How I Passed the NCLEX (PN)
The NCLEX is not your enemy, you can do this, and I will explain how.
After 2.5 months of studying and self-doubt, I challenged my boards. Two nights before my exam, I used my dry erase board to mark the locations for peripheral pulses, heart sounds and lung sounds and I allowed my insecurities in myself and my knowledge to overshadow the task at hand. I marked Erb's point in the wrong intercoastal space and scored low on the alternative style question test for Kaplan. I was convinced that I simply wasn't ready, and I wanted to reschedule. However, I had to talk myself out of it. I kept my testing date.
I arrived at the testing center nearly an hour early and stayed in my car to pray over and over again. I'm not sure what your faith is, but constant prayer kept me sane the night before and throughout my exam. I even prayed at my cubical before starting.
The exam was tough, every other question was a SATA question and I honestly felt that I didn't get most of those questions right. My last question was a SATA question. I told myself that if this computer goes past 85, I'm taking a break, but that was it. The screen went blue and went right to the survey. I only spent 50 minutes on the exam, I didn't know how to feel honestly. I knew that during nursing school I was a fast test taker and honestly my results could skew either way.
Being the impatient person that I am, I went home and did the PVT but I told myself that I'm not celebrating until I get official results. 48 hours later, I logged onto the FBON and there was my license number.
I wanted to share my story because I know many of you may feel the way I felt. I am telling you that you will pass, speak it into existence from here on out.
Here is how I studied:
1. I treated studying like a 9-5 schedule.
On average, Mon-Fri, I spent 6-8 hours per day studying. I was off on the weekends. As I grew stronger in my content knowledge, I cut my study time in half. So develop a schedule and adhere to your schedule.
2. I knew what to study.
I knew my weakest areas and that was neuro, cardiac, peds, OB and renal. I started from my weakest areas and spent a big chunk of time on them. I also studied according to categories on the NCLEX. So if you think that NCLEX is just a huge med/surg exam, you are wrong. A big chunk of your test is coordination of care, those delegation questions that you loved so much in nursing school. Yes, review your med/surg content but make sure you study according to categories. In order to be successful for the exam, you must know your scope of practice and you must know what you can delegate and who you can delegate to.
3. I knew how to study.
Don't study 500 questions per day if you are weak in content, you won't learn anything from those 500 questions. To help review important content you need to use a reliable study resource. I've heard that some people like Saunders, some like Uworld, some like Kaplan and some like Remar review. I personally used Kaplan, because in my opinion Kaplan was the most similar to the exam and I watched almost all of Registred Nurse RN's videos, I also practiced questions on nurselabs. I liked Kaplan because it helped me realize that it's not all about content, it really boils down to your ability to answer NCLEX style questions. I love Sarah's videos because she really helps you understand the patho behind the diseases in each body system. If you do not understand how each body system works and the patho behind disease processes, the information will not stick. I liked nurselabs because have categories similar to NCLEX and lots of free practice tests. Only studying 85-100 questions is good enough for each day. I utilized Kaplan's live classes and did all of the Qbank questions. I made notes next to questions that I got wrong and reviewed the content in their video library. I read first, I watch videos, I write notes, and I read again and then I teach others, that is how you make information stick.
4. You're not going to know everything.
It's ok you're not. Maybe there were some areas of studying you should had paid more attention to, but accept the fact that you're not going to know it all. ABCs is not always simple as 123, pay attention to the question and the answer choices, don't just jump for the airway answer first w/out considering your other choices. You treat patients not machines, if it boils down to it, choose the answer option that attends to your patient first. Assess before you stress (assess your patient before notifying the physician, unless it's emergent). If an answer option tells you to leave a patient or come back in 15 minutes, it is flat out wrong. Don't delegate what you can't eat( evaluation, assessment, teaching) LPNs (Can't do the initial comprehensive assessment) and UAPs can't. LPNs care for stable patients with predictable outcomes, if you get a question like that, keep that in mind. If an option includes a patient that just got out of surgery, bypass that option.
That was a mouthful but I hope that I was able to help at least one person.
I'm a new LPN/LVN who graduated in summer of 2018, excited to begin my new journey as a nurse.
Joined: Aug '18; Posts: 3; Likes: 7Oct 26Joined: Oct '15; Posts: 1Congratulations!!! I will be finished with nursing school next week!! I am super excited!!! What state do you reside in?