My NCLEX journey

  1. First let me start off by saying... I'm officially a nurse! It been a long and stressful journey, but it was 100% worth it!

    I graduated December 2012 and couldn't wait to take my NCLEX. I decided to take HURST review to jump start my preparation. I absolutely loved HURST and there teaching method. During the class I was told that if you knew the content backwards and forwards you would no doubt pass the NCLEX. So after taking the 3 day course I did what I always do, made notecards. I must have had over 2000 notecards (which isn't unusual for me). i knew all of them and after a month of studying I decided to take my NCLEX on January 28. I was so nervous when I sat down. I started my test and froze. I hadn't done any practice questions because HURST had made it clear that their information would be enough. I took all 265 questions and was so upset. I knew I had failed and I was devastated. I had to break the news to my family, friends, and boyfriend. I was heart broken. After 3 days of crying and feeling sorry for myself I decided I needed to get away and take a break before trying again. I went to Missouri where my boyfriend was. He's taking officer training course at Fort Leonard wood and had been gone for 3 months. God knows I needed to see him.

    When I finally returned home I decided not taking questions was my mistake. I decided to purchase Kaplan Q bank and used Saunders to brush up on topics I wasn't confident in. Everyday for an entire month I did 300+ questions a day. I also googled Kaplan Q trainers and found all 7 and took all 7. I was still devastated and often found myself breaking down while doing questions. I emailed one of my professors and asked for advice when I was a week away from my NCLEX. She said it sounded like I was doing everything right. I voiced my concern on not knowing pharmacology and she said it was every nursing students weakness and as I'm doing questions I should think about the use for medications and focus on the ending.

    Three days before taking my NCLEX I was burnt out. I had finished all Kaplan Q bank and I decided to use the Saunders CD. I found this cd extremely easy. I could get 80 to 100% on questions but I found it helpful to do the questions in study mode and to view every single rationale. Saunders has the best rationales because of the information they provide about the disease or situation and a strategy to go about answering the question. I went through 1000 Saunders questions in 2 days! The day before my exam I couldn't not do anything. I went through the all nurses study guide and I also googled NCLEX 3500 and did all of their SATA questions, because that is also one of my weaknesses. On my first attempt of taking the NCLEX I got about 35 SATA:/

    The NCLEX center I was taking my exam at was an hour and a half from my home. I was taking it at 8am. My dad is wonderful and took me. We got there at 7 and boy was I nervous. My dad asked me if I was shaking because I was cold or nervous. COMPLETE NERVES. When called to turn in my ATT and get checked in the lady took forever looking at my ATT number. I thought by mistake I had printed out my old ATT number. I started to freak out in my mind. However, she finally said take a seat for your picture...

    I got settled in my seat used the noise canceling head phones and wrote "Trust God and Nurse on" at the top of my page. I took a couple deep breaths before starting and prayed to God for guidance and help to get me through my test. I also went to church the day before and prayed in the parking lot because the church was locked. I needed God to help me get me through. Without him I don't think I could have stepped foot in the testing center again. The first time I took the NCLEX seems like a complete blur. I went through the questions so fast and even started crying at one point. I didn't take a break and I didn't try to work through questions I didn't know. I just knew I wasn't ready for the exam and was heart broken. If I could go back I would have tried harder on that first exam versus getting defeated.

    So after starting the first question I said I'm going to go slow take my hand off the mouse and not answer until I know I know the answer. I wasn't going to worry about the time or what question I was on. I thought I was going slow but I just found myself knowing the answer. I was lucky to only get 5 med questions and they were actually meds I knew! I got several safety and infection control questions, which I had studied extensively. 2 drag and drops, one picture, and 20 SATA. I looked at the question number at 24 and 62. I told myself I'm not going over 75 this time. And sure enough I didn't. I was so excited when the screen turned blue that I rose my hand and completely forgot about the survey. Luckily the proctor didn't come in and I raced through the survey without reading the questions or answers I was choosing. I was so excited.

    While turning on my phone and walking to the lobby to call my dad I saw him sitting in the chair. The first thing he said was, "well I'm glad I didn't go anywhere!" I only took an hour to do 75 questions. I told my dad I was going to be as slow as a snail!! I all of the sudden got a feeling that maybe I shouldn't feel so confident. After 20 minutes of driving I decided to try the PVT trick and I worked!! I was on cloud 9

    5 minutes after trying the PVT I got a call from the State Board of Nursing for the state which I applied for my license. I was so confused. I had never read about that happening. All the sudden my mind flashed back to checking in and thinking my ATT was the wrong one. Maybe something was wrong. Why would they be calling? I nervously answered and they lady asked if Madison was in IL. I said no WI. She said okay I just needed to confirm. Then before hanging up she said by the way congratulations you passed!!!!! (thanks for saving me 8 dollars for the quick results )

    This journey was so long and stressful but I did it. 265 questions to 75! I'm officially a nurse and now get to go through the process of finding a job. Which will be a hundred times better than doing 300 NCLEX questions a day.

    Just a note:

    I studied everyday all day

    I don't regret taking HURST because it was a great review, but doing questions is priority

    I mainly did Kaplan and Saunder questions. I didn't like Lacharity and NCLEX 3500 kept shutting off mid exam. Review all rationals.

    Doing the Q trainers really helped me get in NCLEX mode.

    I also transformed the all nurses study guide into notecards. and the NCSBN pharm need to know meds into notecards using

    If anybody wants to use my flashcard sets I will be happy to give you my login info for so you can have them available to you.

