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I just passed!! Need study advice/inspiration?!

NCLEX   (5,217 Views | 22 Replies)
by HappyRN14 HappyRN14 (New) New

794 Profile Views; 9 Posts

Hello nurses,

I used to look at these forums and get advice from so many wonderful nurses about how to study for the NCLEX. I received such positive remarks and helpful tips so I thought I'd do the same for those who are registered to take the exam soon. I was so unbelievably nervous and I know how it feels to be unsure of when you're ready to take it and worried whether your studying strategy is helping or not.

I recently just passed! So I'd like to pay it forward and offer NCLEX advice to some other students going through that tremendously anxiety-stricken phase of nursing!

First of all, some inspiration:

I graduated in late August. Then a few days before my pinning ceremony I lost my father :(. He truly was my nursing inspiration. He was THE REASON I went into nursing...and I lost him just before I was finally, officially becoming a nurse. It was the absolute most difficult time of my entire life and I am still grieving almost two months later. I had to attempt to study for my NCLEX in the midst of grieving. It stunk. But I knew if I put it off for too long my chances of passing were less and less. I took two weeks off work and studying for the funeral and some grieving/family time. I felt so behind compared to others in my class who had been studying while I was by my Dad's side at the hospital and because I kept hearing that several of my fellow nursing students were taking and passing their NCLEX already. I felt even more down. But I kept studying though after that, for Dad. I tried to stay positive and just kept going until I really felt I was ready to tackle the NCLEX. So STAY POSITIVE and KEEP IT UP!!!

Just know too, that you're not alone. The stress is real and it can get to you, but don't let it take over you. There are so many other recent graduates who are literally bawling to their friends because they don't think they'll pass or who are having frequent anxiety attacks just thinking about their exam coming up in a few days. Study with someone and take some time to yourself to relax a bit in between study sessions. Hang out with friends or do something relaxing to relieve some of that stress or anxiety.

My advice:

First and foremost, DON'T PUT IT OFF!! Don't wait until you graduate to start studying. I attempted to study throughout my last quarter of school and it helped just to get started and used to practice questions. Study EVERY day. Do practice questions EVERY day. Set your alarm and get up and just do it :)

Second, use Kaplan. I honestly do not think I would have passed if it weren't for Kaplan. The reason for this is that they teach you HOW to figure out the answer to the questions. Even though you may not know a darn thing about TURP post-op care as a student, Kaplan teaches you how to figure out the correct answer! I was lucky enough that my school paid for the Kaplan course and online resources for my class (because our pass rates were not so great!). However, if you don't happen to be so lucky, or can't afford to pay for the course, I would get the books at least. I would also be more than happy to email you some important NCLEX tips from Kaplan and their strategies for answering the questions. Just leave your email in a comment. These tips and strategies are readily available on the internet, but I have a little more detail that I added to them from the course. I know there are just dozens of NCLEX prep books and resources out there that others would also recommend, but Kaplan is all I know and I passed on my first attempt, so that's why I am recommending it.

Kaplan books I used and LOVED:

  • Kaplan NCLEX-RN Content Review Guide 2nd Ed. It's available on Amazon for about $30. It's well worth the money and if you have the Kaplan online course available, you can use this to physically highlight and take notes while watching the content videos. It's a quick overview of NCLEX's categories of client needs.
  • Kaplan's NCLEX-RN Strategies, Practice, and Review. IF NOTHING ELSE, GET THIS BOOK!!! I got this book at my local library and checked it out for over a month. It goes over the general strategies for how to answer NCLEX questions and has tons of practice questions and even a practice exam.

Third, don't study absolutely everything you learned in school. Simply focus on your weak areas. I think you'd hear this same word of advice from many others. Also, the NCLEX is not about what you know, it's about what you DO and your safe and effective decision-making abilities. Believe me, I didn't really realize that until I was halfway through my content review in Kaplan and I was attempting to answer more practice questions just off of pure knowledge and remembering what I learned in school. The more I focused on keeping the patient safe and preventing bad things from happening, the better I started scoring.

Fourth, relax and stay positive!!! I am the worst when it comes to test anxiety. I was beyond anxious and cried a few times when I got practice questions wrong :) I was constantly thinking about the exam and had this horrible, suspenseful feeling. I just could not wait to take it and get it over with. Just make sure you get out of study mode for a while each day and socialize or do something you enjoy to temporarily take your mind off the NCLEX. Keep positive thoughts in your head. I kept thinking "soon I'll be an RN!"

Fifth, take it when you're ready!! Be honest with yourself when scheduling your exam. If you think you need a couple weeks yet to study and review, then do so. You can always re-schedule it too (if you notify PearsonVue at least 24 hrs in advance). If you think you're going to fail, you probably shouldn't take the NCLEX yet. I wanted so badly to just take it and get it over with, and my anxiety was getting worse as I saw more and more students from my class passing and becoming official nurses. However, I stuck with my gut and extended my test date because I had a feeling I could do more practice questions and review. Some school instructors and even Kaplan instructors might give you an anticipated test date, but go with your gut and schedule your exam when you really do feel ready. Don't fall for the pressure!

I hope this helps dozens of recent nursing graduates. I really do. It's such a stressful time, but it truly is the beginning of an amazing career opportunity so it is very much worth it. I am so excited to begin my nursing journey and I wish everyone who reads this the absolute BEST OF LUCK!!!!!

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1 Post; 403 Profile Views

First, I am so incredibly sorry about your loss. I couldn't imagine what you went through, but seriously what an inspiration for you to get through that and be successful in passing NCLEX! Congrats!

I am a first semester student in nursing school and we actually have an assignment for nursing informatics to join a "listserve", etc. Thank you for all the advice you listed above. I already have anxiety about taking this test in the next few years, let alone graduating and actually scheduling my test!

Thank you again, truly inspirational :)

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9 Posts; 794 Profile Views

Thanks so much. Your sympathy is greatly appreciated.

I just wanted to say good luck to you in nursing school. It's a tough major and at times you WILL feel like giving up. It's not at all like engineering, finance, business or any other major. Because of class, lab, clinical, class exams, lab exams, simulations, etc. you will feel so overwhelmed compared to your other college friends. Don't give up, and always think about your ultimate goal of being that patient advocate :) Best of luck to you future nurse!

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72 Posts; 2,118 Profile Views

Congrats RN!!! U did it despite the odds. Im sorry for your loss... im taking my test soon and i completed the kaplan strategies book and loved it. Thank you for sharing your story as i am trying stay positive

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1 Post; 285 Profile Views

Congrats on your success, you are really strong and courageous. I would love it if you can send me your notes I just passed my exit exam.

Edited by sirI

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32 Posts; 1,959 Profile Views

Hey,congrats on ur acheivement , I failed my nclex Rn exam and still on this game,,,

Edited by sirI

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1 Post; 348 Profile Views

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I graduate in December and should NCLEX in January. I am terrified!

Edited by sirI

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2 Posts; 507 Profile Views

So sorry for your loss! But I'm sure he is very proud of you!!! :) You did it! Congrats!

Edited by sirI

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7 Posts; 731 Profile Views

Congrats rn! :up:

Edited by sirI

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6 Posts; 926 Profile Views

Sorry for your loss...it must have been really hard trying to study. But you did it and worked hard. You are an inspiration to many of us and best of luck with job searching!

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1 Post; 279 Profile Views

Hi! Im so sorry for your loss...Congratulations!

Edited by sirI

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