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Mental Strength?

Posted

Hi all, I joined here recently. I am sitting for the NCLEX-RN next Weds. I have had a steady study schedule, but somedays (like today) I find myself getting too overwhelmed and not being able to recall or retain some things I have learned from doing all of these questions and reviewing rationales/content when I need to.

I don't have the support system I need. My family and friends are supportive... but not in the best way. They don't understand how the NCLEX works and say things like "Oh, I KNOW you'll pass with flying colors!" And honestly sometimes it's worst to hear that because it's like they don't know what they're talking about lol. They mean well, but it is not beneficial to me.

I wasn't super close to many in nursing school, and no one I know from school is taking the NCLEX anytime soon (think Aug-Sept).

Basically I feel like I'm going at this alone, and I get scared. I feel like dealing with NCLEX is similar to what dealing with a d/o feels like. Somedays, I think I'm going to pass, but there are also more days where I feel scared I am going to fail. It's like relapsing.

There's so much mental strength needed for this, so I wanted to hear from you guys about any tips or even stories you'd like to share. What did you do to mentally prepare for this exam? Did you confide in people in real life or online? I don't think anyone that doesn't have to go through taking the NCLEX will understand how intense this journey is.

When I got to the point where I felt overwhelmed and was not retaining anything I just stopped studying and went to do something that I enjoyed...needless to say I found a lot of good happy hours lol

Sparrow91

Specializes in Acute Rehab, Neuro/Trauma, Dialysis.

I know what you mean. Family and friends really DO NOT understand what the NCLEX is like. To them it is just another exam only a little more intense and expensive. Like you most of my friends and family were encouraging, some weren't. I had one lady tell me just days before my test that her "supper smart niece had failed and lost her job offer". That was the LAST thing I wanted to hear. It really made me panic. I spent the last couple days studying only the basics (labs, EKGs, drug classes, ect) and a ton of questions. The day before the exam though I stopped completely. I was lucky, I had one really good friend who had already taken the exam. She kept me distracted the day before.

My advice at this point is that you probably know about all that you are going to know at this point. Keep reviewing the basic material and your weak areas, and do plenty of questions. When you get over whelmed like you are, you need to stop and take some time away from the studying. Sometimes taking a day to do nothing can help you a boost of energy to keep going. Remember we are all here and have been there. You can send me a message anytime I am here quite a bit. ;)

I totally hear you!! I don't have a lot the support that I need either. It's tough, but I literally thank God that I found this place. This will be almost as good as in person support from someone who "gets it."

Edited by Graduatenurse14

yedwards42, BSN, MSN

Specializes in Maternal Newborn. Has 7 years experience.

Hi wayfinder, I read your post and had to chuckle about the part your family says "you will pass with flying colors". I totally know what you mean. I'm not sure what they said to you during nursing school, though you and I (and those here on the forum) know nursing school kicks the ***. While I've not taken NCLEX yet (I'm scheduled 8/7) I do look onto allnurses daily (sometimes several times a day :) finding tips and support from folks like you and others.

Since I've not taken my NCLEX, I can't help you there. Though from your post it sounds like you've been studying hard and yes, I do agree with you the dedication/time into studying is draining... You hope all this effort pays off - pass NCLEX! The "not knowing what's on the test" or what not is tough. I do agree with the other posts, maybe taking a few more breaks here/there during this next week will do you some good. You have to take care of yourself too - go for a walk, get a pedi, coffee, movie, etc.

You've worked your tooshie off, go into NCLEX as calm as possible and confident with "I'm going to pass" attitude. We're thinking positive thoughts and big cheer for you!!

I know what you mean. Family and friends really DO NOT understand what the NCLEX is like. To them it is just another exam only a little more intense and expensive. Like you most of my friends and family were encouraging, some weren't. I had one lady tell me just days before my test that her "supper smart niece had failed and lost her job offer". That was the LAST thing I wanted to hear. It really made me panic. I spent the last couple days studying only the basics (labs, EKGs, drug classes, ect) and a ton of questions. The day before the exam though I stopped completely. I was lucky, I had one really good friend who had already taken the exam. She kept me distracted the day before.

