First of all, I'd like to say thank you to everyone who has posted any form of information and tips of how they passed the NCLEX. I used this site on a regular basis to keep me informed about the NCLEX-RN.
Tools & Tips for Studying for NCLEX:
I graduated on May 26th 2013 from University of Guam. Guam is a United States Territory. Our school has an 8 year accreditation for being able to maintain an 85-100% passing rate for NCLEX during the last few years. I would have to say it was a struggle getting into our nursing program. The year I applied, I knew a 100+ applicants but only 35 of us got accepted.
First of all, I did not graduate with honors, though I was close. I had a 3.4 GPA, and unfortunately I failed one class during my first semester of nursing school. I was held back a year. However, that experience pushed me to work harder and I was motivated more than ever to succeed.
So after I graduated, I took a few days to party. I signed up for the Kaplan On Demand.
I jumped into doing questions before I watched the content. However, I did finish all the videos. It took me at least 2 months to do this. At times, it dragged so I would skip days here and there. Unfortunately the Kaplan On Demand does not come with the hard cover of the book, so I had to order it online. I got the book and would watch the videos and take notes. I studied about 3-5 hours/day for 3 months. I finished the Q-bank with a 60%. My scores for the question trainers are as follows:
Kaplan Blue Book 180 Questions: 70%
I also used the Saunders Comprehensive book
, but I didn't finish reading the entire content. I only used the book to clarify what I needed to know. I felt that the book was too complex, but I did use the disc that came along with the book. I practiced the select all that apply questions that came along with the disc. If I had to compare the questions to that of NCLEX-RN to Saunders, Saunders' questions were easier. NCLEX-RN's questions were more like Kaplan's question style (however, Kaplan was definitely harder). I felt that Kaplan really prepared me, especially with the critical thinking and test taking strategies.
Additionally, I used NCLEX-RN Exam Cram
, I didn't finish the book as well, but it did have straightforward needed to know topics. I actually liked reading this better than Saunders. The book also came with a disc, which was definitely useful for practicing questions. By the 2nd month of my studying, I was done with the Q-Bank from Kaplan. I used Saunder's Disc, NCLEX-RN Exam Cram disc and the NCLEX 4000
to answer questions. I felt that the NCLEX-RN Exam cram questions were also similar to NCLEX. The questions were straightforward.
The 3rd month of my studying consisted of reading the Kaplan Content Review Guide (Purple Book with a person holding a stethoscope). I probably read this book twice cover to cover. I loved the content and I felt that the book really prepared me to answer the questions I received during the exam.
Lastly, there was no way around it, I memorized my lab values by going over them every night for the first two months. I also posted them up in a white paper on the walls of my bedroom and the dinning area where I studied.
I kept a study plan, but I also took the time to take breaks. I would watch my favorite T.V. shows on Netflix, occasionally hang out with friends, and make time for my family. Additionally, during the entire three months, I would go to the gym at sporadic times to relieve the anxiety I felt. I felt this helped me.
Most of all, I prayed, prayed, and prayed daily. I don't think I could have done it without God by my side.
Day Of Exam:
Two days prior to the exam, I tried not to study. The day before my exam, my boyfriend took me around. I got a pedicure, watched a movie, went to mass at my church at 7pm and hung out with my family. I had about 8 hours of sleep. I was able to sleep (surprisingly). Although my anxiety level was high, I had this gut, this feeling know I can do this, and I'm able to pass NCLEX. FYI, there were 9 people in my graduating class who has taken the test before me and they all passed. So I felt the pressure. lol.
I woke up at 5:30am, and the first thing I said was "It's a beautiful day to pass NCLEX". It was also my Dad's birthday so I knew the best gift to give to him was to pass the test! My boyfriend drove me to the exam, but prior to that, we ate breakfast. I couldn't really eat due to the anxiety, but I ensured that I had something in my stomach. I ate egg whites and pancakes and drank green tea.
My exam was scheduled for 0800. I got to the testing site at 0720. I was the first one there. One of the workers gave me a set of instructions to read. Next, they asked if I had any cellphones and they bagged it. I was given a locker to put all my belongings, and I was not allowed to wear any jewelry or have anything in my pockets. They took my picture and got my palm scanned twice.
I sat there and I wore the headphones. I read here that wearing the headphones would enhance one's concentration, so I did just that. The tutorial started and right before my test started I said a prayer. I freaked out because my first question was a SATA, but I thought this thoroughly. I hid the timer and the #of question button. 1 hour and 28 mins in I was at #74. I noticed that the last remaining questions I had were priority/who do you see first questions and SATA. I was at #75 and it was a SATA. Before hitting the next button, I said a prayer. I hit the next button and the screen turned blue. I was scared. I felt like I failed. I was required to answer a survey afterwards. All in all I had about 8-10 SATA, 1 EKG, 3 dosage calculation, a few infection control questions and tons of priority questions.
I raised my hands and the proctor assisted me out. I called my boyfriend to pick me up and he was shocked that I was finished. I was prepared to sit there for 6 hours to answer 265 questions and he was prepared to wait for me.
I told him to pick me up and I was crying hysterically because I felt like I failed. I told him I didn't want to do the Pearson Vue trick until we got to church. I got to church and I prayed. We sat down in church and I was shaking. I asked him to do the trick, and then I couldn't believe it. I got the good pop up! It felt surreal.
Just then, I posted the good pop on Facebook. My classmate who had recently passed, texted me saying that she was able to get her official results a few hours after taking her exam on the same day. I felt like I needed to get the official result to believe that I passed. I couldn't believe the trick even if I knew that all my classmates who received the good pop up, passed.
At 1300 I got my official results at my BON, I was officially an RN on my Dad's birthday.
I definitely went to church to thank God. That night, I celebrated both my Dad's birthday and my passing of the NCLEX.
I know this was a long post but remember you can do it! I struggled in nursing school, failed a semester, but bounced back. I felt resilient. Remember, you can do anything if you work hard and have faith. I knew I couldn't do it without the support of my family and friends and with God by my side.
I had to sacrifice 3 months of studying to reach that goal. For some, it may come easy, for others it takes time and hard work, I was one of those people. Good luck and I hope this post helped you.
Michelle F, RN