I recently took the NCLEX-RN last week for my first time and passed. Now, I would like to share my story of how I studied for the licensing exam. In addition, I'd like to share my experience with the test and some resources afterwards. Hopefully my story will be of value when you or someone you know takes the NCLEX-RN.
But! If you don't want to read all this/that, here's what I suggest, (especially 3-5 weeks before the NCLEX):
Do as many questions
as you can and
read all the rationales
to each question and answer, even if you think you know it or you got the question correct! If the rationale is not there, look it up yourself somewhere! I would type in NCLEX-RN questions or NCLEX-RN practice or NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-RN Pearson tests online in Yahoo or Google. Go to quizlet. I also used Lippincott Williams and Wilkins (LWW) NCLEX 4000 in addition, I also signed up for Lippincott Williams and Wilkins (LWW) one NCLEX question a day.
A woman named Anneliese Garrison has some helpful videos, like Pharm drugs, (she helped me, but I'm not sure what will help you). Listen to videos while you drive, walk dogs, exercise, take a shower, wash dishes, clean, etc. Listen to what you're weak on and/or know is popular/will be asked such as lab values, drugs, DM, cardiac....
Saunders Comprehensive "yellow" book:
Do what you're weak on/know is popular/will be most likely be asked. Do questions too on that section!
Go back to your nursing book/powerpoint/notes:
Do what you're weak on/know is popular/will most likely be asked. Do questions too if available!
Do all the quizzes and questions and understand the concepts. Listen to videos again on what you're weak on.
NCSBN Learning Extensions:
Same thing, but I recommend doing questions first and then look up on there what you don't understand and read any subject you're weak on that's on there (the actual NCSBN Learning Extension). Use their content, they have a lot of info!
Review their detailed
Review the study
material! It's not actually from AllNurses I read, but from someone through AllNurses, but it's helpful!
Believe in yourself! And make time for this!
this if you're okay with praying
: I saw this prayer on a success story with AllNurses: Yes I did say all this:
o great st. joseph of cupertino
who while on earth did obtain from god the grace to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew, obtain for me a like favour in the examinations for which i am now preparing. in return i promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked. through christ our lord.
st. joseph of cupertino, pray for us.
o st. joseph of cupertino
who by your prayer obtained from god to be asked at your examination, the only preposition you knew. grant that i may like you succeed in the (here mention the name of examination)
examination. in return i promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.
o st. joseph of cupertino pray for me.
o holy ghost enlighten me.
our lady of good studies pray for me.
sacred head of jesus, seat of divine wisdom, enlighten me.
I got this prayer before from another user, but I can't remember who/where/link. I found this prayer at this site though, another user it seems: some helpful prayer for NCLEX taker
I am very strong in praying and my beliefs with God. I also believe all things happen for a reason. I also believe if one tries their best, good things will come or be there even if it's not readily seen. I am not telling you to convert or that you should pray like I did.
If you do not have money/resources to the above:
Then just try to understand why to everything. Make your own connections to things, such as suffix with medications or how heart problems causes other problems in your body. Do as many questions as you can from anywhere
-LWW question of the day, Quizlet, Pearson NCLEX questions, etc. Read all the rationales to everything. Understand questions and answers depite if you got it right. That's right I rhymed! Read success stories. Believe in yourself. Make time for studies, especially 3 weeks ahead of time. Look at the detailed study review plan on NCSBN and AllNurses at the bottom of my long maybe boring post. Go to YouTube, do more questions, go back to your nursing books
/notes/slides, or Google/read journals on do what you know you are weak on/what is a popular disease or topic/most likely will be on the exam
. I say those things such as anything cardiac related, medications on almost anything, death situations...Don't try to cover everything, but the basics of everything. But most importantly do what you feel is most important for you to know, especially if its prevalent in this Nation! Remember songs, mnemonics, acronyms, those close to one another, etc...like VEAL CHOP, or ICP vs shock, or decor
ticate (to the core) vs decerebrate, or miotics vs myd
riatics (d=dilate), or -Ol drugs (Adrenergic and beta blockers) have alcohol as Anneliese Garrison says and avoid all alcohol products with -Ol, and as one user on AllNurses, VickyRN put it with the drugs below:
You can find the right answer by counting to 10:
- - - - - - - - - - = 10
H E P A R I N (7 letters) + 3 (PTT) = 10
C O U M A D I N (8 letters) + 2 (PT) = 10
Here's another one:
What is the antidote for heparin overdose?
Protamine sulfate (just remember P M S)
What is the antidote for too much Coumadin?
Vitamin K (just remember the hard "C" at the beginning of coumadin!). Stuff like that.
These may or may not help you with the NCLEX, but can help you in reality and I do think these can help you in later understanding concepts better.
Now, if you want to know any details on me/how I did with my studying and more:
First, I graduated school in August 2013. Yay! Finished!
And congratulations to everyone who have graduated nursing school! Not the easiest two years for many people (especially parents, working, death, poor, broken relationship, house caught on fire, etc). If you went through all of this, you are super (and my condolences, of course)!
Now, ahem (letting out a cough now) I wasn't an A student! I mostly made C's in lectures, but A's on my careplans! Those tests can really confuse me! It took me awhile to actually understand what is the best answer and what is the priority! My strongest area I would say is OB and management/delegation even though I had B average. I was not very well with Psychiatry, Medical-Surgical, and Pediatrics-too too much info that all seems the same s/s but not! Although I do have a kid, so maybe that helps me with Pediatrics questions.
