Feeling defeated with NCLEX... I need serious help.

I graduated nursing school in 2022, and failed NCLEX twice. Now, I resumed studying again and I feel lost with content. Nursing Students NCLEX


I graduated nursing school in 2022, and I immediately started studying for the NCLEX. I bought UWorld and did half the Q Bank but was scoring 30-40%, I didn't want to reschedule the exam at the time (pride maybe?) so I ended up just taking the exam. Of course, I failed in 85 questions. Then, I tried doing Mark K Lectures and UWorld together (I was still getting 30-40%), and I failed again in 86 questions! I rescheduled it a third time and I guess you can say test anxiety + fear led me to pay and never show up to the exam site. So, my record was 2 fail and 1 no-show on Pearson. And, I am 100% sure I failed miserably the first two times (they were both pre-NGN).

Fast forward, it's been almost 2 years since I graduated nursing school. And I am pretty sure my content is not good (I would say I forgot most of it because I truly would cram a week before exams in nursing school... not really wise for my long term memory). And, doing well in Nursing school wasn't hard for me since it was based on a couple things:

show up to class

do all the homework, assignments, and projects

go to teacher's office hours and they'll literally spoon feed you a couple answers or at the very least guide you in the right path to study (which I was always grateful for)

100% memorization, I applied some critical thinking like ABC's, Maslow's, etc. but it was mostly memorization which after a couple of sessions of repetition stuck to my head

Study guides my fellow classmates made came in super clutch, or even the ones my teachers gave (which we had to fill out)

So anyways, the NCLEX is just a different beast to me. One that I am scared I cannot tackle. It's definitely a lot more critical thinking. People say it's a safety exam but I am not even sure where to start when looking at the question. I always used to say in my head, "what is the safest thing I can do" and still nothing gets my brain going, I just look at the question and I am still confused! I am convinced I am dumb (the noggin' just don't have the brain power) or I did not utilize the true purpose of nursing school (using it to pass NCLEX). The NCLEX appears to have a random topic every time, and sometimes you might get questions you never even heard of before. I know many people are passing and I am just amazed as to how they are.

Which leads me to understand I am severely lacking content, yes, but I am also lacking test taking strategies. Or, I'm not doing something else right. I do not want to give up because I paid for nursing school and the job market right now is really shitty (I can't even get a hospital job) (every time I do apply, they reject me and advise me to get the NCLEX for an immediate nursing hire), so I really really need this otherwise I am not sure how I am going to survive in the future (without my parent's support).

I currently have Archer review to help me with the content and practice questions. I have been taking notes and watching the lecture videos but I keep going back to my old ways of just memorizing. Understanding the content seems so foreign to me. And, on top of that, there's so much content to catch up on that when I do finish the videos and get my notes down, I do not have time for practice questions or any time to reread my notes -- My brain is already so fried consuming the video and writing.

If anyone can guide me to a good content-based review, tutor, ANYTHING to literally help me pass (thankfully I got my parents help in payment). Perhaps some study tips? Like, how do you study, etc. Because my current method of just memorizing never worked with the NCLEX (it may have worked in nursing school though). And I seem to have a problem retaining information and not sure if it's because of my new medication (I recently started taking Lamotrigine for a diagnosis of BP2).

I seriously am lost. I do not want the years to go by and I am still not yet a nurse (at this rate, if I cannot pass, I have to either beg on the streets or do something nasty just to survive and get food and/or get shelter because my parents may give up on me too). 

Specializes in School Nursing.

Hurst was the review course I took for NCLEX (albeit over 10 years ago).  The single biggest thing that helped me when doing practice questions was to ALWAYS read the rationale. Even for the ones you get right. There is so much content in the rationales, why answers are WRONG and why the one that is right.  

Good luck to you. There are people who take the NCLEX 3+ times and pass.  Buckle down. Read every rationale. Keep taking practice tests until you get better grades. Build it back up.  If you can swing taking a refresher course, go that route. You've invested a lot of time and money. You can do this.  

Specializes in Psychiatric and Mental Health NP (PMHNP).

I am very sorry you are going through this.  However, you are not alone.  The NCLEX is a very strange test and many people have to take it multiple times before passing.

Perhaps you should trying something different - like taking a live class.  

Also, is it possible you have ADHD?  If you suspect you do, please get assessed.

Find a course that emphasizes test strategy.  The Kaplan books do a good job of going over test strategy.  

For now, when studying, don't worry about memorization.  Just focus on trying to determine the right answer as NCLEX wants it - just look up facts.  I thought of it as pick the answer that is "least wrong."  Once you have a good grasp on the logic of picking the right answer, then worry about memorizing.

Good luck.

Specializes in student.

Simple nursing is a good one

And nurse ReMar as well

Specializes in Geriatrics.

If you do pass, are you confident in your ability to provide patient care? 

Specializes in student.

you will pass you will pass you got this

Specializes in Occupational Health.

Don't take this the wrong way but it sounds like your problem is a combination of 2 main issues:

1. Poor studying habits throughout your training program

2. A less than rigorous program

Nothing wrong with the suggestions above for training materials, sources, etc. but that doesn't seem to be enough. I would suggest you consider completing a refresher course and that would also serve to focus you on your areas of need/concern

Specializes in pediatrics, school nursing.

I found Med-Surg Success (https://www.fadavis.com/product/nursing-fundamentals-med-surg-success-course-review-test-taking-colgrove-hargrove-huttel-3) to be incredibly helpful in preparing for NCLEX, though full disclosure, I took the exam nearly 13 years ago... I also found the Kaplan NCLEX review course was an excellent use of time for test-taking strategy. They taught content, but also how to approach each of the different types of questions, which, as a poor test taker, was invaluable to me.

Specializes in Addictions, psych, corrections, transfers.

Go to YouTube and go to simplenursing. He has great videos that help you fully understand the concepts with easy ways to remember. He saved my bacon in my advanced medsurg class. It's not an advertisement, but I got through NCLEX on the 1st try and in record time. Everything you need is free too. 

Specializes in Community/Public Health.

If you failed the first two times, did they send you a score report? It should show you areas you need to target for studying. 

I would recommend going to YouTube and watching "Registered Nurse RN" videos.  I swear, she has probably guided thousands of nursing students through their programs.  She explains things well and covers everything from nursing school.

Specializes in Postpartum/Public Health.

Hi Hardcore Believers,

I am so sorry you are going through this, I too remember the days of studying for my NCLEX and how worried and stressed I was throughout the time. I was wondering if you had completed UWorld entirely? I know at first utilizing UWorld can be quite discouraging when you keep getting the incorrect answers, but it's designed to be harder than the NCLEX, and helps you recognize patterns between concepts. When I completed the NCLEX, I tackled all 2000 questions on UWorld and revisited an additional 1000. I had a strict schedule where I studied the content by systems. This made it less overwhelming for me as I started to recognize patterns between concepts within the systems. For errors, I wrote notes to deepen my comprehension, not just memorize. Over 3 months, I studied 5-6 hours daily, 5 days a week. This disciplined, system-focused strategy might offer a new method on tackling the NCLEX.

Consistency and understanding the rationale behind answers are crucial. If you haven't finished UWorld, I highly recommend it, with an emphasis on grasping the "why." Your determination is admirable; adjusting strategies could be the key. Feel free to reach out if you need to talk or want more tips. Keep pushing; you've got this! P.S. Here's an article on free online resources for studying the Next-Gen NCLEX: https://allnurses.com/resources/best-free-online-next-gen-NCLEX-RN-r5/

+ Add a Comment