How I passed NCLEX different methods
Hi everyone! Great news I passed NCLEX on my first try as of this morning. Pearson Vue Trick approved! Then the FDOH site at 12pm today confirmed. WOOT WOOT!
I'm an EMT, gone LPN, and now and finally an RN! I knew healthcare was my calling and I loved the excitement of each license, but i needed something more. I attended Miami Dade College for both my LPN and the transitional program to RN (which was brutal). I will also put it out there, I suffer from major test anxiety. The cramps, the palpitations, the sweats you name it I got it. But I've learned it's all in your head. So there's hope!
Now just so we're clear, Miami Dade College uses the ATI program. And I'll be frank, I hated it! It was so hard. I always felt stupid after a practice test or proctored exam. They considered 60% good? "I was like that's stupid, I just failed." In the end, it was definitely worth it. (By the end of the program you should be scoring in the high 60's into the mid 70's range to pass).
ATI is where you get the foundation to take NCLEX, it's more like an either you-know-it or you-don't-game. My recommendation, take good notes in class, go online and find some NCLEX study guides made by nursing students, those are the best! I found one on this site that I used to supplement my studies; I'm glad I did or I might not have passed. I used ATI both for LPN school and RN and it's made a difference. (Use the books too! the CD's are not too useful)
The next thing I did, was the second I knew I was going to pass RN school, as in I passed my final exam I began the application process to take the exam. Get on that early! It takes an entire month (more or less) for the entire process.
- Pearson Vue
- Background check (with photo now).
I graduated officially August 2, I applied July 20th more or less. I didn't get my ATT until August 23. This also depends on how long your school waits to release your information. I did zero studying when I graduated. Some of you must be like, "she's crazy". Here's why I'm not crazy! TAKE A BREAK! You did it! celebrate and leave all this nursing stuff alone for a little bit. Catch up on some TV shows, Dexter in my case, take that vacation you've been waiting for etc. You earned it! When you get back get ready to work! But remember you'll come back refreshed and ready to absorb the necessary.
**I did not use Kaplan, or Hurst or any timed preparation program post graduation. I have passed all of my boards; remember, three of them (EMT, LPN, RN) without them. I also have never passed any of my boards as the minimum amount of questions either. So that just shows I'm not the smartest or most skilled test taker, just a savvy one. So far my method has not changed. I just panicked a little more on this one than the others. ^_^**
Here's what I did. I set up to take my test in a approximately 4 weeks. I gave myself one week to gather my books and mentally prepare myself aka. finish my seasons of dexter without getting distracted. *note* I can get easily distracted/obsessed with either a tv show or art project very easily. You can't tear me away unless i complete it, so I have zero regrets or yearnings to go back to it. I know that I'm not the only one so don't judge. Once you've gotten it all out of your system we get down to business!
1. I used Saunders 5th edition, flipped through the book did mostly the questions from the CD. That's probably the best thing you can do after you've gone over a subject area. QUESTIONS! QUESTIONS! QUESTIONS! Great Alt format questions resource.
2. Did some ATI but it's really not necessary since this info should be in your brain by now most nursing schools have some programs now. Obvious stuff like this: Ex. Patient is post surgery tonsillectomy what should the nurse watch out for first? Answer: continuous swallowing (may indicated hemorrhage) Just in case you didn't know. I bring that one up because something similar showed up on my NCLEX yesterday.
3. I searched the internet for NCLEX reviews in an audio format since I missed my ATI review. Good news, I found one! I torrented it, it's called NCLEX review Feuer. This review was done in 2010, but it's fantastic. When I was on the road or walking my dogs, I was listening to these awesome women. They really knew their stuff and taught you what you needed to know on the schematics of this test. Kaplan I believe does something similar, their methods of answering the questions with trees and other stuff, that's extra nonsense that you might not have time for. These women really go deep into the reasons why NCLEX asks you these questions and what they're looking for. Plus they give you awesome tips on how to answer the questions if your stuck. And trust me if your doing well you will get stuck on a few. The review covers: maternity, peds, medsurg, and psych. Fundamentals is thrown in their a bit. I listened to my weakest subjects first then the stronger ones, supplementing with questions on the audio and in my Saunders CD.
