Passed NCLEX on third try and this is how... Summer 2013

  1. 4
    Hello,
    I graduated nursing school in 2012 with my BSN. I have been reading allnurses.com for a year now and I said that when I passed my NCLEX I promised that I would post my story. I seriously have so many people to thank for emotional support including the community in allnurses.com.

    So here it goes...
    Last year, I graduated nursing school from a top 50 nursing school. I thought that since I choose a major nursing school that I would not have a problem with NCLEX. My gpa was a 3.0 but I excelled in clinicals. I choose Saunders for my main study tool. I read the text book front to back and did the questions in it. I was not keeping track of my scores or anything like that. As soon as I got my ATT, I scheduled my date for early fall. I told myself that I was going to dedicate myself to a month. In reality, I only did an actual studying for 2 weeks , the third week I moved to a different city,and the fourth week (the week before my exam) I was totally nervous and avoided all studying by watching movies or playing video games. I was in denial about how I really felt for the exam and that was unprepared but I ignored my feelings. Plus, I kept seeing people in my class passing and getting jobs and I wanted to make my family proud of me for being a self sufficient adult. So basically, I focused on other things rather than myself and the test.

    So on the first test, I got around 120 questions. At question 100, I let myself get so overwhelmed and started crying at the testing center. I did the worst thing that you can do and that is give up. I started clicking on any answer because I just wanted to go home and lay in bed, snuggle with my dog, and eat ice cream. After I finished the exam, I went home and did exactly that.

    However to make things worse for myself, I did the pearson vue trick to see if I could get my results faster than the 2 days. I got the credit card page (sign that I failed) and prayed that it was a fluke. Needless to say, I was sad. By the way, I was also late for my exam; don't do that either!

    After a week of tears, I was determined to pass NCLEX. I signed up for my test for December and I dedicated three months to Kaplan. I signed up for Kaplan the week before my test. I went to the class and it made me feel totally overwhelmed. I hated the Kaplan strategies and just my own. I just couldn't get it down. I could see that Kaplan was good if you already know your content. Instead of reschelduling, I ignored my feelings (agian) and stayed dedicated to my date.

    I went to the exam feeling nervous but confident. I actually did all the kaplan q-banks (60%) and did Q-trainer 1(54%),2 (54%),3 (58.5%). I don't remember my scores. At the exam, I couldn't figure out the questions so I used the Kaplan strategies that I didn't practice at all before the test. My exam stopped at 75 and I failed. I did do the pearson vue trick and there was a part of me that was still skeptical but it took me to the credit card page. This time I didn't cry. I went into shock and basically didn't say anything for two days.

    I was so depressed after failing the second time. It was terrible because it was around Christmas time and I traveled to see my family and friends. It was terrible having to tell ppl that I wasn't working as a nurse and hadn't passed my NCLEX. But I learned that my family and friends supported me and didn't judge me. If I had any feelings of judgement of me , it was all coming from me inside my head.

    So what does someone do after they fail NCLEX twice?
    The first thing I did was take a nice long month long break. I had to rebuild my confidence.

    After, I felt ready again,I sought out help from others.

    I was able to find a nurse who personally tutored me for 2-3 months. My tutor was able to help me realize my weakness and strengths. My tutor helped me focus. I will list my study aids then explain how I used them:

    Study tools:
    Saunders Book and CD rom
    Mosby flashcards
    Kaplan NCLEX RN Book
    Kaplan Class
    Kaplan Qbank and Q trainers
    Quizlet



    And now I will explain how I used these to pass the NCLEX on the third time...

    1) Content review. I really needed a content review. My tutor instructed me to do Saunders CD-rom (4000 questions) first. If I missed something then I need to review it in the book or the a textbook. Otherwise, you will get to overwhelmed with all the info. What I needed is to jump in and start practicing questions. We have a ton of knowledge but we need to practice questions. Also, practicing content based questions helps you review so it is a win-win.

    2) Next I had special dedicated time to my weaknesses which were: Pharm, Safety, Labs,Growth and Development. I used quizlet to help me memorize things that i needed to know like therapeutic drug levels,lab, and human development. I also used Kaplan content review on Pharm (highly recommend)!

    3)Once, I finished content, I did Mosby Flashcards. They are broken up into sections and in my opinion are a good transition from Saunders questions to practicing Kaplan questions.

