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How I passed the NCLEX 2015!

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Hi fellow nurses!

So I made a promise that if I passed boards, I would make a posting on how I passed in order to help those that I know are pulling their hair out with the millions of questions on what books to use, how to study, what scores you should get on Saunders and Kaplan, how the test determines if you pass or fail, the infamous PVT trick, and the concerns and thoughts go on and on! First off, RELAX! I know it's easier said than done, but just take a second and breathe.

I will tell you my journey on how I passed and my advice and tips, in hopes that it helps anyone out there.

I took NCLEX 3 times! Reflecting back, I always realized where I went wrong. The first time, I underestimated the test. I thought hey! I passed nursing school, how hard can it be? I'll study of course and go on vacation and live my life still…how dumb was that, right? Definitely not humble of me lol Well with no surprise, I failed and completely went into a depression states. As we all know, medical people do not take failure and rejection lightly.

The second time I took it, I focused SO much on content. Content, content, content! Again, interpreted the test wrong. I figured, this is a test that wants to know if you'll be a good nurse, right? So obviously I have to know my content! Wrong. Again. Everyone was telling me to practice my test taking strategies and I did…the last 2 weeks before my test, I just thought content was more important so I didn't focus on strategies much at all. So again, failed.

The third time, I studied 2 months after the second time. I told myself, after studying the way I studied content the second time, there is not much more I can know for this exam! So let me give test taking strategies my attention. So this is what I did & how I passed. All the flashcards and notes that I took for the second time I took the test, I briefly went over it all. Majority of my flashcards, were notes from the Hurst book & quizlet flashcards for each category of the test. Again, I BRIEFLY studied content. If you know you lab values, signs and symptoms of common diseases & how to read EKG's, you will do fine. With basic knowledge, minimum knowledge, that's all you need to pass this test, because test taking strategies is the answer to success. After studying content for no more than 4 days, I went straight into Saunders and dedicated all my energy to it. I paid 35$ for the book on Evolve and it was the best 35$ I had ever spent. Saunders helps you with content & test taking strategies! There is an assessment test, take that first. It lets you know what you're weak in. Next, start taking the 100 question exams on just analysis and application questions, your grades may start off in the 60's, even 50's … DO NOT get discouraged. The more exams you do, the higher your scores will be. BE CONSISTENT. Everyday, take two 100 question exams. At the end, read the rationale and the test taking strategy that they used to answer that question. Make sure to read both because this will help you with future questions based on the content that was asked and how to eliminate answers and notice the strategies. You can even mix it up on Saunders, if you notice in your exams, your lowest scores are in safety and infection control for example, you can take a 10 question quiz or a 100 question exam just in this category so you get use to recognizing these type of questions and the type of answers. When I did Saunders, my assessment score was 65, my exams were always in the mid to high 60's and after about a month of drilling saunders, my exams were no lower than 70 percent! A few days before my test, I took the assessment test again and scored an 82 percent!! So practice makes perfect.

I did not only use Saunders, I used Saunders majority of the time. But 2 weeks before my test date, I used Kaplan. I only took trainers 5, 6, 7 and the diagnostic and readiness test. In my opinion, Kaplan is harder than Saunders. After practicing saunders for a while, you'll even start to think that Saunders is too easy and then when you transition to Kaplan and read the first question, you'll have a panic attack because it will seem SO much harder and seem to be worded so much differently than saunder's questions but relax. The concept and strategy and information is all the same, you just have to relax and take your time to notice this. I first took the diagnostic test and got a 63 percent. I have used Kaplan my previous two times and have NEVER scored higher than 60 percent so this was definitely a confidence boost for me. I felt more confident after that test and took trainer 5, 6, and 7…took one each day and took 2 days for trainer 7 because it's so long and after a while, your brain begins to shut down so it's best you stop, get some rest and think clearly to finish the other half the next day. I am not sure of my exact scores for those three trainers but I know that I scored in the 60's for them all, which are the suggested scores. It was Saunder's test taking strategies that helped me SO much with majority of those questions, because there was content on Kaplan that I had not learned through Saunders but if you do not know the content like the back of your hand, lean on the strategies, they will help! I didn't do the readiness test until two days before my test, because that was the most important test to me so I saved it for a final analysis of if I was ready or not. After 5-6 days of Kaplan, I had one more week left before my date!! I picked up the LaCharity book and the book…well…it had me thinking I should change my date because that book was by far the HARDEST! I tried so hard to apply my strategies, I tried and tried and I just could not get it! I was only getting half the questions right in each chapter, but I stuck it through! If you make a plan, stick with it. No matter what. There are 18 chapters and I divided the chapters in a way that I would finish the book within 4 days. This is when I was so discouraged and scared and panicking before of how hard those questions were for me but I made sure to finish it. So in my opinion, it's definitely not my favorite book but it prepares you to see the hardest type of questions so just do it and put your all into it.

Finally, two days before my test I took the readiness test. Now, after that LaCharity book…you can only imagine how scared I was for this test! I took it and I scored a 66!! I was SO happy!!

The day before my test, I know they say not to study…but I couldn't help it! I did one saunders exam and that was it! I know I scored in the 70's so I remained confident and spent the rest of the day relaxing.

