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). 

Julia Liou said:

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/

Hey, I would like tips on comprehension and grasping the "why"

I am not sure how to do it. I cannot private message you, but if you'd like my email is [email protected]

Specializes in HDU NURSE.

Hi Hardcore believer,

I could not phantom how you are feeling right now, but please remember and keep in mind that IF YOU ARE ON YOUR LOWEST, YOU WILL NOT GO LOWER AND THAT THERE'S NOWHERE TO GO BUT UP.

I am an NCLEX passer in my first try and I passed at 85 with the NGN. I really think that NGN is great and achievable as long as you put everything in your power to pass. Always remember that mindset is everything, it will make you or break you. I studied for almost a year and I put everything else in the back seat because I want to pass the NCLEX so bad I could taste it in my mouth. For starters, I just did self-review since I am a full-time nurse here in Saudi Arabia. I started reading contents from Mark K and Archers, watched Simple Nursing videos on YT for topics that I could barely grasp since I graduated 12 years ago. I kept on repeating the cycle, after reading all the contents, I would watch videos to solidify my knowledge and made sure I understood the concept by heart (because God forbid I panic during the exam and forget everything I learned) and everything worked out for me. Read your content 2-3 times on repeat with alternate cycle of either asnwering questions, or watching/listening to yt videos about NCLEX. JUST DO ANYTHING NCLEX RELATED DAILY as brain training. TRAIN YOURSELF TO STUDY AND FUNCTION UNDER PRESSURE and I promise you everything will work out for you.  I was only nervous about my bladder breaks for the exam since when I'm nervous, I pee a lot as a coping mechanism I never got anxious about anything during the exam because I know my content, and I know I can do it. I already gave my best for almost a year of preparation.

PLEASE, PLEASE master your content before answering qbanks. Don't overwhelm yourself with a lot of review materials. Archer qbank was the best for me and honestly, during the exam it was just like another CAT test. 2 months before the exam is when I started answering Archer qbank which I subscribed in and kept getting VERY HIGH in assessments consecutively, it was because I was so strong with my content. This is a crucial part in studying, no shortcuts. 


if you'd like you can email me and I'd send you my study guides and materials. Here's my email: [email protected]

Don't give up. Try Bootcamp Review big help to those who failed NCLEX. They're very good in content and always read the rationales every time u missed it. 

Don't give up!! You've worked so hard to get to where you are! I failed the first time I took the NCLEX but passed the 2nd time. I had to do almost all of the questions both times, so it was emotionally exhausting. But I've been a RN now for 15 years and I don't regret it for 1 second. You'll get through this! ❤️ 

These are the links to the most recent versions of the books I used. They were so wonderful and really helpful. The pharmacology one really helped with the meds.

NCLEX-RN 101: How to Pass! https://a.co/d/6HBAodP

Pharmacology Made Insanely Easy! 

You've got this!! 😃

Specializes in CVICU.

Do not be discouraged. Keep on pushing you will become a nurse! It may require you to make up a lot of the time you should've had in school building a strong base. Using YouTube channels some have listed here is a good start. Then revisiting practice questions. UWorld's strength is in the review section and how question rationales lead you to topics for review. If you notice a trend, I would work backward to focus on the problem areas you are continually missing questions. 


 If you're looking for mentorship and guidance there are some nurses on TeachRN that may be able to spend hours on personalizing a study plan for you. 

It might help to remember that nursing is all about SAFETY!!  
You'll be able to cancel out the obviously wrong answers, usually 2 on a 4 question multiple choice. From the other answers, choose the SAFEST response. 

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