Okay back to subject:
Ever since I graduated I took quizzes probably two or three times a week (10-30questions a quiz). I always read rationales with questions; and that was pretty much studying until 5w before my licensing exam (when I really started studying). Whatever quizzes I found online by googling or yahooing "NCLEX-RN questions/tests/exams/practice" is what I practiced with. Also, I did LWW NCLEX-4000 questions occasionally. Good sites are Pearson, which I would type NCLEX Pearson (subject/disease such as GI or cardiac).
In addition, I watched YouTube videos by Anneliese Garrison on NCLEX drugs, which if it doesn't help you with the NCLEX test, is going to help you in reality. She has her own webpage too Caring4you.net that might help and can access YouTube videos of her there. Michael Linares also posts some helpful videos with the heart though. I also viewed lab values. These sources helped me, but I'm not sure if they will help you; however I recommend them. I did videos 2-3times a week.
Studying got really intense 5 weeks before my test:
Three weeks before my exam: I cut off
tv, no more than 1 hour a week (1 hour of tv was for my kid and it was usually Doc McStuffins), cut off my INSANITY workouts! Now I have no abs! Cut off going out with friends! Cut off going out with my husband unless it's for food in under 1 and a half hours and close by (only 2x wk)! Cut off any activity that I like and makes me not want to study!
all videos, all quizzes, and reading some 5th day materials. $300 online.
Even though the videos are good with core concepts, strategies on passing the NCLEX, and basic important things you should know; the videos do get boring to me (yawning now). So I take a pause and do something else before I get to the next video. Took about 2-3 weeks to complete all this. Saved quizzes until last week of NCLEX, did 2 quizzes daily, read all ratonales! Did 3-4videos a day. My quizzes were from one 56%, 4 in the 60's%, and one 72%, took me a good 3 hours to do one quiz and reading rationales. Looked up what I didn't understand on the question/answer.
LWW NCLEX 4000-
Did 75 questions qod. About every 2-3 days specifically. And about 15-30 questions in addition 1 or 2x wkly. 75 questions NCLEX format. 15-30 questions on what I'm weak on such as alternate format questions (SATA or select all that apply, hot spots, drugs, GI or gastrointestinal, cardiac). Yes, I was averaging high 60s
. Pretty bad
. Read all rationales. I also signed up for LWW NCLEX question of the day.
NCSBN Learning Extension
-3 week plan. $50. Headache to set up though. Needs Apple software or IE (internet explorer) 8 or 9 with Java. I did mostly questions, and with this site, whatever questions not understood and answer right or the answer wrong-I highly recommend going to the lecture portions and reading on that question and all the answer choices! Not just what answer was right and why, but all the answer choices and look up some online or in the book. They have direct links to valuable resources. I did this two weeks before my NCLEX. I did a lot of quizzes the night before, the morning of, the day before, half the week of my NCLEX. About 30-120 questions, hopped around on quizzes and content. Grade: 50s-70s. Mostly 50s and 60s. Same like Hurst, researched questions/answers I did not understand and even went to their content.
Medical-Surgical Nursing (Lewis, Dirksen, Heitkemper, Bucher, Camera)
- Read what I knew were popular questions/diseases. And what I was weak on or get confused with. Diabetes Mellitus, Cardiac dysrhythmias, Endocrine (hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, SIADH, & Addison's), Autonomic Dysreflexia, ICP, and shock.
Saunder's Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination or the yellow Saunders-
I read what I knew would be on the test, important in real life, and what I was weak on-Cardiac! That was the only thing I studied with that book and did questions at the end of the chapter as well. I did this the week before the week of my NCLEX.
To get a better feel of the NCLEX and in helping to prepare for the NCLEX:
I searched for any success stories
on passing the NCLEX. I viewed stories here on AllNurses, Mighty Nurse, Hurst and their facebook posts, NCSBN Learning Extension threads. That is how I found out about NCSBN Learning extension as well as motivating me to look at NCSBN detailed study guide and reviewing the study plan on AllNurses. I also found a prayer from a user who passed the NCLEX, which as a firm believe in God and prayers, I also said the prayer. The prayer is above.
I also went straight to the NCSBN webpage
and looked at their video on CAT NCLEX. I also looked at their detailed study plan. Looked at almost everything they had pertaining to the test. They even have some questions in the detailed study plan that may help. It helped me. It will tell you some things you will most likely need to know and can benefit you greatly, such as some examples and need to know lab values. It doesn't tell you lab values, but what you need to most likely know.
Day of exam:
I did some questions from NCSBN Learning Extension to get me in the mode of NCLEX time. I still read rationales.
Got to my test center on time. Receptionist and test proctor super sweet and kind!
Used the restroom. Got to be comfortable you know?
Did tutorial. Prayed. 77 or 78 questions-screen blank! (Sinus Tachycardia...Feeling those PVCS now...oh it's just asking if I want a break). More questions-Pulling hair out (screaming in my head thinking about it). 265 questions. End. Survey. (Okay I really don't know personally how it feels with PVCs, it was just a joke).
Pearson Vue Trick (PVT): Good pop-up
. Paid in 48hours quick results-passed. Looked on my state board of nursing webpage in 4 days-I'm a Registered Nurse! Oh Yes!
Now-state of happiness and want to share what helped me and what might help you all!
This site helps you understand PVT:
The AllNurses study guide:
(I recommend researching what you don't know or understand on this study guide) I got this from this site (but I don't really know who it comes from):
NCLEX Study Guide Question
Lastly, Please share your success stories with the NCLEX, it really helped me to read others and guide me in where I would want to study. I picked up good tips along the way. Also, let me if you have any questions or concerns! Hope my post helps!