I apologize in advance for the long post, but I promised myself I would come back here to share my thoughts/experience/journey after it was all over. And here I am, officially an RN!!!
So here it is, as concise as possible.
My first post here was a sad one. I had graduated from a decent nursing school with good grades and took my NCLEX-RN in early July. Only to find out I failed two days later (Yes the PVT trick DOES work, it took me to the credit card page). I was devastated to say the least. I couldn't help but to feel like the biggest failure in the world. I also didn't know what the heck to do! I had studied the saunders book from cover to cover, practiced questions and felt pretty confident. When I left the test, I did not feel great about it, but never would have thought I failed.
After mourning for a few days, I put my big girls pants on and decided I needed to figure out how to pass this test. I didn't go to school for five years for nothing! MOST IMPORTANTLY, like many of us in times of stress/pain, I turned to God. I had always had a relationship with Him, but I knew having a stronger bond with God would help me help myself. So I prayed, everyday, for strength mostly, to get through this.
ATI - My school made me purchase ATI, and througout my last semester, I practiced a few questions a week, never really taking it serious. That was my first big mistake!! Start studying BEFORE you graduate. That last semester start practicing questions/content. For my first attempt, I thought virtual ATI was too tedious so did not do it like I should have. In studying for my second attempt, my main study tool was ATI. I still think a lot of it is tedious, especially if your online tutor sends you short answer questions, but it will help since those questions are formulated from the areas you are weak in. I think ATI was most helpful to practice questions. I completed assesments even if they were not assigned to me. Practice, practice, practice! I started getting more comfortable with NCLEX style questions with all the practicing.
Saunders - This was my main study tool for my first attempt. I do like this book, JUST for content though. I do not recommend using this book for NCLEX style questions. The questions are too easy and straight to the point. The actual NCLEX is not that simple and obvious. It makes you apply content and concepts and THINK. The book is great to review content however, it has great visuals. A lot of it can be repetitive. **The CD has a few good resources too.
PDA - I looked at the majority of this book for my first attempt. It's a good book for delegation and knowing what an LPN, RN, AP can/cannot do. It's good to review for sure. I did not look at it for my second attempt but got the gist of from reading it once.
Kaplan - strategies/practice/review 2013-14 - I read a chapter or two of this book so can't really comment on how good it is to study. I did however use the CD for one of the practice tests and some to do other sample questions. As far as the questions, I think it was good for NCLEX style. They were hard and def made you think like NCLEX does.
Mosby's Pharm memory cards - Great little book to review meds! Awesome visuals and concise information. Honestly I did not finish reviewing the entire book, but it helped with remember a lot of meds. Especially cardiac meds.
Tutor - I managed to get paired up with an awesome nurse at my job that met with me a few times to practice questions. I am not sure where she got the questions from but this helped. She was also very encouraging. Having people to encourage and empower you is a huge boost for your confidence. I also saw someone to help me relax during the test, she taught me some relaxation techniques.
Random study guide - I found a random guide on here and have seen it floating around online. This is good to review a few times. Not sure who made it, but they did a good job of including things frequently asked on the NCLEX. Check it out.
On exam day I was nervous. Prayer helped me calm down a little. During the test I took a break to go to the bathroom. I also took breaks at my station by putting my head down, relaxing and praying when I felt like I was overwhelmed. About 1 hour and 45 minutes later my test shut off at 75. I felt relieved, yet anxious and scared. I cried for a good 10 minutes in my car while it all sank in. It was terrible, and I never ever wanted to take the test again. I was pretty sure I had failed, since I felt worse than I did the first time. My faith and family was the only thing that kept me somewhat sane. The next day, I decided to do with PVT trick with my close family around in case I needed a shoulder to cry on. GOOD POP-UP!!! I cried and sobbed anyway. GOD IS GOOD! HE ANSWERS PRAYERS. The next day I confirmed I passed! What a relief!
For my second attempt I was so confused and anxious that I thought the best thing to do was to study from a bunch of different resources/books. I later realized this was impossible. I took to practicing questions and ATI mostly. I do not recommend studying from a bunch of different sources. Mainly because it can get overwhelming and confusing. Stick to one or two things and PRACTICE QUESTIONS!!
Most importantly PRAY. PRAY and you shall receive. God will give you strength and you will prevail. Thanks to Him I am officially an RN and will be starting my new job in a pediatric ICU in two weeks. PRAISE THE LORD!
To all those who have failed, stay strong, have faith. I know it's easier said than done, but one day this will be a thing of the past. FOCUS! Best of luck to all!