I just tested this last Thursday. There were many times I would go on allnurses.com for advice. I recently found out I passed so I also want to share my experience with you
Here's a little tid bit about me: It has been the craziest past 2 years of my life. I was enrolled for the MANE program in Minnesota which consisted of 3 semesters instead of the usual 4 semesters. There was a lot more content compiled in each semester. I was always an average grade student in Nursing school
. Moreover, I was one of those students that did not have any prior medical experience as my fellow cohorts did. However, I did my best effort to pass my ADN program. I actually studied too much for the exams that I did not even bother to focus on the NCLEX during my last semester. We had to take the ATI predictor test and I believe I scored less than 30-40% chance of passing the NCLEX. Most of my classmates had an 85% or more. I thought I would just focus on my NCLEX after graduating. During the first half of Summer though, my sister was getting married and I had a family trip overseas. I wasn't able to study much at all until it was all over.
Be very organized. Have a study plan.
Research everything you need to know about the exam
- so you know not to rush through to finish.
- content you want to cover and study weaknesses.
- What to expect and not do. High security testing
Buy your study materials off ebay and amazon
. The prices are often cheaper than what is retailed.
Materials I used were:
Saunders Comprehensive Review
- Great for reviewing content
- Everything you need to know is condensed down to main bullet points
- I was going to make this my only main source of studying until I tried reading through the book. I knew cramming my head with all of the information was not realistic.
- I read first half of the book, the first couple of chapters REALLY helped me gain knowledge in fundamentals and answer questions
- I discovered this wonderful study source from many of my classmates who used it and passed.
- Amazingly detailed rationales. It ended up being my main source of studying.
- I purchased the $75 for 30 days subscription.
- There are about 2000 questions. I spent every day with 60-75 questions.
- Towards the end of my subscription, I vigorously took notes of content I was not familiar with and studied them.
- I referred to most of these rationales to help me during the exam.
- Try to test your knowledge by going through old questions without looking at the rationales to explain why each of the answers are right or wrong
- Many SATA questions also
Lacharity's Prioritization, Delegation and Assignment
- Through research, I found out there would be many priority and delegation questions
- Many people suggested this book so I bought it off amazon.
- $30. It is a workbook that has about 500 questions, rationales and a few case studies.
There is no reading content for any chapter. Just straight up questions. Each chapter has a main topic such as diabetes mellitus, pediatric or fluids and electrolytes.
- Very helpful in delegation especially
- I also took notes and studied them before the actual exam
- I did not look at the case studies. Only worked through the questions
I also supplemented my studying by using the 35 page review that was floating around the internet (helpful tips but some are not accurate to this date), pinterest (if you study well with visuals and pictures), taking questions and reviewing them from NCLEX Mastery, Quizlet and previous ATI practice tests.
Take notice that the more studying materials you use for questions, there will be some information that will contradict eachother. Just do not confuse and fustrate yourself.
Reinforce learning by reading rationales and looking them up in Saunders or your school textbooks.
Overall, I took two months to study. Everyone deals with stress differently- I knew my limits, strengths and weaknesses. I had very long studying sessions but I would end up on social media also. Turn them off. Delete the apps. Disable your facebook or have someone change the password. Do whatever measures it takes to help you focus. I chose not to work during this Summer because I knew I needed all the time I could get. Many people can do full time work and school. Not me and that's okay. I managed to work many hours (I even sacrificed my last Summer to work a total of 100-150 hours of overtime) prior to the school year. I did myself a favor and I stressed so much less.
I scheduled my exam on Aug 26 originally but rescheduled twice because I felt I needed the extra days. Although researching and reading experiences were helpful, it made me feel more nervous. I was even going to reschedule it one more time but I just wanted to get it over with and start working again.
Arrive at the testing center knowing you may end up staying for 6 hours.
Either you will have a minimum of 75 questions, in between 76-265, or all 265. I stopped between 95-100 questions. Remember, the test will stop when it finally knows your competency level.
I was so anxious when I arrived at the testing center. During the exam, I used the headphones that cancelled out noise. I ended up removing them cause it started to hurt my ears. But it ended up being fine, the room is very quiet regardless. I was given a wipeable marker and board. I didnt use it.
I had roughly around 15 SATA. I received mostly questions about OB, pediatrics, diabetes, pharm, priority, patient safety and therapeutic communication. No calculations.
I thought I would for sure fail. I did not study a lot of pharm or pediatrics. There were just simply too many drugs to remember. I only remembered the important need-to-knows for popular medications like digoxin or heparin. After 75 questions, there was a pop up. I think it was a survey but I clicked next too fast. I thought I was done but the test continued. For the next 20 questions, I had a bunch of weird formatted questions I did not expect. I never heard anyone mention having case studies or selecting multiple symptoms for 3 conditions on a table. I was so frustrated because at this point, I felt I was just guessing through them.
i was already 3 hours in and thought I'd have to go through all 265 questions in the next 3 hours.
When I stopped around 90-100, I felt relieved I didnt have to go through the rest. I was also scared and expected to retest again. I did not feel confident at all. It made me feel like I didnt study enough.
When I got home, I tried the PVT trick. I received the "good pop up" after putting in a wrong CVC number for my credit card. I was happy but obviously it didnt feel right. It wasnt official. I was skeptical. No high hopes.
For the next 2 days, I tried it 5 more times. Still had the good pop up.
Then I went to my state's BON to verify if my license number was active. To my surprise, I saw my name and everything! I was really happy but because I didn't receive my unoffical results from PearsonVUE yet, I was not satisfied. Perhaps I didnt need to but I ended up spending $8 to see if I passed and I did!
This helped me feel relieved knowing I really passed so I can start applying for jobs.
I will return to school for my BSN next year after gaining work experience. I also need to start earning money again before going back. Im very excited to start my career.
I hope my experience gave you some ideas to get started and what to expect. Best of luck to you all!