    4) Then I signed up for the Kaplan class after I had already did my major content study. I went into Kaplan and it was a whole different experience. I did feel confident in my content and this point and Kaplan was able to teach my tactics to help select the answer. Kaplan is great once you are content ready.

    Here were my Kaplan scores:
    readiness- 75%
    QT1-72%
    QT2-58.5%
    QT3-49%
    QT4-62%
    QT5-62.7%
    QT6-65.5%
    QT7- 62.6%
    QBANK RANGE- 80%-100%

    5) After the class , I had 5 weeks to do all the qbank and qtrainers.
    So this is how I did my QT:
    week 1- QT 1,2,3
    week 2 QT 4
    week 3 QT 5
    week 4 Qt 6
    week 5 QT 7
    exam on mon.

    I used my qbank in between the QTs and I also used the Qtrainers to help see what I was weak in. Anything under 65%, I reveiwed and did questions on. I used only Kaplan qbank and book. I also reused Mosby flashcards on areas that were weak.


    I went home after the exam and I did the pearson vue trick and I got the special message and two days later it was official I was an RN!

    So how long did it take me to prepare for my third NCLEX and pass? 6 Months of dedication!

    A total content review for me was about 4.5 months; practicing test based questions with NCLEX was about 1.5 months.

    Overall it took me 11 months out of school to pass my NCLEX and become a RN!

    All in all, it was totally worth it! If you are a first time NCLEX test taker and reading this, you may not have to work this hard. I would say pay attention to yourself and rescheldule if you are not ready but make a study scheldule.

    If you are reading this and you need to retake the NCLEX or you were like me and unsure if you can get through this, I want you to know that I am living proof that it can be done! Don't give up on yourself! You can do this! I believe in you! Believe in yourself that you will get through this!

    I think anyone who is reading this and is planning on retaking or taking NCLEX for the first time needs to know:

    1. Make a plan. Start with your weaknesses and work towards your strengths. You need to study!

    2. Take breaks and have a stress outlet! Sometimes we think we don't have time and that may be true but you need to take time for yourself. But you will need to set limits on your breaks. The first and second time I took the exam, I didn't take many breaks and the few times I did were not appropriate times for breaks. You pay for it later if you do not take breaks. There is a lot of stuff you need to know. The third time I took the test, I would watch a 20 min show on netflix in between my studying. And I would tell myself only one 20 min episode then I will study. You just have to make yourself do it!

    3. Yes, you need to know lab values, pharm, and priority questions!

    4. 30 min before the exam, I took the time to write my name plus BSN,RN about a hundred times and it boosted my confidence before the exam.

    5. Stay calm so you can be focused.

    6. One question at a time. This is a test where every question matters. Also take extra time on your first 75 questions.

    7. Read carefully and think about it! Use your strategies for picking answers.

    8. Believe in yourself. Be ready! It will happen and when it does....it is amazing!

    Good luck! You can do it !
    Last edit by avhoney on Jul 9, '13
    mnh03, RipeChanceWoods, LeeLeeTheGPN, and 1 other like this.
  2. Poll: After taking the NCLEX once, on what NCLEX try did you pass on?

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  4. 16 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    Congratulations! Excellent story of perseverance. :-)
    Chelle2013RN likes this.
  6. 0
    Thank you and Thank you again, one of the Best sharing experience i've read here, you are so kind hearted helping your fellow nurses like me to PASS this exam i am so proud of you! Anyway ,,Congratulations and goodluck , may God Bless your heart always!
  7. 0
    Hi there i can imagine how your story goes


    I did the same. I just took mine yesterday. Tried the pearson vue trick and led me to the credit card page

    I dont know where to start anymore

    This is my second try

    Dont know how will i rebuild my confidence whenever im thinking to take the test again i fell like imma fail again
  8. 0
    Thank you so much for the comments of support!

