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- by Kisabelle Sep 18I promise God that if I passed my NCLEX test that I will help as much nursing students as I can by sharing my story. I just want to start by giving you a background for the past year of my life to understand my anxiety on taking the NCLEX.
First, I failed my last class of acute care during the fall session and I was so devastated that I cried for a whole week. I felt so defeated not only by failing a class but it also mean that I wouldn't graduate with my whole nursing class which I have built rapport for the past two years. I was also angry because I have wasted hundreds of hours going to school, clinical, and studying instead of spending time with my daughter. To top it all off, I was having financial difficulty and also my marriage was unraveling . After 9 years of marriage my husband and I finally decided that separation and divorce was inevitable. I finally graduated on May 2013 and within couple of weeks I took the Hurst review. At the same time I was packing my life away to move to another state. I originally scheduled to take my test in July but knowing that your getting a divorce but your both still living together is very emotionally draining so I moved it back to the second week of August. My daughter and I moved across the country the first week of August and I cried the whole week and could not get out of bed so I moved it back to September 4, 2013 (My last available date) because I forgot about the three month rule and so now I only have two and half weeks to study and I literally wanted to shoot myself.
So the silver lining to this story is that even though people called the NCLEX test as the devil incarnate (because it knows your weakness..hehehe), it actually got me out of my funk and forced me to focused all my energy on me and my daughter's future. Here is my study plan to help anybody who is having panic attacks because they didn't have enough time to study.
Hurst: I read the whole book but I wasn't able to memorize any information. I focused mostly on my weaknesses which are pediatrics, maternity (I know, it's very ironic that these are my weakness), pharmacology and endocrine. I didn't get to do the questions because I needed to focus on the content. I know that everybody said to focused on questions but if you don't know your content you can answers a thousand questions and still not know the answer.
Kaplan: A very good friend of mine shared her Kaplan questions with me after she passed her NCLEX and I am so grateful and forever indebted to her because I feel like this helped me the most on preparing me for the test in combination of my content studies. I actually think that their questions are a lot harder than the NCLEX questions that I got.
QT7 Did not do
Saunders: I only did the SATA or alternate questions to prepare myself because I really suck at SATA questions.
I know that my scores are horrible but I persevered. I studied 2 hours during the day and 5 hours at night. I know that I'm a visual learner so I watched a lot of youtube videos on different diseases that I am very weak on and also the correct procedures on how to do things. I wrote a lot of notes with pictures on them as well. I memorize some of the mnemonics that I created and have found here. I trained myself for the long haul because I felt like I was going to take all 265 questions or be there for 6 hours so whenever I do questions, I always made sure that it's at least 150-250 a time without breaks beside bathroom breaks. I'm not a morning person but my test was at 8:00am so I woke up everyday for two weeks at 7:00am, shower, eat my breakfast and go straight to my studies. By the time it was time for me to take my test, I was a nervous wreck. I didn't want my anxiety to take over so I prayed to God, I closed my eyes and pretended that I'm doing my morning routine of answering questions in my study. One and a half hours later my computer shut off at 75 questions and I didn't know whether to cry or laugh. I paced myself the whole test and I actually took three breaks because I keep needing to go to the bathroom (I was actually flag for that and my test was audited so it took two days for me to find out that I passed.)
My most important advice is know your lab values because I had at least 10 questions with lab values in it and interpreting them on what type of disease would cause this abnormality or what lab value to look for in certain diseases and medications. READ ALL your rationales even if you get them right. Know your infection control because this will also help you in prioritization questions. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE your SATA or alternate questions because you will have a lot of them. Focused really hard on the first 10-15 questions because these determines what level questions you will get (or so I heard). I had 5 SATA on the first 15 questions and then its every other questions.
I hope that my story will help someone out there and to let you know that you are not alone. Good Luck future nurses, I know that you can do it!
- Sep 18 by CCU13Hi. Your story is so inspirational and I applaud you for getting through making it through this rough patch. You did it!!!!!
