Failed NLCEX 2, Passed with God's help. Tips on NCLEX retakers


Hello all my name is James and I am a frequent allnurses viewer but first time poster. After graduating from the Philippines with a BSN in Nursing I came back to CA to take my NCLEX RN. I stumbled upon this website and amazing forums when I was researching on local NCLEX review centers to enroll in. I told myself after having read so many people's I passed the NCLEX threads that when that day happened for me I would register and make my own thread. So here is my story;

First off I will admit that I was not very studious when I was attending nursing school. I knew I could have gotten better grades but I selfishly used my time in the Philippines as an extended vacation because I havent been back there in over 15 years. After graduating on March 2010 I then proceeded to get my paperwork ready and filled to take the NCLEX. I studied at best 1-2 hours a day for the NCLEX, I figured that it was just another multiple choice exam to which I would not ace but surely not fail, I mean come on how hard could it be? I told myself. Other people have taken it in the past and did fine, Im sure I will to. I fooled myself even after spending 5 hours in the testing center answering all 265 questions that I probably passed and I should just relax and wait for that letter in the mail. Needless to say I failed and thats when the pressure and anxiety started to build up. :heartbeat::redbeathe:heartbeat:redbeathe

My parents rightfully so were dissapointed in me because they knew I did not put alot of effort into studying for the exam and demanded that I immediately study again to retake it. The second time around I decided to "study" but after opening my thick review books I told myself there has got to be a "smarter" way to do this. Basically I wanted another easy way out and I started searching online for tips or study guides to basically tell me what to study and just focus on that. You can see that this is the wrong approach because after having "studied" what I thought was going to be in the exam, I foolishly retook the NCLEX 2 months later. And after having done some "reasearch" on the NCLEX i knew that you had to basically answer the hard type questions to pass the NCLEX. So when my test was still going even after 200 questions I started to panic and race myself even though I had plenty of time to finish, and just answer all 265 questions now. I was so devasted to learn that I failed once again and it most certainly did not help me as my parents were right next to me as I opened that letter of failure, all the while hoping and praying against all odds that I had passed. :crying2:

I felt defeated and pretty much worthless. I felt like nothing will ever go my way and that I was stupid in thinking I could pass this exam since I got even WORSE results on the second try. But thanfully for me I have amazing parents that even though were mad as can be were still pushing for me to study and retake my NCLEX. This time I finally said no more shortcuts, I will study as long as it takes and as much as it takes because I will pass on the 3rd try. So this is what I did to pass my NCLEX RN;

1. Enrolled myself in Kaplan(it is pricey but at the time they had a discount and thats why I enrolled)

2. Picked out 1 and only 1 COMPREHENSIVE review book and stuck by it. You may feel that having everything out there related to nursing will help you but really it can hinder you. Lab values and some rationales will be different amongst different authors so it is best to pick 1 book and stick with it. I choose Saunders comprehensive review.

3. I knew content was where I was lacking, so I made sure that everyday I would read(and I mean READ) the chapters I wanted to accomplish that day. I set a schedule for myself and stuck with it. I treated this self review as if I was in school again and went to the library for my "classes". Again I have goals written down on what chapters I needed to finish each day in order to be successful.

4. After finishing the whole book I then started to do question, everyday I did questions 50-100. And I made sure that I read the rationale for each one. After starting Kaplan I felt even more defeated because the questions all seemed to hard for me and my scores were really low. But that is not what matters, focus on those correct rationales.

5. I went through La Charity Priority and Delegation. Wow this book is soo good. Please you must get this somehow and honestly after doing the book 3x(its so short but chock full of knowledge), I knew that I could 100% answer correctly ALL priority questions and not just pick AIRWAY b/c we learned that in school . . .

6. Know your Infection control! There is a post here that has the pneumonic to study. Please it takes 1 day to fully memorize it. It is a lifesaver. BUT dont just memorize it, LEARN it! why is TB airway? why does it make sense that a pt needs a mask when being transported? WHY WHY WHy? plz ask yourself that. words are nothing without their meaning. Trust me because for the first 2 tries this is what I did. I studied the pneumonic but that was it I didnt really "understand" why such and such was a droplet precaution until after I started pairing this info with the content I so furiously devoured and it was literally like a lightbuilb flashing on in my head.

7. Next I went and studied my drugs. UGH i always hated and pushed this last but I knew I had to do it. Luckily for me I found that Kaplan really has such a smart and easy way to learn drugs. I found their book quite helpful in learning the drugs. And this is from a guy who never bothered to learn a single drug in school, I really forgot almost ALL of the drugs I learned in school.

8. Also and I am ashamed to have to say this but even though I was raised Catholic and my parents went to weekly mass, I stopped some time in my 20s doing that. So I went back and started going to church every sunday. I however did not pray for a miracle and for GOD to MAKE me pass, no I figured because I havent gone to church in such a long time Ill just start off by saying sorry to him and well take it from there.

9. Remember you do have what it takes to pass God will be there but he cannot make you pass the NCLEX, it is your exam to take not his but he will be there holding on to you in case you need that extra bit of strength to believe in yourself.

10. FINALLY first thing you do as you sit down TURN OFF THAT AWFUL number counter on the top right. DO NOT even look at it. Your job when taking the exam is to focus on your question at hand and only that!

So finally I decided after 4 months of studying 5-6 days a week for 4-5 hours a day, I couldnt study anymore. It really is true that you cant truely be 100% studied for this test but thats because you dont need to know everything. This test is just to see if you will be a safe nurse when you are able to work in the field. The day before the test I didnt do much just watched tv, went to church to pray silently just to ask God to put his hand on my shoulder and ease my anxiety that was all. Still I TRIED my best to get 8 hours of sleep but I couldnt. The night before I felt so tense and I think I only got around 3 hours of sleep. Still I managed to wake up at 6 am and get to the testing center 30 mins ahead of time, feeling so relaxed too! So before I went in I said a silent prayer to thank god because he had answered my prayers in which I asked him to just calm me down before I take the exam. And 1 hour later I walked out of there LAUGHING SO HARD inside because I knew in all the cells of my body that I had passed. There was maybe a few questions i guessed but each question felt like I was prepared for it, after having really focused on studying content and doing many many questions before taking the NCLEX.

So guys please if you are feeling down because of failing please know that it is not the end. Pick yourself back up and get to studying, do it right and you will only have to do it once. Good luck to you all out there and I hope to see you all as coworkers in the future! :yeah:


13 Posts

Thank you, thank you, thank you! You have truly eased my anxiety! THank you and Congatulations!


2 Posts

Great story James! I have about a year to go in school before I can even get to the big day. Your story was totally sincere, informative, and inspiring. Thank you and God Bless.


102 Posts

Congrats!! God is awesome!! May your story inspire someone else!!!


27 Posts

The tables in the course book for kaplan online helped you? It's sooooo many charts :/


157 Posts

Specializes in Psychiatric, Orthopedics.

very inspiring indeed kababayan :) congratulations.. i hope also to pass someday.. God bless


73 Posts

Congrats on passing and sticking to it!!


10 Posts

I was teary eyed reading your story james! I'm planning to take the nclex rn for the third time too and hopefully the last time..i'll follow your advise and stay focus..thank you so much for sharing your story!


584 Posts