Man....do I feel you! I graduated last June, 2012 and then "life" happened:, got divorced, moved to a new state in November, etc. I took an Accelerated BSN program, and I swear, by the end of those 17 months, I had PTSD! Seriously! I really needed to decompress and get that "Maslow" thing of 'shelter/home, food, safety' all settled before I could even start to study for the NCLEX. It, literally took me 4 months to unpack and decorate, then "relax'. So, I didn't start studying for the NCLEX-RN until about April. I didn't want to pay $500 for Kaplan, because I had a copy of the Hurst Review videos/documents, bought Saunders 5th ed., and NCLEX 4000 software.
Without any real "road-map", I was like you are now. In the morning, I'd start studying Cardiac stuff, but because I needed so much "refreshing" (and I'm ANAL about wanting to understand the pathophysiology!), that by noon, I'd find myself online looking up renal patho! This went on for 2 months, and I felt like I hadn't even put a 'crack' in what I believed I needed to review/study.
So, I broke down at the end of May and signed up for the online Kaplan review
(the one with a live classroom via the computer), It was the BEST thing I could have done! By following their program, I was able to take a Diagnostic Test to find out my weak areas. Then, I took the four-day/6 hrs class (But, I'd recommend taking a eight-day/3 hrs class), and listened to only the blood-products and pharmacology video. Then I just started taking the Question Trainer 1-7 tests. I'd review every question/rationale--even the ones I answered correctly---and looked online for any further clarification, as needed.
I wouldn't recommend it, but I didn't even take the final Readiness Test, or do any of the Question Banks (I think there's like an additional 3000 questions), because I ran out of time. I'm such a procrastinator! I've had plenty of time...but just couldn't seem to get in the mood where I wanted to sit and focus. I'd study for 12-14 hours a day for 3-4 days then take a whole week off! I think I've been a bit depressed, because I had convinced myself that the NCLEX-RN probably was going to be the FIRST TEST I'VE EVER FAILED!
So...when I arrived at Pearson Vue at 11 a.m. today...I told myself, "Well, what's the worst that can happen? You'll fail. So, you just reschedule, and take it 45 days later, but at least you'll have gotten over the test anxiety, and will have a better idea of what this (harder as of 4/1/13) NCLEX-RN test is really looking for!"
You wouldn't believe how much pressure was relieved with that attitude. I fully expected to have to answer all 265 questions, and be there for 6 hours...so I took water, snacks, etc. (I also took 0.5 mg of Ativan! haha) I usually rush through tests, but decided that I would take as much time on each question as I needed. I didn't look at the time or even notice what question I was on. Then the computer informed me that it was time to take a break, if I wanted. I wanted! I'd been at it for 1.5 hours...assumed that I had already passed the 75 question mark, and that I'd be in for 'a battle'.
I took 20 min off, went downstairs, ate some peanut M&M's and a bottle of water, and reminded myself that "this was just a test-run, after all", and that's it's okay if I fail; but if I'm going to fail, I'll go down fighting!" Went back and restarted the test, and looked up at the top-right corner and realized that I had only answered 63 questions. Twenty minutes later, the computer shut off at 75 questions. I was totally shocked! Had I missed more than 50% of the questions? Hmmm--maybe. There were a couple pharm questions that DID NOT give the Brand name---only the generic---and that threw me off, because I had been told that the NCLEX will give you both the generic AND Brand names. SO, I just guessed what the med was based on the ending of the word.
Got home at about 5 p.m.---did the Pearson Vue Trick---and got 'the good pop-up'!!! I passed. Woohoo! So, my dear---all you can do is do your best. Be mentally prepared for the worst, 'cuz it feels fabulous to discover that you passed. I'd highly recommend Kaplan. It's about $450, but you can pay it over 3 months. Without the guidance the course offered, I'd still be bouncing all over the place trying to figure out where to land.
Best of luck to you!