    Kyliez,I know exactly how you felt. I was so burnt out after my second test. I didn't know how long I needed a break. It just happened to be one month. I just woke up one day and said "I am ready to try again." I meant it. During my break, I did some soul searching and did alot of self reflection. Personally, I let my nervousness and self doubt get to me on the first exams. I had to ask myself "how do i feel about this" and "what is causing me to feel this way" and I had to honestly answer myself. For me, self reflection was something that I had to do before I could even begin to restudy. One thing that I personally struggled with that I had to let go was my competiveness to compete with others who had passed NCLEX and got jobs. I was happy for them but I felt so behind in life. I had come to the realization that my only opponent is myself and that everyone is on a different schedule in life. Once I accepted this concept and also had accepted myself, I was able to move on.

    Also, Kyliez congratulations for going out there and taking it again even for a second time. Regardless of your outcome, it takes courage to do that. The fact that you went out and tried shows that you can indeed do it again! Hopefully when you do it again you will have a different and more positive result in the future!

    Also, Kyliez remember you do have an advantage now because you have taken it twice so there is not that element of surprise. Even though, you are not likely to get the same questions, you are familiar with how the questions are asked.

    I sincerely wish you all good luck!
  9. 0
    Wow, you're story is very inspiring. I'm glad to have stumbled in this page because I just recently failed my exam and been feeling the same sadness you had on your first and second try. It's funny because I have felt the same thing about the whole in-denial feelings after the school. I have let myself go far and waited too 5 months before taking my exam. I was in denial of many things because I was too afraid of facing the fact the I would be a nurse soon. I cannot describe the feeling but denying and procrastinating didn't help at all.

    I think I should do the same thing with the whole soul searching because to begin with, nursing was not really my first choice. I was forced to become a nurse by my family of nurses bc they've always believed that it would be give me a better future. It took me longer to finish my pre-nsng classes bc I wasn't taking it seriously. During the nursing school, I realized it was my calling to become one when I found out my dad got dx with DMII. I finally stepped it up and pursued to finish my school. After school, I was shocked that I made it through. I'm not gonna lie cuz I was overjoyed that I have finally accomplish it!

    Then, I felt the same way that you felt on the very beginning. Overwhelmed. In denial.

    NOw, I have to get my on my feet and restart my reviewing again. Your resources are very helpful and I might borrow some of your ideas if you don't mind And you're lucky that there was a nurse that has helped you through your journey!

    Congratulations and thanks for your story!!!
  10. 0
    Quote from avhoney
    Thank you so much for the comments of support!

    Kyliez,I know exactly how you felt. I was so burnt out after my second test. I didn't know how long I needed a break. It just happened to be one month. I just woke up one day and said "I am ready to try again." I meant it. During my break, I did some soul searching and did alot of self reflection. Personally, I let my nervousness and self doubt get to me on the first exams. I had to ask myself "how do i feel about this" and "what is causing me to feel this way" and I had to honestly answer myself. For me, self reflection was something that I had to do before I could even begin to restudy. One thing that I personally struggled with that I had to let go was my competiveness to compete with others who had passed NCLEX and got jobs. I was happy for them but I felt so behind in life. I had come to the realization that my only opponent is myself and that everyone is on a different schedule in life. Once I accepted this concept and also had accepted myself, I was able to move on.

    Also, Kyliez congratulations for going out there and taking it again even for a second time. Regardless of your outcome, it takes courage to do that. The fact that you went out and tried shows that you can indeed do it again! Hopefully when you do it again you will have a different and more positive result in the future!

    Also, Kyliez remember you do have an advantage now because you have taken it twice so there is not that element of surprise. Even though, you are not likely to get the same questions, you are familiar with how the questions are asked.

    I sincerely wish you all good luck!

    Thank you so much av honey

    I learned a lot from you

    You are so right my great opponent was myself cause i was actually felt that iam so behind for those people who passed tha test i envy them so much but iam also happy for them

    I might have try what u did

    I think i needed a long break and self reflection
    Cause now iam so exhausted i dont know if i over studied or not