The next day, I took the exam…all 265 questions, came home and did the PVT trick and received the good pop up! Paid for the quick results to be sure and I PASSED :)

My advice to all of you taking your NCLEX soon is time management, consistency, organization, dedication and confidence. Some people say content is important or test taking strategies are important…it is BOTH. You must know content, you don't have to know in depth but you do need to know the basics and then some and definitely strategies. Strategies will help you SO much with the questions you have no idea what they're asking. Remain calm and confident. Confidence is key to this all. If you say you're going to pass, that's it! Make it happen! If you dedicate yourself to know your content, increasing your scores, putting your all, you will pass.

Remember, NCLEX is not an IQ test, as I clearly thought the first two times so content is NOT everything. It is critical questions that require strategy. The test is not based on score, it is a progressive test…the more answers you get right, the more likely you are to pass. You must be doing progressively well in all categories of NCLEX, not overall so do not focus on one category and not the other just because for example, the test can be made up of 20% management of care and 6 percent Health and Promotion…because those 6 percent of answers can cause you to fail if you didn't answer enough right in that category.

As for the trick, I know that the trick has changed supposedly. Apparently, you have to put in your credit card information and click submit for the pop up. I could be wrong but I believe the old trick, if it took you to the credit card page without the pop up, it meant you failed. Now, it WILL take you to the cc page and you must put in your information and click submit to see if it goes through or the pop up comes up. If it goes through, you failed and if the pop up is seen, you obviously passed.

I sincerely hope that this post helps anyone that has questions, I really do because I know how stressful this exam can be but it is not impossible to pass. You passed nursing school, which we all know consisted of continuous stress, headaches and breakdowns so you can handle this. You are strong and smart enough to know how to handle this exam. Best wishes to you all!! Good luck !! :)

First off congrats on passing the nclex and staying strong throughout the entire process. Second, thank you so much. Reading this helped me better understand how to go about my next attempt. I just failed it a few days ago for the 2nd time after feeling like I passed. I'm still giving myself a 'mental' break for about a week and then I'll restart studying.

Congratulations!!! That is so awesome. Its great to see success stories instead of sad, failing ones. Which edition of the Saunders did you use? I have the 5th (yellow book) and I do like their strategies at the beginning of the book. I also do think that their questions are much easier than Kaplan.

Congratulations. I just passed mine in November. I used Saunders as well, along with Simple Nursing YouTube channel.

thanks for the tip same question as above, I have the yellow saunders book, the latest I think is the purplish one. do you suggest to stick to the yellow book?

did you also take online reviews like the hurst ($300) or kaplan ($499/$415) or just plain books?

thanks for the advice! :) kudos!

Hi! Thank you so much! I used the 5th edition of Saunders and yes their questions are much easier but don't underestimate them. It is a good preparation in how to think and break apart the question and correct answer before you move to the next level aka Kaplan

Congratulations!!! That is so awesome. Its great to see success stories instead of sad, failing ones. Which edition of the Saunders did you use? I have the 5th (yellow book) and I do like their strategies at the beginning of the book. I also do think that their questions are much easier than Kaplan.

Hi! Thank you so much! I used the 5th edition of Saunders and yes their questions are much easier but don't underestimate them. It is a good preparation in how to think and break apart the question and correct answer before you move to the next level aka Kaplan

thanks for the tip same question as above, I have the yellow saunders book, the latest I think is the purplish one. do you suggest to stick to the yellow book?

did you also take online reviews like the hurst ($300) or kaplan ($499/$415) or just plain books?

thanks for the advice! :) kudos!

Hi! I used the yellow Saunders book and yes, I did pay all of that money for hurst and kaplan for the first time I took NCLEX but I personally did not find it helpful. The saunders book is what prepared me well to learn the logic in how to answer questions.

Hi! I used the yellow Saunders book and yes, I did pay all of that money for hurst and kaplan for the first time I took NCLEX but I personally did not find it helpful. The saunders book is what prepared me well to learn the logic in how to answer questions.

good book right there. thank you! i have it now too :)

Thank you so much i just took my last nclex last year in june and failed boy did i get so depressed but now im g oing at it again and reading your post your right its both content & questions....the strategy book also makes sense

Thank you so much i just took my last nclex last year in june and failed boy did i get so depressed but now im g oing at it again and reading your post your right its both content & questions....the strategy book also makes sense

Yes definitely! I wish you the best of luck, remain positive and manage your time well to hit all parts of nclex. You'll do great :)

Thank you so much for sharing your experience it's such an inspiration. Im using the same review materials you did and also getting the same scores as well. Reading your post gave me hope and gives me more confidence that it is possible to pass this exam. Congratulations again! 😄

Hello, I am preparing for the nclex test, Could you pls email me at eddy4life1@hotmail.com. i have a few questions about preparing for the test. thank u

Thank you so much for sharing your experience it's such an inspiration. Im using the same review materials you did and also getting the same scores as well. Reading your post gave me hope and gives me more confidence that it is possible to pass this exam. Congratulations again! ������

I am really glad to hear that! I wish you all the best! Remain confident, you're going to do great!