I promised once I passed the nclex RN I would post on how I prepared myself for the exam.
Some background information- I graduated in June 2016 from a 2 year nursing program. Throughout nursing school I did not receive the highest grades, I maintained around a B and had to study constantly in order to achieve that. My nursing program was extremely small (about 60 students per semester) and very difficult. Graduates of the program who graduated in December 2015 (1 semester ahead of my graduating class) had a 97% nclex pass rate on their first try.
My school provided us with the ATI live review. Each student had to take the ATI nclex predictor exam- unfortunately my school decided to give this exam to us 1 week before finals. It was 180 questions on topics I had not looked at in months and I did horribly on it. My score ended up predicting I had a 49% chance of passing the nclex. Aside from the predictor exam the instructor was great and she reviewed a ton of content. Originally I had purchased Saunders Comprehensive Review book to study content but decided not to use it and use ATI’s content review guide instead. I LOVED this book. The content included was very to the point and only contained “need to know information”. Throughout the sections were tips on how to remember specific information and it also pointed out information that nclex commonly tests on. I highly recommended this book to review content material. (Only $20 on amazon
I decided to purchase Kaplan on my own. IT IS WORTH THE MONEY. My instructor for the live review was excellent. Not only did she go over questions but also included a lot of content and tips/ tricks for the nclex. Also, after the live review she was still available to answer any questions or concerns about the exam. Kaplan meshed really well with how I like to study. I am very organized and like to have a plan in mind- Kaplan allowed me this. I DID NOT USE THE DECISION TREE. I felt that using it actually would make me talk myself out of the correct answers. I have heard that the decision tree works great for some people, but for me it was just confusing and took too much time.
Initially I wanted to schedule my nclex with 6 weeks to prepare. Unfortunately there was no availability so I ended up preparing for 2 months. This ended up being the perfect amount of time because I was able to study a ton and still have free time to myself. I studied Monday-Friday for about 5 hours on/off a day. Every Friday I would take a Q trainer and remediate it- I typed out all the rationales and made a list of all the topics I got wrong or wanted to review. I did this for the qbank as well. I LOVED kaplans video library. It comes with hundreds of videos for almost every topic that can appear on the nclex and only goes over “need to know information”. I took notes and compared it with the ATI content review book and added in any extra information that the videos included. I reviewed A LOT of content.
Phase 2 nclex practice exam- 50%
Readiness- 69% (took 2 weeks before nclex)
Sample 1- 70% ***
Sample 2- 58% ***
Sample 3- 80% ***
***nclex is EXTREMELY similar to these exams
I passed nclex on my first try in 75 questions. I had 2 exhibits, ton of priority and 23 SATA’s. Kaplan over prepared me for the nclex- which a review course should do. The questions were so straightforward and a lot easier than the qbank and qtrainer questions. The worst part of the entire exam was the anxiety leading up to it. The week before the exam all I reviewed was major topics (example infection control) and lab values. The weekend before I didn’t study at all and focused on relaxing and being mentally clear. Kaplan was a major part of my nclex success.
Immediately after the exam I did the PVT and did get the "good pop up" and received the unofficial results 48 hours after