How I passed NCLEX RN the first time


Hello everyone! I promised I'd come back here and share my NCLEX experience good or bad once I was done, because I spent hours on here reading other peoples stories and searching for some hope while preparing for the NCLEX.

I am proud to say that I passed the NCLEX RN the first time on 2/26/16 with 75 questions. Read below for my story:

I graduated from an ADN program on 12/11/2015. The following week I attending the 3 day HURST live review. It was required for our school to attend a live review, they offered for us to take HESI live review for $250, but none of us liked that idea. Half of my class did HURST and half did Kaplan. Personally, I chose Hurst because I wanted to review content. The Hurst review included 3 days live with an instructor. I honestly thought it was going to be TORTURE, but they provide you with a fill in the blank work book and it honestly was not bad at all. Before we took the live review my Exit HESI score was 824. After the live review (before reviewing any of the 5th day material, or studying anything at all) my exit HESI score was 914. I was very excited about my decision to do Hurst at this point!

I would like to note that there was a LONG delay in getting my ATT, so my study plan was sort of off railed. I chose to take the holidays off, and didn't start studying until after the first of the year. The first thing I did was go over my entire Hurst book again. I even rewatched a few of the videos online. I wrote a lot of stuff out taking notes and whatnot. (I 100% retain information better if I write it). After I reviewed the book, I completed the additional online lectures and reviewed the 5th day material. I completed all 6 of the 125 Q Reviews on Hurst. They recommend a score of 85/125. My scores were as follows: 77, 77, 78, 93, 87, 87. I HATED doing these tests. They were long and time consuming and I had a really hard time focusing. You have to answer all 125 questions before you can get the rationales. However, I forced myself to sit there and do it, because there was a possibility of getting 265 questions on NCLEX. The way they are set up, the screen looks almost identical to NCLEX. (I did not do all 6 Q reviews in a row, I did maybe 1-2 a week while using other resources as well.)

*Side bar: As I mentioned before I retain everything better when writing it down. When doing questions and reading rationales, I made a page for each topic. Ex: I had one sheet called "OB" one called "Peds" one called "Electrolytes" one called "TB" etc. When I got a question that I wasn't completely confident in, I would write the rationale on its designated page. It was nice to be able to go back and review these pages.

U-World: After my friend passed NCLEX, she gave me her log in for U-World. I did about 500 questions on this app before it expired. I absolutely LOVED it. Their rationales are by far the best I've read.

LaCharity Prioritization and Delegation Book: I did about 300 questions out of this book. Because I bought the book brand new, I had the access code and was able to do them on the computer which helped.

Saunders: (The big purple book). The only chapter I reviewed in this was the Fundamentals chapter.

NCSBN Online Review: Because I had a job offer for a new grad program, my job provided this review to me. Seeing as how NCSBN writes the exam, it seemed like a no brainer. I did review a few of the topics in here that i struggled with, but for the most part I just did questions. In my opinion these questions are most like the NCLEX. They really require you to think differently. If I got a question wrong at first I would be like NO WAY THATS NOT THE ANSWER, but after reading the rationale I'd think "OKay. I can see why that's right."

All together, I probably did about 2000 practice questions. I literally had so many more resources but I never even had time to get around to them.

Day Before: To get a test date that wasn't a month away, I had to drive 2 hours to take my test. My test was scheduled at 8am, so I got a hotel room the night before. The day before the test I woke up at 5am (so that I would be tired that night), I took a shower, and I DID spend about 2-3 hours reviewing. Nothing in depth at all, just some lab values and last minute things. I left around 1pm and drove the 2 hours and checked into the hotel. I had scheduled a massage for 4pm. After my massage my friend and I went to dinner where I had one glass of wine. I was back the hotel by 7pm, had one more glass of wine, and was in bed with lights off by 8pm. I turned the vibrate off on my phone, no TV, nothing. And I surprisingly slept well.

Test Day: Woke up at 6am. Got ready. Went to McDonalds across from testing center and had Yogurt parfait and orange juice. Walked in at 730am. If you've never taken an NCLEX, look up the sign in process and proper attire online before you go. The whole thing was very unexpected to me. I had to take my sweatshirt off bc it had a zipper and was FREEZING the entire test.

TEST: During the test I kept feeling like I didn't know ANYTHING. At least 2 times I put my head in my hands and almost cried and was thinking YOU'RE BLOWING THIS. I kept letting my mind wander "what will happen if I fail." I had to keep refocusing myself. At question 75 I closed my eyes and click submit and I opened my eyes to a blue screen. Then I had to answer a 16 question survey and the test proctor was taking forever once I raised my hand. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. Once I got out of Pearson, I was on the 7th floor, and ended up running down 7 flights of stairs because the elevator was too slow. I just wanted to get out of there. I spent the next 48 hours going over the test in my head again and again, just 100% convinced that I failed. But at exactly 8am my quick results posted and I PASSED!!! (Side note: I did do the Pearson Vue Trick and got the "good" pop up)

Afterthought: The test is hard. But I honestly don't know if I would have prepared any differently going back. It really requires you to think critically. I would read a question and think "Okay, I know this" but then read the answers and what I was looking for was never there. You just have to trust in your knowledge and go in there and get it done.

You can't know what you don't know, but you know more than you think you know!!!! GOOD LUCK future RN's! It's such a great feeling to finally be done!

Specializes in Geriatric-Psych, Med/surg.