My advice at this point is that you probably know about all that you are going to know at this point. Keep reviewing the basic material and your weak areas, and do plenty of questions. When you get over whelmed like you are, you need to stop and take some time away from the studying. Sometimes taking a day to do nothing can help you a boost of energy to keep going. Remember we are all here and have been there. You can send me a message anytime I am here quite a bit. wink.png

Oh wow, I can't believe that lady said that to you so soon before your exam!

Thank you so much for your insight, I really appreciate it! I did end up dropping looking over rationales after I posted this, I was just too headachy. I agree with what you said, I think it does help to do nothing to get a boost of energy.

Thanks so much for extended a hand and inviting me to message you :inlove:

Edited by wayfinder
spacing

I totally hear you!! I don't have a lot the support that I need either. It's tough, but I literally thank God that I found this place. This will be almost as good as in person support from someone who "gets it."

Great point! I'm happy I joined at least before I take the exam, I'm already feeling wonderful support from these responses :)

Hi wayfinder, I read your post and had to chuckle about the part your family says "you will pass with flying colors". I totally know what you mean. I'm not sure what they said to you during nursing school, though you and I (and those here on the forum) know nursing school kicks the ***. While I've not taken NCLEX yet (I'm scheduled 8/7) I do look onto allnurses daily (sometimes several times a day :) finding tips and support from folks like you and others.

Since I've not taken my NCLEX, I can't help you there. Though from your post it sounds like you've been studying hard and yes, I do agree with you the dedication/time into studying is draining... You hope all this effort pays off - pass NCLEX! The "not knowing what's on the test" or what not is tough. I do agree with the other posts, maybe taking a few more breaks here/there during this next week will do you some good. You have to take care of yourself too - go for a walk, get a pedi, coffee, movie, etc.

You've worked your tooshie off, go into NCLEX as calm as possible and confident with "I'm going to pass" attitude. We're thinking positive thoughts and big cheer for you!!

OMG YES the whole "pass with flying colors" haha I'm so glad you get what I mean. And I see what you mean--I have started coming on here everyday for the past few days and it's really nice to read about other people's experiences because it makes me feel less alone.

Thank you so much for your input! I appreciate it. Sometimes it's hard for me to remember that we have to take care of ourselves.

I just took the nclex yesterday so the traumatically stressful week leading up to the yesterday is very fresh in my mind! I totally sympathize with you and spent many hours on the allnurses site looking for any insight/advice/stress relievers. I told myself I would make it a point to try to help someone else who's in the same position i was in this past week.

So here's my story... I didn't get my ATT until less than 2 weeks ago (Thursday 6/26) and scheduled the exam for yesterday (Tuesday 7/8). That gave me less than two weeks to study.. and me being me... I only studied solidly for one. (I cannot say I did nothing before last week--I did maybe 30 to 150 ATI questions per day with some days off....with many distractions such as the cell phone, tv, family around... it was definitely NOT the most sound studying environment. I read over rationales, but again, I cannot say if much of the information truly "stuck" considering that I'd read on the side while doing a plethora of other things at once). So yes, last Monday, I decided to sit down and start. While I was studying, I rode the most horrific emotional roller coaster. I seriously questioned my sanity at times! One second, I would think to myself, "I GOT THIS. The pass rate is almost 90%... I like those odds" the next second I would think.. "But wait.. 90% of the world is right handed... I'm one of the 10% who isn't.. 10% of people fail.. I'M GOING TO FAIL." I had my mom going crazy too. I cried... a few times. I didn't care AT ALL at times. I didn't sleep. I was a mess. But, if I could go back in time, I'd shake myself and scream "GET IT TOGETHER AND STOP BEING DRAMATIC!" The stress was not worth it (but I couldn't help it).

My advice for the week leading up to the big test: Take time for yourself. Go work out, go out to eat, meet up with friends, watch a movie, do something every day that helps you blow off steam. Do not hesitate to take study breaks. Do not get down on yourself when you get practice questions wrong (That was the hardest part for me..) rather, understand WHY you got it wrong. My one peice of personal advice, don't go over questions you've already done... it's redundant. Keep practicing what you don't know! I tried going over a practice test again, and I got like a 99%... it was a waste of time. It's better to get a 55% on a practice test that you haven't done before. If you intently go over each question and rationale, it will stick! Spend some time, but not too much time studying knowledge. The nclex is a great deal of strategy.