    But still im experiencing bad depression

    My self esteem was all gone
  11. 0
    Good story. I too failed twice. My second attempt at NCLEX RN was on July 9 and I got the credit card page. Thank you for posting. This post definitely gave me hope in a way although right now I'm going through a financial crisis, I'm broke, no job, nothing but I hope many others out there pass like you.
  12. 0
    Congratulations!!! What an awesome testimony. I would like to let you know I became a member of allnurses after my mom sent me this story. I just failed my NCLEX for the second time a few weeks ago. I do have to say it was a blessing in itself that I retook it after the first time. I had a severe anxiety/panic attack and promised myself I would never take it again. Well I did... a year later but atleast I did it. I too did very well in nursing school and was the youngest in my program. I have dreamed of being a nurse since I was a little girl!!! After the first time I became very depressed and felt like a total loser!!! Especially after everyone else was passing!! It took my almost a year to recover and I got back at it. The first time I did not study at all... so ok my fault. This last time I studied for almost 2 weeks... alot of studying but it was cramming and I know that. So this time I know I can do it. I know its Gods will for me to be a nurse I just havent been able to walk into the blessing because I havent given it my all. How can I expect to be blessed by God if I havent even put 100% into this. So my question for you is... I finally purchased a review course. I am taking the kaplan prep course in a week. I also bought the saunders comprehensive review along with the delegation book. I was wondering what your study plan consisted of. I just feel that im so overwhelmed and if I had a concise study plan I know I can do it. I have searched for tutors but have had no luck so far... im still looking but I feel I need to be ready once my kaplan course starts and I want to have a "guide" to follow. I know kaplan will set up their course for me but I dont know where to begin with saunders or the delegation book (lacharity)... any advice you could offer would be great!!! Thank you so much again for sharing this awesome story!!! I know it has helped me as im sure it has many others!! He even brought it to me through an email by my mom... I know I was supposed to read this!! Congrats again and good luck in this crazy world of nursing!!!
  13. 0
    Hi mnh03!

    Where to start studying? That is a really good and hard question to answer.

    I would say first make two list that prioritizes your weakness to strengths.
    Put in order these....
    1. Psych
    2. Adult/geriatric Medical Surgery
    3. Pediatric Medical Surgery
    4. Fundamentals
    5. Pharmacology
    6. Maternity
    7. Safety
    8. Management of Care or Delegation/ Prioritizing Pts

    The first list is the order that you think that you are weak in. The second list are the nursing grades that you got in these categories.

    That way you can see, compare, and confirm or realize that you have weaknesses in areas that you are overlooking or only focus studying using your strengths.

    Then take the practice assessment test that Saunders has in the CD-rom. This will give you a study guide on what to take first. Use it as a guide to take to finish the CD rom questions in saunders.
    Set goals for yourself.

    For example, it could be like... I give myself four days to finish 323 questions on safety. Then I will dedicate the next week to pediatrics questions.

    Questions that you miss read the rationale on the correct answer. If you really do not understand look up in book.

    Do not read Saunders cover to cover. This resource will not help you in this way. Practicing questions is the only way to get your mind on track for taking the NCLEX.

    Seriously, use the CD-rom to get you content ready for Kaplan course. It has 4000 questions and it is time consuming but you start to realize what is most important for you to know about that topic.

    Also, MOST IMPORTANT, know your lab values. By doing the saunders content cd rom questions, you will start picking up lab values. Take notes of the ones you constantly miss and make a quizlet on it.

    For example, if you have a med surg question about a renal failure pt, you are going to need to know the BUN and cr levels OR you have a pt with diabetes mellitus then you will want to know blood sugar levels.

    After saunders, do the delegation book. The reason is that after content based you will start to realize what disease processes are most important. At times, it all is important but the delegation will really help you break it down so you will know what the most important things to look for in certain diseases. After a while, some things will always take priority over others.

    For the longest time, I denied to myself that I needed to use the Saunders Cd-rom to get content ready. I honestly believe if you do the 4000 questions, before Kaplan, I believe that you will succeed with Kaplan!

    Also, I would suggest to push the kaplan review course to give you about a month or two -three weeks to get content ready with Saunders. This is my reasoning, I think that you might get overwhelmed during the Kaplan prep course. They teach you how to prioritize which is great if you are ready to sit and take the exam.

    The reason I say this is becauseI would hate for you to go and feel that you are not learning anything from the course because it may be hard to apply what they teach you.

    However, if you decide that this is the path for you. I want you to know that Kaplan is very helpful. If you find yourself overwhelemed. Stick it through! Take notes that will help you test. Some of their tactics seem silly but in the end it is helpful. Just make sure that you practice what they tell you to do.

    I hope that this helps. I hope to not confuse you or anything like that. If something is unclear please feel free to message me again.

    I wish you the best! Good luck! Do not give up! You can do this!


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