Hey you guys! I promised myself I would share my experience with NCLEX if I passed so here it is
I graduated May 2013 and started studying the last week of May. One key thing to know is that based on my ATI Predictor, I had a 65% probability of passing my NCLEX for the first time...aka, I felt like I was screwed. I FREAKED out when I found out and literally had no idea what I was going to do to study. Many students from my class were taking classes such as ATI, Hurst and Kaplan. As much as I wanted to, I simply didn't have the money to take such a review course. So I did what many other students did and based my studying off of several books that I bought off of Amazon. I had approximately 4 weeks to study for my exam and let me just tell you, I studied my BUTT off! I studied every single day for around 6-8 hours, sometimes even 10-12. I had absolutely no life! But it was worth it in the end because I knew that I had given it my all, regardless of whether I failed or passed.
I had an incredibly hard time trying to figure out a plan of action for studying so I just went with the flow and did both reviewing content and practicing sample questions each and every day. To give you an idea, I would wake up at 8am every morning 7x/week and review content for the first 4-6 hours. Then, I would do practice questions (didn't necessarily have to correlate to the content that I had studied that day) for around 2-4 hours. I did something like this each and every day, except for 3-4 days when I felt like I was getting burnt out.
I think the most important thing for me though was my faith in God. Honestly, I COULD NOT have done it without Him. I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed. I also prayed all throughout my NCLEX exam. It gave me a sense of hope and that really helped me to keep going.
The resources that I used to study were:
- Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN (5th ed)
- Prioritization, Delegation and Assignment (2nd ed)
- Free Kaplan Question Trainers (online)
- NCLEX 3500 (online)
- 36 page study guide from this website
Saunders was AWESOME for content review and PDA was GREAT for practicing priority and delegation questions. The Question Trainer's gave me a good understanding of what the questions on the NCLEX might be like and they also helped me to really think critically. Whenever I wanted to practice more questions, I used NCLEX 3500 and I really enjoyed that free website, especially since there were so many questions! The 36 page study guide was REALLY REALLY REALLY helpful ---especially the infection control part of the guide (MTV, SPIDERMAN, MRS.WEE, VCHIPS). This guide really saved me on some of the questions! Honestly you guys, these were the only resources that I used. I put studying first before anything and I just believed in myself --- even though according to ATI I only had a 65% chance of passing.
With all of this being said, to those who are getting ready to take their NCLEX, I KNOW you can do it. Just stick to your personalized study plan and be confident!!! If you don't know the topic of the question, then just THINK about it. Use the key words and answer choices as puzzle pieces and think of the question as a mystery waiting to be solved. Eliminating answer choices is also very important! It truly helps you to get to the right answer. Remember, NCLEX is a minimum competency exam. It wants you to show it that you can be a SAFE nurse. Seriously though, if I can do it...so can you!!