I, too, am taking my exam in 2 and a half weeks and still feel like I don't know anything after going over some content. You said a person can do a thousand questions and still know nothing. I agree with that 1,000%; people have been telling me to just do questions and I just couldn't understand how they can tell me to do questions when I feel like i don't know enough. At this point, I am so overwhelmed that I don't think I can memorize much. After all, I have 2 and a half weeks before my exam. For content, I am doing NCSBN and it is very informative but ALOT of information. It takes me close to a whole day to do 1 lesson. By the time I am done with the lesson, I am ready for bed.
Do you have any advice on how I should organize my time and day? I am a morning person.
Did you begin your day by doing NCLEX style questions? I am not sure of how to organize my day where I have enough time to go over all the content and memorize it and do about 150 questions a day.
Also for me, SATA is my weakness. Does Saunders have a book thats just SATA and alternate questions?
Your advice would be greatly appreciated, especially since you have been through the struggle. Thanks
- Sep 18 by KisabelleHi CCU13, Forget everybody...they will confuse you more and make you panic than you already are. I know because my advisor would call me every week and gets frustrated with me because I’m still reading my Hurst book and she insisted that I do question and says that it’s not nursing school anymore so I need to stop reading. I love her to death and I know she means well but I know myself better.
First, determine your weakness. For you to study, you need to know what you’re not good at. Write it down because you need something to remind you what to focused on for the next two weeks. Organization is the key to this insane and accelerated studying. Kaplan diagnostic test help me focused on subjects that I did not score above 50% which are the basic care and comfort, pharm and parenteral therapies, and health promotion and maintenance. I focused on that by doing Qbank questions on only those topics because I don’t have time for anything else. I’m also weak on peds, maternity,pharm, and endocrine so I focused all my studies on those. I used Hurst and the internet for those topics. Remember, you can't possibly know everything so focused on you weakness and what you normally see at the hospital all the time example: cardiac problems, diabetes, pneumonia, dvt, and etc..
Second, Know how you study! By now you should have an inkling on how you study and what helps you learn. I’m a visual learner so I viewed a lot of youtube videos and pictures for me to understand certain disease process and procedures. I can read all day on how to approach a patient with macular degeneration but if I don’t know how they see things, it will not click in my brain (I know it’s a sad story of my life).
Here’s my schedule
6:00/7:00am I wake up and do my morning routine like how I would do when it’s time for the test.
8:00am I start by answering 150-250 questions from Kaplan. I review ALL my answers even the ones that I got wrong because it will give you an idea on how you were thinking during that question and by reading the right answer will show you how youshould be thinking when you see a similar situation. I write down all the questions I got wrong and I made sure that I separated the meds from everything else. I do this until the kids wake up (I watch my sister’s son as well) and then I take a break.
9:00pm once the kids are asleep, I go back to my studying but this time I focused on the content. I go through my list and Google info about it to familiarize myself and the most important nursing intervention I need to know about it. I also read on procedures like how to administer blood products, preparing sterile field or the order of putting gowns,gloves, mask and etc… I would study for 5 hours or until I’m tired. Your back and head will hurt with this type of accelerated studying but don’t give up.
Saturday and Sunday My sister have the kids all day and night so I can study as long as I want. I review my notes that I wrote, did some more questions and study my content.
Memorize certain facts that you can brain dump once it’s legal to do so during the test like lab values, mnemonics for airborne,droplet, and contact precautions, mnemonics for vaccinations and etc…
I know that you can do it; I know that sometimes you just want to quit but if you think about what this license mean to you, you will work twice as hard.Last edit by Kisabelle on Sep 18 : Reason: format
- Sep 18 by CCU13Thank you so much for your response and support. I am a little more at ease with the way I have been preparing for this exam and will definitely take your advise on how to continue. I will focus more on my weakness and do questions everyday until my exam day.Thanks again!