I passed my boards the first time around...I was incrediably scared though. I went in with a piss poor attitude and walked out crying. I ended up sitting in my car in the parking lot crying for a bout 15 minutes before I attempted to drive home. For 2 days i was so sick to my stomach couldnt eat barley sleep and all I could do is think ...crap I failed. My computer shut off around 156ish and I thought...its over. HOWEVER, it wasn't! I think that what really helped me are these things...
The NCLEX is definately not something you can study the night before and expect a really great outcome. I had started studying right before I graduated (DEC, 05) not too hard and then once I scheduled my test waaay in advance that was my pushing force to really focus myself.
2) TAKE A COURSE-
My school offered a 5 day live review from The HURST Review. I HIIIIGHLY recommend it. Its a little pricey like 350.00 for the 5 day live review. But def worth it. They go over all the key points, you get a couple binders of information. THey make it easy for you to learn and understand. They give you hints and key words to recognize. You get CD's mock tests. Which you get to KEEP. And they guarantee you will pass or you get your money back or the option of using all the online material. http://www.hurstreview.com/
If you are a nursing student see if your class would be intrested. Its worth a shot and really really worth it. I just studied straight from all their material and I'll tell you what. Without that I probably wouldn't have done as great.
3) DONT STUDY NIGHT BEFORE
- As hard as it is don't study the night before. Go out to dinner with friends and see a movie then come home at a decent time and get your rest. Over cramming won't do you anything but stress you out and over load your brain. I reviewed all the labs one time in the morning and one time before i went to bed and that was it.
4) WAKE UP EARLY ENOUGH TO EAT A BREAKFAST
- eat something before you head out...again easier said than done when your sick to your stomach with nervousness. Try to eat a little something so your belly won't burn or ache while you are trying to concentrate.
5) TAKE THE EAR PLUGS and WRITE DOWN THE LABS
- They will offer you ear plugs. You may not use them but take them just incase. I didn't plan on using them, but then someone i was sitting next to had a cold and kept sniffling. It distracted me and lol annoyed me lil bit so i put em in and i was good to go again. When you first get in there you start when you are ready. So take 5 minutes or so to write down your lab values on the dry erase board along with any other pertinate information you want. For instance thru the HURST review they gave you clues like if you want to get Mg and Ca questions right, think Muscles 1st. Mg and Ca= sedatives. I wrote PAIN NEVER KILLED anyone too, because while i was studying I seemed to tend to lean towards pain a lot for my answer. Another thing i remember writing down just as a reminder...Assessment before implementation. Fluid retention- think heart first, dont delay treatment, more volume = more pressure, less volume = less pressure. ALWAYS assume the worst. Those are pointers that stick out in my head. I could go on and on..but i wont lol. I'd write down some of the hints that stuck out in my mind on there as well. Then you can start on the computer. There is a tutorial first.
6)FOCUS ON THE QUESTION NOT THE #
- I found that if i took my lisence and covered the corner of the computer screen with it I would focus better on the question instead of what number I was on. Be prepared for it to just shut off to a blue screen!
7) BE CAREFUL with "CALL THE DOCTOR
" answers- Sometimes its the ONLY thing you can do, but remember if there is something else that you can do that wil help or save the patient...DO IT. Always pick the most life threatening answer as well when narrowing it down to two.
8) DEF KNOW PRIORITY
- When trying to figure out who to see first always go for the more acute, unstable or complex. I laughed a ton of mine because i was like you have GOT to be KIDDING me because all four options seemed like they were all acute, unstable and very complex lol. But you have to remember that a patient can have a serious disease like COPD but be stable.
If the answer is obvious..becareful! Stay away from invasive procedures, meds, wheelchairs and restraints as long as possible. Allow the patient to choose. Read the question througho if two are very similar and basically are saying the same thing elminate them you can't have two right answers. I remember getting a lot of questions on putting patients in rooms and who can go to gether and who cant.
- you can't get worked up over a question you have no idea what they are talking about. TRUST me I got a lot of questions on meds that I have NEVER heard of and diseases that i thought they were making up. Remember there are pilot questions too.
11) DONT RUSH AND TAAAAAAAKE YOUR BREA
KS- its nice to take a break...there are some scheduled throughout the test, but you can get up whenever you want by raising your hand. I had to get up because i was getting very frustrated and losing confidence and concentration. Get up go to the bathroom, stretch and regain focus. You'll do better.
12)BE CONFIDENT- YOU CAN DO IT!!
IF not ..it is not the end of the world..its not like nursing school where you fail and you could get kicked out of the program. YOU can do it again. Just pick up the pieces and start over focus little harder and you'll know for the next time where you need to study better. I have had friends fail the first time and bounce back and pass the second time! It is also worth paying the 8 dollars to find out early so you are not killing yourself slowly waiting for the results.
These are just some of the things that when i look back might have helped me. They might not help you...but just my personal suggestions.
GOOD LUCK!!! YOU'll do great..........from one new RN to the next!