Just got the good pop-up (Advice for future NCLEX takers/my study plan)

Students NCLEX


I'm warning you, this is going to be a LONG post. I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone on this forum. Besides study tips and resources, so many people on here have been such strong supporters.

I used to enjoy reading posts about people's testing experiences with as many details as possible. It made me feel comfortable as my test was approaching. Also, a review of testing materials also helped me, so I will provide both.


I graduated in 2011 passed the NCLEX in 75 questions on the first try WITHOUT taking Kaplan or Hurst. It IS doable. If I did it, you can do it too!


I used A LOT of different things. Some helped... some didn't.

  • Saunders 5th edition: This book is GOD! Since I needed to review a lot of content having graduated in 2011, this was the go to source. I divided the book (yes, all 1100+ pages) I did about 30 pages a day and finished in just over a month. (Some of the pages are questions/rationales so they don't take too much time and most days, you actually end up reading about 25 pages) I didn't necessarily memorize it as much as I tried to understand it. (I totally skipped over the psych portion (I felt comfortable in this part) and a lot of the medication chapters because it is virtually impossible to memorize every drug in that book)
  • Saunders CD: I used this to do the assessment in the beginning to see where my weaker areas are. I also did 10 question quizzes whenever I had time. The last few days, I selected the option to only do alternate style questions which were very helpful.
  • NCLEX 4000 CD: These questions were GREAT, especially the alternate format ones. I went through many of these. I would just choose the 75 question test option every now and again. I was scoring in the 70s.
  • Lippincott Q&A 10th edition: This book is great, but bulky. There are 5800 questions divided into categories by system and then sub categories (ex: cardiovascular >> coronary artery disease, hypertension, etc.) There are 6 practice tests at the end (180 Q each) and I completed all of them. I would supplement the topics that I had a tougher time on with the questions in the book. I probably went through 1000 Qs not including practice tests. The questions test content very well and provide very good rationales for the correct and incorrect choices.
  • NCSBN: I did the three week course for 50 dollars. I did all of the interactive quizzes, all of the post tests, and all of the question banks. They ask for a score of 75% but I was scoring mostly 60s. I scored some 70s and even some 50s. The questions resembled NCLEX very much.
  • PDA by LaCharity 2nd edition: LOVE this book! I saw many priority questions and some of these are even tougher than those I saw on the NCLEX. I was averaging 60s in each section. I got this book only two weeks before I was scheduled to test. I covered about 8-10 chapters. If you have the time, do all of the chapters. (I can't speak if the case studies are useful or not since I didn't have a moment to even look at one of those chapters)
  • 35 page study guide floating around: This is GREAT! The mnemonics were GREAT! I reviewed this for 2 days.
  • For pharmacology: I reviewed drug endings and common side effects besides some very common drugs with very specific side effects.


Get a good night of sleep! I tossed and turned for a little bit and fell asleep around midnight. I woke up at 6:00 AM and took a nice, long shower. I ate a light breakfast and wore comfortable clothing. I spent the ride to the center talking to my boyfriend on the phone which was relaxing. I got to the testing center 15 minutes early.

Once I got to the testing center, I was given instructions to read until my name was called. They did a palm scan and took a photo. They take cellphones and any other electronics and put it in a sealed bag. You put the sealed bag with the rest of your things in the locker. When leaving, you bring the bag to the person at the desk and they open the bag up for you. I put everything in the locker besides my ID and the locker key.

I was seated at a computer and the test began. I hid the time and avoided looking at the # of questions I had completed but it seemed that my eye automatically went to the question number every 10 - 15 minutes. When I saw question number 60, I told myself no more looking at the clock. Of course, I looked right as I submitted 74. I got to question 75 and it was literally the ONLY question I could say I was 100% sure I knew the answer to on the entire test. It shut off right after.

Upon collecting my things from the locker, I walked outside and did the Pearson Vue trick while walking to my car and immediately saw the good pop up. I was SHAKING when I saw it. Crossing my finger that the trick is accurate and that I get the official news in 36 hours now!


About 40% of my questions were alternate style.

20-25 SATA

1 drag and drop


1 medication calculation

2 questions were the answer choices were pictures

No audio, no hot spot questions

There were random meds on my test, some of which I have never heard of and others which were very familiar. I had both, generic and brand name for MOST drug questions.

Good luck to EVERYONE taking the exam soon. If you need ANY help, PLEASE, PLEASE ask me. I don't know how much help I could be, but even if it is something about what to expect, etc. just let me know!

Thank you to everyone, and I hope this helped!

Congrats to you rnaria. I am very proud of you. Be the best Nurse you can be. Congrats again.


11 Posts

Ohhh wow congrats ....I emailed you last week keep in torch and congrats again


159 Posts

Ohhh wow congrats ....I emailed you last week keep in torch and congrats again

I will check now! I basically steered clear of anything that wasn't NCLEX related so I haven't really even kept up with emails in the past few days. I will go read it now! :)

Thank you both for the congratulations!


17 Posts

My test was similar to yours. I would get 3-4 SATA questions in a row. I had no medication question, 3 EKG and mostly pharm and priority questions at the end.


159 Posts

Yep! I didn't have too too many pharm, but I felt that the end of my test wasn't too bad? It seemed to me more of the legal aspects of nursing/informed consent/ etc.




42 Posts

Congratulations!!!!!! You did it!!!

I also got quite a few SATAs on mine as well. Several where you have to pull up the files, 3-4 ekg, no math (surprisingly!)


85 Posts

Congratulations!!! RNARIA :)

Thanks for sharing your story and study plan.

What sources do you suggest are best for SATA questions? Any tips for meds?


29 Posts

I'm lost, what is an SATA question and what is the Pearson Vue trick?


85 Posts


SATA: select all that apply or applies. That means there are 1 or more correct answers and you need to select all the correct answers for full credit.

And yes, a SATA can have only 1 correct answer: it's not very common but it can and does happen. Most SATAs have at least 2 though; I think average is about 2-3. Some SATA will have all choices as being correct and you need to chose them all.

When tackling these questions, find all the correct answers--don't worry about how many you find at the end, just find them!

For example a question would ask something like this:

What are some reportable signs and symptoms of elderly abuse: (Select all that apply)

1). The patient has unexplained bruises on her body

2). The patient states that her daughter handles all of finances

3). The patient says she is always tired

4). The patient has a history of smoking

5). The patient has not been able to fill her medication because her daughter feels it is a waste of money.


The trick is...if u sign in and try to register (as long as it says delivery successful) to take the test again on PEARSONVUE website, after you took the nclex test...if it stops you and a pop up appears stating unable to register contact your state boards, breathe, because you PASSED!!! If it lets you try to pay, start studying again to retake.


159 Posts

Thank you all for the congratulations! :)

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