied a total of 8 hours outside of that. I did maybe 300 questions. The night before, I reviewed normal lab values, and that was it. I really was just OVER studying, I spent two years in school, and I felt that if that was not enough, nothing would be.
  5. 0
    Quote from Racer15
    I didn't really study much. I did the Hurst live review, and then maybe studied a total of 8 hours outside of that. I did maybe 300 questions. The night before, I reviewed normal lab values, and that was it. I really was just OVER studying, I spent two years in school, and I felt that if that was not enough, nothing would be.
    Wow! Kudos to you for being such a smart cookie. Thanks for the response, but I don't think I could do it like you did. I'll be curious to hear from others about this, too....
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    I studied for about 9 weeks and while juggling a toddler at home. I passed with 75 questions. I studied from a variety of sources.
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    NCLEX-PN: I studied for about 8 weeks and did 100 questions per day through self-study with the Saunders Comprehensive Review book and passed on my first try.

    NCLEX-RN: I studied for 6 weeks using a Kaplan Live Review, the Hurst Live Review, and self-study with the Saunders book. I passed on my first attempt.
  8. 4
    I graduated on 12/14/2012, I gave myself pretty much a clean break for about 10 days. Then I started dipping my toes back in, at that point I did maybe 50 questions a night on the NCLEX-3500. At New Year's, I figured I better really get with the program, and went to Barnes & Noble intending to buy SOMETHING (all the while googling which study guides were the best), had it narrowed down to Kaplan (which is about $34.99 at B&N), then I kept running into comments about: "Saunders, Saunders, Saunders!" and started wondering if I better find Saunders, which none of the B&N seemed to have in stock. Also wondered if I should get the med flash cards, but then kept reading that people didn't like them that much (flimsy or something). Didn't purchase anything, kept doing the NCLEX-3500 and with more frequency. By the time I located Saunders at one last B&N in the city, it was the 6th of Jan. Came on here, started freaking out about all the prep people were doing, and second-guessing whether I was ready to take the exam. Tried to read the book, ADD got the best of me and found myself "spacing out" and wondering what I read over the last 3 page turns. Started doing the practice quizzes from Saunders, found that was a much better way for me to stay focused. Dealt with kids, work, and life, realized I was down to 5 days to study, posted on my fb that I should probably re-schedule my test because everyone on Allnurses.com had 50 study guides and were failing! Got numerous responses from my friends and family who are RN's (and I have a lot), saying, "Are you crazy? You're going to pass! Don't re-schedule, go in there and get it done!!" Told everyone to go away and leave me alone for the last 4 days (including my poor kids, fortunately they were able to go to their dad's house while I studied). Studied from 8 a.m until midnight, with cleaning breaks, and I'm not going to lie......spaced out some. Made sure I had my lab values down. Liked Saunder's quiz CD in that I could narrow it down to studying meds only (I think meds are my weak spot). Not going to lie, I did study the day before the test. BUT, I also took some very good advice, and that was to rest up. I ate the lucky/traditional bowl of red beans and rice my Vietnamese nursing school friend insisted I eat the day before (I think it's all the protein that makes a difference). I fell asleep at 4 p.m. the night before, I did wake back up at 8 p.m., studied for 2 hours, and then went back to bed to be up at 4 a.m. to make it to my test at 8 a.m. (huge snow storm here, literally took 2 hours to make a drive that would normally take 1/2 hour). Went in with a clear head, and reminded myself repeatedly to NOT panic, and not get flustered, and to ONLY focus on the question at hand. Computer shut off after 75 questions, and I found out this morning that I officially passed

    That was a long answer, but if you got all A's and B's in school, and if your school has a >85% pass rate for first-time takers, my advice to you would be to go get it done, especially if you took High Acuity last semester.....you will never be more prepared than now. GOOD LUCK!!!!
    SNB1014, Staragate, emptyboxcars, and 1 other like this.
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    Studied for the Nclex 4 days that's it.
  10. 1
    Congratulations Rach nurse.
    RachNurse likes this.
  11. 1
    @ RachNurse....thank you for the detailed response. My schooling background and studying situation sound somewhat similar to yours....It actually made me feel a lot better about where I'm at right now.
    RachNurse likes this.
  12. 6
    My prep time and methods differ from the norm because I graduated 18 years ago.

    Initially took the NCLEX RN in June 2010 and did not pass. I attended Hurst & Kaplan live, used NCLEX 10,000 PrepU, Exam Cram, Saunders and many others. I held a job in the financial industry at that time and didn't have much time to really study.

