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I passed NCLEX on the 4th try!


First attempt: 11/24/15

Questions: 265 with no breaks

Preparation: Hurst and NCLEX Mastery

Second attempt: 1/14/16

Questions: 265, 1 break to use the bathroom

Preparation: Hurst and UWorld

Third attempt: 5/2/16

Questions: 265, 1 break to use the bathroom and eat a snack

Preparation: NSCBN review, Mark K, and NCLEX Mastery

Fourth attempt: 9/1/16

Questions: 144-148, 2 breaks (50q and 100q) to use the bathroom, eat a snack and rejuvenate my brain

Preparation: Saunders book/ online bank and LaCharity

What I did different? I got a tutor.

I don't think everyone needs to get a tutor, but I needed someone to hold me responsible for studying and to keep me on track. She would explain things that I didn't understand, help keep me organized, and give me positive reinforcement. She encouraged me to take one day off a week to not do any studying, but the other days I hit hard. 3-5 hours of studying a day.

I started reading the Saunders book, 2 chapters a day and then doing 25 questions for each chapter (50q total). Reading has never been my speciality, so I learned more from doing the questions. I took notes ONLY on the questions I got wrong and reviewed them. This was my bible! It was specialized to me because it was over the questions I got wrong. At the end of my studying I had 30+ pages of typed notes. I did not review the questions I got right, because even if I guessed right, oh well, I got it right. Move on.

I got the LaCharity book (prioritization, awesome book!) to do something different for a week as well as 25 questions a day.

Once I choose my last date I started doing 100 questions a day, in 50 question increments. Your brain needs a rest. 1 week before I took NCLEX I did 150 questions "mock NCLEX" style. No phones, no big meals, no distractions. Also, in 50 question increments.

The day before my exam I didn't look at a single item related to NCLEX. I got a massage, got my nails done, drove to my hotel, got dinner, took a bath, and relaxed. The morning of I felt very emotional, which is something I didn't really feel for past attempts. I was a pro at the whole testing center environment by this point, so there was no anxiety there. I took a break after 50 questions and 100 questions. It was getting close to when I was going to take my next break (150) and the screen turned blue at 144-148 questions. My heart dropped and I couldn't believe I was done for the first time in less than 265 questions.

So the worst part.. waiting. In Illinois you can find out in a little over 24 hours (for free) by putting in your information into continentaltesting.com, but of course that didn't work for me this time. I had to wait the 48 hours and pay the $8 or whatever it is on Pearson, but I finally got the word I was dying to see "PASSED".

Do NOT give up. You made it through nursing school and NCLEX is a hard test. You can do it! Get the help you need and dedicated yourself to studying in a way that helps you, not makes it repetitive.


Has 5 years experience.

Good work!


Specializes in LTC, HH, and Case Mangement. Has 8 years experience.

Awesome! I too passed on 4th try. I went to a live NCLEX review and I honestly believe it was my saving grace. I failed with 160, 265, and 75 questions. The 3rd time I failed really was a blow to my self esteem. I was like, what I am I going to do? So I looked into this course and you pay a one time fee and can go as many times as you want. I think I went four times before I tested. I was so scared of failing again that I took the test again 6 months after my 3rd failure. I only got around 100 questions and the test was a lot harder IMO. But after it shut off I knew I was an RN. I used the tricks and tips I learned in that review. It helped me focus and stay calm. My office (I work for a homecare company) was literally right across the street from the testing center. I went there after I took my test. My DON and I did the PVT trick and I got the good pop up! the next day I got an email from the BON with an active RN number. So I saved $8, lol even though my state does quick results. I am so happy you passed. Good luck in your new career!