    Don't get discouraged if you haven't passed. And if it's your first time taking the exam take your time and really work through the question and what it is asking you.

    Thank you for reading my story! Let me know if you have any questions or if you want to use my flashcards. If you do want to use the flashcards it's important not to memorize them but to understand them. Mainly do questions!
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    About SchnoorRN

    Joined: Mar '13; Posts: 32; Likes: 4


  3. by   supermommycinx
    Congratulations! Lovely post, so inspiring. I test on the 27th and being a mother to a toddler and a 2-month old has been difficult for me to find time to review for NCLEX. I'm also doing Kaplan, getting so-so scores (50s) but I keep telling myself I am going to pass NCLEX no matter what.
  4. by   Nurse Neddie
    I love your post congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm really happy for you I pray that I'll posting about the good pop up on Friday too!!!!!!!!
  5. by   dixya
    wow so inspiring !!! CONGRATULATIONS

    i give mine on wednesday ...... giving it everything i got .... out of all that u practised which did u think most resembled nclex???
  6. by   SchnoorRN
    supermommycinx: A week away!! I couldn't imagine studying and having kids! I'm impressed You'll be ok just take a deep breath before you take the exam and believe you'll pass. The NCLEX gets harder as you go so don't expect to know all the information on the test. That was my mistake the first time. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed sit back in your chair close your eye and take a few deep breaths look at the question again and try to work through what answer makes sense by looking at them individually. You can at least limit it down to two. Let me know how it goes!! I'll pray for you

    Nurse Neddie: You will, just keep Praying and believe you will pass Do questions in the area you are weakest in two days before or the day before your exam mine were in SATA. So i did about 200 questions just on those and trying to come up with strategies to use on my actual test. I decided to look at them as true and false. And also thought to myself would I pick this answer if this was a multiple choice question.

    Dixya: Good luck first of all!! you can do it! Out of everything I did I would say Kaplan was extremely similar to the NCLEX. In the format and in the difficulty. I highly recommend doing the Q trainers. Q trainer 7 has 265 questions and is very similar to the NCLEX. Kaplan states if you get over 60% on the Q trainer 7 it is highly likely you will pass the NCLEX. I got a 68%!
  7. by   dixya
    thannx .... did it last night ...qt7 - i thought it was extremely hard !!! i got 65% but i was literally in tears .. coz i had to guess almost all the answers !!!
  8. by   SchnoorRN
    Honestly I felt the same way about the Q trainers I felt some were obvious and others I had absolutely know idea. I also got frustrated because after reading the rationales it all made sense and I know I should have picked the right answer. Kaplan is hard especially q trainer 7. Kaplan says get over 60% on Q trainers 6 and 7 and your chances are good to pass the nclex.
    My advice about kaplan is that it is designed to be hard so you utilize their strategies when answering their questions and thus will utilize it on the actual NCLEX.

    When I took my NCLEX I found that I could always narrow it down to 2 answers because the 2 I took out were obviously wrong. I didn't necessarily utilize the decision tree every question I just decided to take my time and try to cancel out questions.
  9. by   dixya
    ya its really hard .... the other qt1-6 i found them a bit obvious .. even qt6... when i read their rationale it made sense and i was literally kicking myself for choosing the wrong one !!! scored 68 on qt6..... my problem like everyone else's is sata !!! i hardly seem to get any right ... i miss either 1 or choose 1 extra !!! .... i dont necessarily use the decision tree either ... i find it confusiong ... somethings when i am absolutely not sure thats when i use it !!!

    thats soooo great ur's is over ... i cant wait for mine to be over !! n hopefully emerge out an RN !!!
  10. by   SchnoorRN
    Your scores look good and the fact you've done all the q trainers is great! Just keep practicing the SATAs. View them as T or F, also think would I choose this answer if it was just a multiple choice. Go by the answers one by one don't pay attention to how many you are choosing and once you've eliminated or chosen it as an answer don't go back to it. You're almost there and I'm betting you'll pass just keeping going and remember to take breaks and deep breaths.
  11. by   RN2BEESOON
    Congratulations. I would love to use your flashcards. I've failed NCLEX twice :-(
  12. by   lnguyen10
    Quote from RN2BEESOON
    Congratulations. I would love to use your flashcards. I've failed NCLEX twice :-(
    Don't give up!! I had to take mine three times. But now I am an RN! I was super excited. But don't give up! Keep studying and especially taking practice questions! I think the exam cram book was very helpful. I got it at Barnes and nobles.
  13. by   Nurse_AR415
    Congratulations nurse! You're post is very inspiring! I'm getting a little scared taking mine first week of April! I would also like to use your flash card please. I also failed the first time and that's because I rushed it as well.
  14. by   SchnoorRN
    Quote from RN2BEESOON
    Congratulations. I would love to use your flashcards. I've failed NCLEX twice :-(
    Sure I've already had several people email me for them so ill post it here. First let me say there are a lot of the I have the all nurses study guide and the pharm. the pharm is taken straight from the NCSBN app it includes the definition of the class and drugs in each class the second half of the questions are need to know info about drugs according to the NCSBN.

    Keep doing questions and believe you will past. Take your time during the test.

    Also I did not memorize all the pharm notecards I made. I got to know the basics of the class and associated the ending of the drugs with the classes. I mainly used the pharm notecards I believe starting at notecard 200 for the need to know drug info according to the ncsbn!