NCLEX not at all what I expected

  1. So I just took NCLEX this morning, and it really did not meet the expectations I had going in. I thought I understood what to expect and researched a whole bunch about CAT style exams (answer correct = harder question, answer incorrect = easier question etc). I specifically remember watching a video online of someone saying that their first few questions were "definition-level" questions, aka INCREDIBLY easy, and then they got harder and harder. So I start my exam expecting the first few questions to be a joke, and my first question is literally a SATA about some random disease. What? I spent probably 10 minutes on the first few questions because they genuinely were that challenging, absolutely not easy questions.

    I am not exaggerating when I say that I was 100% confident in maybe 3-4 of the questions out of the 75 I got. Every single other question involved some educated guess. I got somewhere between 20-30 SATA and they were so challenging that I no joke thought I might have been having technical issues and the testing software was glitching out and not delivering the test properly. "Am I even taking the right test? This is the NCLEX test right?". Those were some of these actual, serious thoughts that were going through my head as I progressed through this exam.

    I should mention at this point that I used UWORLD, answered every single question and their comprehensive test put me at "Very likely" to pass NCLEX (90th percentile). My ATI comprehensive predictor gave me a 97% chance of passing my first attempt (I was in the top 5 ATI scores out of the 70 in my class). Also did all questions in Saunders book/NCLEX mastery app phone app/every single ATI practice question. I have NEVER felt more prepared for an exam than this one, and by question 15-20, that confidence was crushed.

    I know, I know. Everyone thinks they failed when they leave the test. But even though I know shutting off at 75 is usually a good thing, I can't help but feel genuinely uneasy about how I did. Because of how many SATA questions I had that required at least partial educated guesses, I am feeling like I wouldn't even be surprised if I bombed it so hard that my computer shut off right at 75. The fact that the questions were so challenging right out of the gate is what really caught me off-guard. Not to mention that the difficulty of each question didn't seem to have any pattern...I would get a very easy question that I was extremely confident of, and then a mind-blowingly difficult one back to back. This was not my understanding of how the test worked. I knew the topics from every single question and could teach you all about them, but I felt like every question I was getting represented the hardest possible way you could ask about these topics. At one point I wondered if I am just the most unlucky person in the world - there was point at around question 40 where I got LITERALLY 9 SATA questions in a row (that is not an exaggeration, I counted them). I know getting SATA is usually a good sign, but seriously. I was getting so frustrated that I was taking this exam that I felt like was making a fool out of me despite being incredibly prepared.

    Has anyone else had an experience like this? Where they feel like they are on a different planet taking this test despite preparing like no other? Questions that are incredibly challenging right from the start? No pattern to the difficulty of the questions as you would expect there to be in a CAT style exam? Thanks for any input you guys have. I'm not going to do the PVT...seen too many people say it can fail to work sometimes. I'm just gonna wait the 48 hours. I'm aware I probably passed and am just being dramatic but holy moly that test was not what I expected it to be.
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    Joined: Jun '18; Posts: 2; Likes: 2

    6 Comments

  3. by   mindiianajones
    Honestly, I'm sure just about everyone did. I certainly had some expectations going in that were completely shattered. After taking it myself, I think people should just go into it as prepared as they possibly can be but with the expectation that they're going to have to, in the iconic words of Samuel L. Jackson, hold onto your butts. I don't really think there's any way to "figure out" the NCLEX. Some people think they've got it and maybe they do, but you can't prepare for it in that way. Good luck! I hope you get a pass!
  4. by   2016srnfcc
    NO input from me since i havnt taken the nclex. May i ask if you plan or have done the PVT
  5. by   COMountaineer88
    Did you pass? I just took mine. Also got 75 and feel the same way.
  6. by   anneaw
    I had the same experience and I passed at 75q. My test started at what appeared to be a higher level Q and continued in the same fashion. I used critical thinking (and educated guessing - LOL) the entire time. One third SATA. The subject matter was well rounded as myy test did not focus on any single subject. I had a fair amount of prioritization. I graduated with a 3.65 GPA. I finished uworld at 63 percent. Second assessment was 89th percentile. I felt very well prepared. I was surprised by the amount of obscure items on the test, but my preparation was obviously on the right track as I successfully used my skills to pass the test. I think that is what the purpose of the test is - it is not a knowledge test, but a critical thinking test.
  7. by   GloryBox
    I had a similar experience when I did my NCLEX in March. Over half of my NCLEX contained SATA questions and I only felt confident in answering 3 or 4 of them. Right from the start, I found the questions difficult - I remember being only 6 questions deep and thinking, "WTF IS HAPPENING?!" Some of the questions were REALLY SPECIFIC about certain diseases and medications, some of which I haven't even heard about so I had no choice but to guess the answers. I was devasted when my exam stopped at 75 questions as I was sure I was going to get more than the minimum based on how poorly I felt that I answered some of questions. Fortunately I passed but it was a rough couple of days before finding out my results.

    I also used UWorld to study (among other resources like a hardcopy of Saunders) and would consistently score below 80% in most of the question blocks I created. I felt that UWorld prepared me for the layout/style of the NCLEX and maybe SOME content, but I found the NCLEX to be way more difficult than UWorld.
  8. by   NurseMari2018
    Hi I just took NCLEX last week 6/21. I went in there thinking, "can't be that bad, after all you're already an LPN!" From the beginning it was harder than I expected, still seems like a blur really. Once I passed the 75 questions I thought to myself, oh no....I'm going to be here for the whole 265! My test stopped at 125 questions, and honestly I felt I had failed....I came out of there telling myself, "you failed it, this was harder than I ever expected."I had mostly prioritization questions and at least 30 SATA. I did the PVT and got the "good pop up". But wasn't sure or confident enough to be happy with that, 48 hours later and w/quick results I found out I passed!! I was so happy, I still can't believe...I'm finally an RN!!!!

    I studied Saunders, Lippincott and ATI.

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