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Developing a Plan for taking the NCLEX-RN

NCLEX   (9,084 Views 34 Comments)
by pers pers (Member)

5,543 Visitors; 517 Posts

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I graduated from a BSN program 10 years ago and have never taken the NCLEX (long story, life happened). I'd like to take it now (well, in a few months) but unprepared barely scratches the surface of how I feel! Last year I did plan to take it and began studying a number of books and computer programs in an effort to prepare but I ended up moving and putting it off yet again.

To be honest, I feel very overwhelmed and I'm finding it difficult to get started because I'm really not sure where to start. I'm wondering about using a review program to help provide structure and have found the following online:

Kaplan ($499) http://www.kaplannursing.com/Nursing_Domestic/NCLEX-RN/View-Kaplan-Programs/Comprehensive-Courses/NS_nclex_qbclass.html

NCSBN (most likely $159) http://learningext.com/products/rnreview/review.asp

Saunders ($130) https://evolve.elsevier.com/productPages/s_389.html

Starting Point ($150) http://www.startingpointrn.com/index.html

Virtual ATI RN Standard ($429) http://www.virtualati.com/

I realize I'm unlikely to find anyone else who has been in my situation but I'm hoping there is someone who perhaps failed when taking the test right out of school and then passed after waiting to retake it for a couple of years. I'd really appreciate advice on what helped with brushing up on all the stuff you forgot without having to go back to school. And if anyone has ideas about the above programs and how well they think they might help someone in my situation I'd be happy to hear about it!

If it helps at all, I am a slightly better than average test taker and was a B student in nursing school without having to work too hard. I'm at the point where I need to do this and become an RN or go back to school for something else.

I've read that the average nursing student puts in 80-100 hours preparing for the NCLEX. I figure if that's true I'll need at least 100-150 hours to stand a chance! I'm scared to try but I think if I could develop a plan and stick to it then I could do this. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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1,374 Visitors; 23 Posts

I suggest to purchase Saunder's NCLEX Review Book 4th Edition, Read it 2-3 times and then do the questions on the CD... very effective!!! GLuck

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1,683 Visitors; 30 Posts

u need content!! what ever u do stick to just !. i personally think kaplan becuase rather than reading all the time. the have online content review where there are video,[risk potential, health promotion etc..] broken up the way nclex categorise and someone is talking lecture with slide and u can move the cursor to whatever topic u want to listedn 20x same thing if u wanted and i think the more u hear someone say something the more u remeber. plus the have review ques. also video same broken down category where they break down the ques, why u want to do this...and more importantly the strategies!!! so u dont have to use sooo much brain power to answer the ques. i used it found out today passed. only had 75q hope it helps:typing

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643 Visitors; 3 Posts

We are in the same boat, except for me it's 12 years ago. Graduated BSN, never took the NCLEX (long story - different career path), but have decided that I need to finish this part of my education.

Currently feel Completely Overwhelmed. I have a review book, just ordered Saunders, and may sign up for Kaplan Live review. My concern is that I may have lost too much of the content or the content changed and I am up a creek.

I'll check in on this thread from time to time....

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1,391 Visitors; 18 Posts

I just took my nclex almost a year after I graduated and although it wasn't 10 yrs i still felt overwhelmed bc I felt as If i didn't remember anything. I studied for 1 1/2 mos hardcore I mean 12 hrs a/day and passed with 75q. My advise to you is stick with one book I did Saunders read the book front to back get a medical surgical book from one of the university libraries don't worry if its 2-3 yrs old its ok and use it as a reference to anything you do not know and do Kaplan Qtrainers. These are the most similar to the actual nclex in my opinion. I also did the Hurst review which was good when your in your car or at the gym and finally......DO the delegation, and prioritization book by Linda Lacharity! I was worried when doing this book because i was getting between the 50's and 80's but read and re-read the rationales because delegation and prioritization consists of at least 30-50% of the questions on the nclex and this book teaches you how to answer them. I did about at least 100-150 on occasions 250q/day with averages in the 67-85 in the Saunders book. Don't feel discouraged by your scores trust me I did! and finally read up on the current guidelines for infection control bc this is a big one in the nclex compromising around 20-30% of questions...In regards to pharmacology I suck..real bad..I use the process of elimination but I did study the side effects of the major classification of drugs and with that I think you should be fine. Well sorry for the long story but I hope this helps :D and I wish you the best of luck!!

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3 Followers; 95,908 Visitors; 36,540 Posts

You might find it helpful to take a review course to jump start your study. Then study on your own using the materials you get from your review course along with the Saunders Comprehensive Review. Make certain that you schedule enough time before your appointment. Get a large desk calendar and plan out your study. Do as many questions as possible and study the rationales. Once you pass the NCLEX and get your license, you may also feel better about looking for work if you take a nursing review course that includes clinical practice to get you back into the nursing frame of mind. Good luck.