    Fast forward to 2012. Started studying in July, went on 3-week vacation in September and did not study again until 1st week in October. Took exam in Dec and passed with 88 questions. Total focused study time 4 1/2 months.

    I was DETERMINED to pass this exam no matter what. The mountain of resource books I currently had did not seem to fit my learning style. So I went out and searched for the "right" book that best fit my learning needs. I browsed through a number of books at B&N. I looked at the formatting (2 columns to a page was not for me, recycled paper ehhh not for me either), and finally settled on Mary Ann Hogan Pearson Reviews & Rationales: Comprehensive Review for NCLEX-RN, (013262107X), MaryAnn Hogan, Textbooks - Barnes & Noble.

    With this book, my old brain was constantly challenged. This book also gave me a 1-year online access to an online version of the same book and tons of online questions. I took the online pre-diagnostic test, which then generated a study schedule. I followed the study schedule rigidly. And yes, there were times I was ready to give up especially when it came to the endocrine system. It took me 2 weeks to fully understand and comprehend...hypo, hyper, inverse relationships, blah, blah, blah. I wrote down concepts on easel paper and had these hanging all over my dining and living room walls.

    Before moving on to the next system listed on my study schedule, I made sure I was consistently attaining 75% or better on each system test, if not, I'd go back and read, take another test, and another, and another. NCLEX 4000 was my best friend in study mode. If a system had 400 questions total, I made sure to answer 50% of the questions. If the max was less than 200 questions, I'd answer all 200.

    I also utilized PrepU NCLEX 10000. To me this was quite challenging because I had to work in getting consistently correct answers to attain level 8 (harder level questions). This platform is very similar to NCLEX 4000. However, with NCLEX 10000, each test is saved and I can go back to review.

    With NCLEX 4000 and NCLEX 10000, I tested by system and categories. No matter how exhausted I was...I kept on answering questions, understanding rationales, made sure I understood WHY I was choosing the incorrect answers.

    PDA by LaCharity is a great resource. Definitely NCLEX style questions. After reading each chapter in Hogan's book, I would also use PDA to answer questions. Two weeks before my scheduled exam, BARNES & NOBLE | Kaplan NCLEX-RN 2012-2013 Strategies, Practice, and Review WITH CD-ROM by Kaplan | Paperback, this book made it all come together for me. Read this cover to cover...no skipping pages or concepts (even though I knew some stuff, I still read through it). Answered every single question and researched what I didn't understand.

    5 days before my exam, I was super anxious. Felt like I knew nothing. As I answered practice questions, it seemed as if I was getting more wrong. I had to calm myself down, told myself that being nervous only increases the negativity within me. I prayed for guidance, strenght, wisdom and endurance.

    The day before my exam, I went to the mall, ate ice cream, window shopped, and bought a pair of boots. That evening, I read through my notebook full of handwritten notes, study guide NOT endorsed by AN, etc.

    My exam was at 2pm. I had breakfast at Denny's with my handy dandy notebook and study guide NOT endorsed by AN. Ordered my fave breakfast and diet soda plus coffee.

    THings to remember before taking exam:

    1.) DO NOT second guess yourself. If you studied diligently, prepared well while in school, this exam is a walk in the park for you.
    2.) STAY POSITIVE!!! I cannot stress how important this is. Don't let test anxiety get to you. If you feel it coming, take a deep breath, count to 10, pray, think happy thoughts, do whatever it takes to alleviate your anxiety. If you allow anxiety to take over, you will end up answering questions hurriedly and incorrectly.
    3.) STAY FOCUSED - read question thoroughly before reading answer choices. Understand what the question is asking. The NCLEX will throw in hypoglycemia when the core of the question refers to cardiac problems (example only). Do not read too much into the question and DO NOT READ ahead of the question.
    4.) Eliminate 2 incorrect answer choices as much as possible. Take the time to prioritize using Maslow, ABC's, Acute vs. Chronic, etc.
    5.) Take your time. There is no extra point for completing the exam in an hour or two or three.
    6.) DO NOT listen to negative talk. Keep distractions to a minimum (Facebook, surfing the web, instagram, etc). You'll have plenty of time for distrations after passing the NCLEX.
    7.) Take the exam with the mentality that you're there for the 265 question duration so you won't be disappointed if the questions keep coming after 75.

    Sorry for the novel of a post. Good luck to everyone! Remember, each one of us is our own worst enemy. Be good to yourself, stay positive and reach for the stars!!!
    Last edit by begosh on Jan 15, '13
    Staragate, RachNurse, keepmovingrn, and 3 others like this.


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