When I got into my last week I finished the audio and started doing questions. Saunders CD, someone lent me a NCLEX 4000 disc and I started munching on those. Then I searched the internet some more for free nclex style questions, I tried every style and source available to me. I did some Kaplan questions, NCSBN questions, trial questions on quizzlet. I wanted to make sure that I had seen as many different kinds of questions by the time I faced the real deal. On my last study night (friday for me, and saturday was my day off) I did 50 ATI Comprehensive questions and called it quits. On saturday I read through my nursing student cheat sheets to remind myself of the fundamentals and the little sayings "Cold and clammy need some candy", (don't forget your labs). Then spent the rest of the day relaxing. (yeah right I was panicking, I went to a bridal show instead.) It worked, it kept my mind off my impending test.
So To Summarize
Prep time 4 weeks
Study time 3 weeks
Study periods every day Monday thru Sunday 1-3 hrs of reading/questions
AM 50 questions PM 50 questions total 100 per day
*remember study weaknesses to strength*
5% ATI 75% Saunders 20% online questions and student nurse cheat sheet***
Give yourself a day off then choose the time your most awake or better at testing. I'm a PM kinda girl, so I went with the 1PM appointment, I chose Monday so I would have an equal amount of weeks to study and count off on my calendar. Also I could get my results sooner.
1. Choose the least invasive intervention first remember ADPIE (Assess Diagnose Plan Intervention Evaluate)
2. Also narrow your answers down to two if you can. Then dissect them closely before choosing your final answer. When you get to this point. Reread the question and look at what it's asking for. I saw some NCLEX answers that looked straight from the book "the-always-safe-types" NCLEX knows that you know they're safe and unfortunately that's not what they're asking. This is done on purpose to confuse you.
3. Use your ABC's and Maslow. If your airway is compromised in anyway then it's probably going to be that answer.
4. When priority questions appear don't expect the "LPN can't give blood so you should stop her!" you'll get something that will force you to think about each situation. Choose the one that will become critical unless you do something right now.
5. Alt. Format questions means your doing well, study those ---> Saunders. (i got about 22 of them, my friend got 30)
6. If you get a question that you have no idea about read it carefully. Reread it. Then try to see if you can get any idea what it's asking for. If you can't look at the options and select the one that meets the safety criteria. Remember, NCLEX wants safe nurses.
7. If you hit 75 and it keeps going. Take a break, you'll be panicking by then. (I went to the bathroom freshened up then ran up and down the hallway doing jumping jacks to get pumped up again. Drank some water, and had my snack (take one of those Nature Valley bar, protien in case you have to take the whole test) Take a breath and finish up that sucker!
8. I know this sounds cheesey and i've read it on all of the threads but...
BE CONFIDENT! BE BOLD!!! I blanked out on question 1!! Which was a math question. (I for the life of me hate math!) Just calm down work it through and move on to the other 74 or 274 no big deal. If you get past 75 that just means the computer is having a hard time gauging your progress. So this means you've got a better opportunity to pass! Yes! Take it as a good omen!!!
I took my NCLEX on a Monday, I started at 12:45pm. I finished around 3:50PM
I had 128 questions total
I had 22 Select All that Apply
0 hot spot
Rest were multiple choice
At least 6 questions were about meds
A good portion were nurses' conference and safety questions
A good portion were Priority
A number of maternity
a few peds
5 at the most psych
A good portion was medsurg
My honest opinion: The test didn't feel hard at all. It felt like a cheap scam (especially the meds I had never heard of in my life!) Study the fundamentals, the ABC's, the SAFTEY and you'll be fine.
Get a good night's rest and kickbutt!!!
Post Test: You will feel depressed, stupid, worthless and many other things. Drive yourself home go online and do the Pvue trick and get going with your life. It's one of the many tests of our lives, tomorrow is full of new possibilities whether you pass or fail.
Best of luck my fellow peers.
*I hope this helps who ever needs some other study alternatives.
Aramis2121Last edit by traumaRUs on Sep 30, '13
I'm a EMT turned LPN and finally RN, it's been a great learning experience. I'm pretty average. No straight A's here, "C" stands for "continue," (a saying we had in nursing school). I'd say i have to thank my friends, family and professors forgiving me the extra push to do my best. Passing boards really proves how committed you are to yourself and your supporters. I wrote this to inspire other nursing students that there are other options out there you just need to dig a little deeper for it.
Joined: Nov '10; Posts: 25; Likes: 27
RN; from US
Specialty: LTC, PACUSep 24, '13This is probably the most thorough post NCLEX-RN review i have ever read here. Truly appreciate this feedback. Congrats to you and God Bless!Sep 25, '13Hey guys here's that cheat sheet i was talking about in my post. It's from another fellow nurse peer on this site.squiddlepost: NCLEX cheat sheetf the link doesn't work I can email it to you. No big
Good luck and thank you for the replies!
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