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Ignore the Question Number!


Hi everyone! I recently passed my NCLEX and I can honestly say it was a nightmare.

I feel as if many of us have been programmed to panic after the exam is still going after 75 questions. So many topics I've read have been people telling their stories of cutting off after 75, and so many of my colleagues cut off at 75. I know most of us pray that it will cut off after 75. But I would like to tell you that that is not always the case, and if it isn't, BREATHE.

I remember sitting in there at my 75th question praying that my computer would go blank. No such luck of course. I got up to 80, I got to 90, 100, 110... By then I was panicking. Even though I kept reminding myself that I need to focus only on the question at hand, it's hard to ignore the fact that you're on 120 and you don't know when the torture will end. It's also hard to hear people around you get up and leave while you're still sitting there.

I got to 130 and realized I could minimize the question number from the screen and so I did. I can tell you I had a good 20 questions after I hid the question number. The screen finally went blue. I felt like puking. I cried my way to the car and did the PVT. Luckily, I had the good pop-up. Today, I'm finally an RN.

I guess my advice to you all (since there's so many about which review to take, how to study, etc.) is to breathe. Take your break when the time comes and breathe. Do not focus on the time, do not focus on what question number you're on. It doesn't matter if you cut off and pass at 75 or you go all the way through till the end and still pass; do not let the number you're on consume your thoughts. Do not go into this test hoping for 75 questions only. It's OK if you go beyond it. What matters is that you focus on the question right in front of you. And if you don't know the answer (I only counted 6 questions I for sure knew the answer to), go for the one that sounds the safest and move on. Do not freak out over past questions and do not worry about future questions. Focus on what is in front of you.

Not to discredit anyone who passed at 75 (you rock!), but not all of us are that lucky and when your mind is wrapped around a certain number to pass, you will ultimately freak yourself out and have trouble focusing. It took me awhile to regroup and get myself together after I was still going after 100. But I did it, and you can too.

That's just my 2 cents for anyone testing soon. Good luck to all of you!


Has 3 years experience.

Congrats! And good advice.

Good advice. I'd also suggest that future exam takers take 265 questions at a time when prepping for the exam, just in case. In school, you might not be subjected to such a long exam so it gives you an idea of what it may be like.

Just took it today with 175 questions. I was in the test for over 3 hours! I took a (third!) break at 170 and was exhausted. Luckily it stopped at 175. It seemed like every other question was a SATA and a priority. I went with a friend who was done in a hour with 75, and he had to wait 2 hours. I felt horrible. The only silver lining is that both of us are getting the "good" popup from Pearson, but we will know definitely tomorrow. Thanks for all of your suggestions and help. Visiting this site every couple days in the months spent studying, really helped.

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

Good advice. I'd also suggest that future exam takers take 265 questions at a time when prepping for the exam, just in case. In school, you might not be subjected to such a long exam so it gives you an idea of what it may be like.

When I was studying, I would take mock tests up to 265; I usually put this as sage advice as well as hiding the question mark and the time for those who have test anxiety-haven't done so in a while, but it's worth repeating! :yes:

your advice is spot on. both my best friends took the exam and passed with 75 and 90 questions. i took the test this morning and had 186 questions. i for sure thought i absolutely failed the test. every time i clicked "next" and another question came up i thought i was going to cry.

my advice to everyone out there who is about to take the test is BREATHE after each question and pretend each new question is the very first question of the test. i even wrote my name, RN on my whiteboard and before reading the next question i glanced at it and told myself that I will walk out of the test (whenever I finished) as the nurse I am destined to be.

my 186 question exam took me 4 hours. i was convinced i failed. i checked pearson and got the good pop-up. moral of the story: breathe and be confident.

vanessaem, BSN, RN

Has 5 years experience.

The only person who cares about how many questions it took to pass Nclex is the test taker. I'm pretty sure no employer on earth will ask or even care whether it took 75 or 265 questions or whatever amount in between. All they care about is if you have a license in which to practice.