Well I finally did it -- I PASSED THE NCLEX!!! I've been on this site for a few years, and the last couple of months I've spent many nights reading NCLEX stories, and praying that I could come back to write a post about my suggestions for those of you who will be testing in the future.
So, I took my exam on February 13, 2014..exactly 2 months after graduation (I was hoping for sooner, but there was a delay in receiving my ATT)..after about 2 hours, my computer shut off at 75 questions -- I left, I freaked out, I checked Pearson, and I got the "good pop up"
Two days later, pearson posted that I passed
Here's what I thought I knew - and what I know now ....
1. Trust your gut when it comes to preparing. I've read a lot of posts with people's study plan and materials used ... but only you know what will work for you.. You've made it through nursing school, and the best advice I can give is not to mess with what has been successful for you in the past.
2. Review courses prey on your fear. So after I graduated, I thought I had it all mapped out ... I had my NCLEX review books ready to go, I had my notes, and everything I believed I needed to be successful on the exam - but a few days after graduation I noticed at least half the class reached deep in their pockets for Kaplan (close to $500), and this made me start to feel really inadequate really quick. I began to doubt my instincts, and instead, I started to believe the only was I could pass was by a "guarantee" by someone who never met me basically saying that was my only chance to pass on the first time......I know many people on here speak very highly of Kaplan -- BUT, I honestly did not think Kaplan was worth it... I prepared with Qbanks, Qtrainers, Class on demand, Class questions, etc etc etc...and although kaplan questions were "difficult", I felt the exam was a bit more straightforward which made me feel like I was failing the whole time I was testing. I expected so much from Kaplan, but in the end, they set me up to freak out.
3. If you are looking to review -- keep it simple.
---Do NOT overwhelm yourself with tons of review material..you won't know where to start, and it will keep you from moving forward. If I could pick my top two review materials -- I would choose to stick with HURST lectures for content and NCSBN for supplement content and their practice banks. If you are a few months away still from testing -- plan to put some money aside for your choice of review -- because it adds up quick!
4. Do not procrastinate, and give yourself plenty of time to review. You need to take this seriously -- and just remember -- you only need to do this once (hopefully), so make it count.
5. Plan a "winding down" week. The week or few days before your exam -- make sure you are wrapping up your studies and make sure you have a good handle on content. Side effects are important...Risk factors are important...you know your stuff..now just apply it. Don't start anything major this week (content wise) and in my opinion, this week should be made for as many practice questions as you can handle. I probably did about 150 questions per day at this point. READ EVERY RATIONALE AND UNDERSTAND THEM!!!!
6. Believe in yourself and use as many relaxation techniques as you can. Anxiety will be your greatest enemy. You need to beat the fear..
7. Reflect on your accomplishments...the night before test day, I laid in bed and thought back on all the things I went through during nursing school, and all the times I succeeded. This may sound silly, but it boosted my confidence and made me realize I CAN pass the NCLEX. Wake up and smile - and tell yourself "This is the day I will get my license" Think of it has a good day, not a day you are dreading. A change in attitude can be the difference between passing and failing.
In the end -- you will do the best you can, and you WILL pass!! I am confident in every single one of you. Enjoy these days, because they will make precious memories in the end. You guys are all strong, compassionate, and smart!! Good luck out there, hope this helped