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5,543 Visitors; 517 Posts

I had the 3rd edition of Saunders along with a few other review books but ordered the 4th edition which should be here Wednesday. I also picked up the priority and delegation book by Linda Lacharity and the Kaplan NCLEX-RN Exam 2010 that I expect sometime next week as well.

There are no live review courses near me that I would consider. It doesn't help that most of the newer nurses I've spoken with found the locally offered courses to be useless and attended only as a requirement for their nursing programs. I decided against doing an online review course for a couple of reasons, the biggest factor being time. Kaplan was my first choice for review and it's 3 months of access which may or may not be enough for me considering how much time each day I'm currently able to spend studying. Also, looking into it further I'm not sure it would have provided the kind of structure I'm looking for, or at least not more than the Saunders book will (for significantly less money!)

Current plan is to focus on those 3 books with at least one hour of dedicated study each day. Once I'm finished with all three, I'll most likely end up doing some sort of online question database--not sure which one yet. If I'm not comfortable content wise, I'll reconsider doing an online review course.

I haven't set a date for my exam but my goal is sometime in August or September. That would give me at least 3 months to prepare (90 hours) or as much as 5 months if I needed it (150 hours). That keeps me in my target range of 100-150 hours.

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722 Visitors; 15 Posts

Also, if you have an IPOD there are a bunch of NCLEX reviews on Itunes. They have Saunder's Mosby and Davis. You can download the reviews and take them anywhere you go. You can even listen to them while driving. I downloaded the PN one and it pointed me in the right drection of what, where and how to study for the NCLEX. I hope this helps! I am also in a similar boat as you, it has been ten years for me! We just have to study smarter and not harder!

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5,543 Visitors; 517 Posts

grinder and yumaee01, if either of you have a study plan in place I'd love to hear about it! I'm kinda making mine up as I go here... It's difficult for me, I have never really been a studier and that's pretty much the only way I'm going to pass the NCLEX! Have either of you set a date for the exam?

I don't have an ipod, but that sounds like a great idea! Are they just audio reviews? Would any mp3 player work?

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722 Visitors; 15 Posts

I am not sure if an MP3 player will work or not! I also saw that if you have an Iphone or IPod touch you can study on the go. I also saw Pharmacology and other various nursing reviews. The plan that I am sticking to is, I am refreshing my memory with a Foundations of nursing book, first. At the end of each chapter I answer the questions and check my answers. Once I complete the foundations book I am going to purchase one of the review books. I haven't decided which one yet! Then I will take the test and review the rationales until I fully understand, I am planning on doing at least 5,000 to 7,500 questions. I am also writing everything down that I studied, chapters and tests with the dates that I studied. I just started listening to the audio review on the IPOD, it was a good resource and helped point me in the right direction of study. I am not much of a studier either, now I am very motivated and will pass the third time around. I haven't set a date yet, I am looking at July or August. I am scared to death of taking this exam again, which is why I stopped. Both times I had the maximum amount of questions and freaked out. pers, have you scheduled a date yet?

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722 Visitors; 15 Posts

pers, after I posted, I read that you are planning to test August or September. I think that should be plenty of time!

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5,388 Visitors; 235 Posts

need advice from you people here...i have read what u all have written down and got really motivated. i dont know if i am on the right direction. i have read the kaplan course book and kaplan basics book about 85% to 90% done with it. like someone who contributed to this forum, i write down what i read and highlight and re read a million times over the topic that i read and the notes too. i have compiled a whole binder already. i bring my notes everywhere, to work on the bus etc. i also have the saunders comprehensive cd. i study system per system on study mode and i cut and paste the rationales and print them out. i use this as a study tool not as my diagnostic test. i also read this over and over again. so i have done a couple of systems on the saunders...mainly maternal, child health, psych, cardio, endoc, gastro and currently doing musculo...sometimes i feel like im doing too slow and i should pick up the pace because i plan to take the exam in june, mid june. i did the kaplan question trainers too and my scores are 67,60,57,63 on 1,2,3,4. i plan to purchase kaplan q bank in the month of may to focus on the harder questions and to really practice. i also have the linda la charity book and have been scoring 50-75% on them, but i read the rationales and take it system by system. now i am thinking of purchasing the saunders comprehensive book because i feel like the cd does now have enough questions? like for gastro system...its only 174 and sometimes the questions repeat itself. but i dont wana to overwhelm myself because i also want to purchase the qbank and want to do 150 questions per day a month before my exam and hit it hard! am i doing okay? am i moving too slow? should i pick up the pace? should i do more? felt like i was low in content so i started reading the books and going over the most important facts of the systems etc...please advice...

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