People say not to do anything the day before the test. I couldn't resist. I did a couple hundred questions and reviewed whatever I didn't feel comfortable in. I've always been a crammer. Do what works for you.

The day of the test: Review lab values. Skim over contact precautions. Look at diets. If you want. I looked at basic concepts and I think it helped. Before your test, go to the bathroom (MY MISTAKE!). Be friendly to the staff at the testing center (seriously, if you are friendly towards them, they reciprocate.. its an awesome stress reliever). Take a deep breath, say a prayer, and start. Remember, the nclex is a computer adaptive test. It's goal is to test your limits... and it will do that! If it gets harder, that is a good sign, even though you'll want to cry. I'm not kidding when I say that at least 75% of my exam was SATA. It was REALLY bad. I literally prayed multiple times throughout the exam.

When answering questions: Go with your gut. Pick an answer and stick with it. I honestly didn't spend a lot of time thinking things through. I read the question thoroughly, looked at the options, narrowed it down and picked one. I felt like it was a gamble a lot of the time. Especially the SATA... I only went with what I knew. If there was an option that sounded good, but I had never heard in association with what was asked in the question, I didn't pick it. I didn't KNOW a lot of the questions, but rather I used the strategies I learned to narrow things down and pick out key words. I followed my gut for each question, tried my best not to over think, and the computer shut off at 75 with only an hour of testing. I went to my car, did the pearson vue trick, and got the good pop up. I did it a thousand times since then. My name and license number were posted on the state board of nursing today!

Overall, different strokes for different folks. I understand what you are going through!! But, this is simply my advice/what I did. You do what you are comfortable with and don't let other people's study habits or testing experience freak you out! Passing with 75 and passing with 265 are the SAME THING. I studied one week before and pulled it off... but I think I freaked out because everyone else spent forever or went through certain review courses. You do you! And you'll do great!!!!!! Think positive: you're gonna be an RN in one week :) Good luck!

That was a really long post but PS,

My tools for studying were: the ATI website & review book that was given to us in school and the Kaplan Strategies, Practice and Review Book. I also found Kaplan Q-trainers free online and did 6 and 7. Overall, my Kaplan book was my favorite studying tool. The strategies were very helpful and the questions had amazing rationales. Seriously, it was with reading the rationales that I relearned a lot of core-nursing knowledge for the nclex. For every single question I did, on ATI, Kaplan, and Q-trainers, I read each and every rationale. I wrote certain things down (just to retain information... never to go back and reread it). I would refer to my ATI review book or google as needed to review weak areas. This study guide: https://allnurses.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=8687&d=1310076980 also helped A LOT for basic nursing knowledge (diets, positioning, contact precations, random facts.. seriously read it if you can!)

I'm with you on this one. I had been studying my butt off for about 1.5 months, so I decided to go on a road trip with some family members for a few days. One of my family members asked when I was going to take the test- I told her that at that point I didn't feel ready yet. She replies with this: "well my friend (insert name here) took the NCLEX a few months ago and she said it's really easy and she didn't even study." My mouth just about dropped to the floor. This comment was not only rude but it was also FAR FROM THE TRUTH. I didn't say anything back to the comment but revisited it when I was by myself before going to bed that evening and I came to this conclusion (after going through a wealth of emotions): people that don't go to nursing school or take the NCLEX just don't understand, and they never will. To the person that states the NCLEX is "easy" and they they "didn't study at all" I think they might just have some self-esteem issues going on and wanted to bring someone else down.

I don't have any support outside of AN (besides my husband who at least TRIES). I found that dropping into this website a few times a day has helped me keep pushing and believing in myself.

All in all, I want you to know that you're not alone in this. I have depended on my AN fam since starting this journey and I can truly say that it has helped me more than anything. So lean on us here on AN, because we are HERE and we UNDERSTAND!