My Personal Experience With The NCLEX-RN

This piece is a direct response to the numerous queries that test takers have made regarding the the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The purpose of this article is to describe my personal experience with the NCLEX-RN. Nurses Announcements Archive Article

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My Personal Experience With The NCLEX-RN

I'll divulge that the NCLEX-RN was not a completely new experience for me because I had taken and passed the NCLEX-PN back in December 2005 and worked as an LPN for several years. Yes, the NCLEX-PN and the NCLEX-RN basically have the same format.

I graduated from an LPN-to-RN bridge program in March 2010 and took the NCLEX-RN on May 11, 2010 after approximately eight weeks of preparation. I was fully expecting to sit in the Pearson Vue testing center to answer 265 test questions since all of my former classmates had been receiving lengthy exams (anywhere from 180 to 265 questions).

I was pleasantly surprised when my test ended in one hour after having answered the minimum of 75 questions. I have the tendency to daydream and my attention span drifts when I am taking a long test with lots of questions. Therefore, I felt so very relieved that my exam was relatively short.

Since I am not permitted to post specific questions as a result of Pearson Vue's rules, I will only say that I received test questions from every topic imaginable with the sole exception of maternity nursing. I recall answering about ten of those pesky select-all-that-apply questions, one detailed case study question, multiple questions on medications and pharmacology, numerous delegation questions, and too many priority questions to count.

In fact, I would estimate that nearly half of my test consisted of priority questions asking about which patient the hospital nurse should see first or which client the home health nurse should call back first. Questions that dealt with all of the body systems were on my exam.

My NCLEX-RN preparation consisted of a live Kaplan review which was paid for by the school that I had attended, a live four-day Hurst review which I had personally purchased, self-study of selected topics from the Saunders Comprehensive NCLEX review book, study of the online Kaplan question trainers and focused review tests, and review of questions from the NCLEX 3500 software.

I also admit to using Wikipedia on occasion. Yes, I probably did use too many sources to prepare for this exam. I studied intensely and strategically because I graduated from an RN program with a historically low NCLEX first time pass percentage rate combined with a regional reputation for failing to prepare its students.

On May 13 I looked on the state board of nursing's website and was elated to see an RN license number next to my name. I had passed the NCLEX-RN! Years of hard work finally paid off.

Be sure to read my other informative articles on how the NCLEX works:

How The NCLEX Works (Part I): Computerized Adaptive Testing

How The NCLEX Works (Part II): What To Expect At The Testing Center

TheCommuter, BSN, RN, CRRN is a longtime physical rehabilitation nurse who has varied experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a Registered Nurse.

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Specializes in ICU.

Commuter, thank you for all your helpful articles. Your advice is always so practical and there is always something to learn from your experiences!

Specializes in HIV, Psych, GI, Hepatology, Research.

Congrats!!! It's great to hear perspective from others and I thank you for sharing. I know you must be excited to reap the rewards from all of your hard work you have put in.


489 Posts

COmgratulations. We all have to pass this test.


1,101 Posts

Specializes in LTC, Rehab.

For those of you who haven't taken it: I don't know how it went for everyone I graduated with (last May), but of the 1/4 or so of the class whom I DO know how it went, I was the ONLY ONE who got more than 120-130 questions, and most of 'em got 75-85! I got the whole damned thing, which was quite an ordeal, and I wasn't expecting that (getting all 265) at all. I studied a lot for it, and my rough guess-timate is that I was in the middle of my class, academically.

But a few little positive things to add are that a NP whom I've seen here (as a patient), as well as one of my profs, said they got 265 too! I've talked to a few RNs who did as well.

Just study a lot, don't freak out, be prepared for anything (75, 265, or anywhere in between), and pass it!


24 Posts

Cool!tHanks for sharing your experience and congratulations!

Specializes in Pediatric Cardiac ICU.

Congratulations!!!!!!!!!! :up:

Specializes in ICU.



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