Today, I found out that I passed my NCLEX-RN! For those of you who have been following my posts, you know how I was struggling to get there. Thank you to those who believed in me! Here's my story:
I graduated May 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing. I would say that I am an average nursing student. I'm not too good at HESI exams. In fact, I passed mine on my third try. I studied at least 1 or 2 days before exams. I don't have any prior nursing experience before nursing school.
What I did to prepare:
I used Kaplan for 95% of my studying. I used this program, mostly because the school paid half of the expenses for the course. We had 4 days with a Kaplan instructor teaching us about Test-taking Strategies, NCLEX information, and gone over some questions. We were advised to take the NCLEX within the 3 months after we graduate.
My family had already planned ahead of time that in July 2017 (2 months after my graduation), we will be vacationing to the Philippines for 3 weeks, and Japan for 3 days. Originally, my plan was to take the NCLEX June 2017. However, that didn't push through because my mind was too busy thinking about our upcoming vacation. I promised to myself I'll take it as soon as I get back. I enjoyed my vacation. While I was away, I did not think about the NCLEX or finding a job. I was just enjoying the moment.
When I got back, I had a major jet lag that hindered me from studying. I allowed myself to rest for about 1 week and a half, before starting to study.
In totality, I had 3 and 1/2 weeks of studying and preparing for the NCLEX. I used Kaplan, which I felt like I did not do to well on, considering my QTrainers and QBank Scores were. Here are my scores:
Sample Test 1: 56%
Sample Test 2: 48%
Sample Test 3: 73.3%
Sample Test 4: 26%
As you can see, I did not do too well, considering that Kaplan wants you to aim for a 65% for QT4 and QT5, and 60% for QT6 and QT7. I also did not do well on Sample Test 4, since I hate SATA's! I repeat,
I hate SATA's! I took the QTrainers in between a day or 2 days so that I can also do some of the QBanks. I reviewed all the rationales, took notes on all of them--right or wrong! I prolly have about 500 notes just from QBanks and QTrainers.
Along with Kaplan, I also did some of LaCharity's Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment book, which you can literally finish in 2-3 days!
The closer it is to my test day, I noticed that I have been improving on my QBank Scores. I did about 150 questions/day and did 25 questions at a time. I was getting 40%'s when I first started and improved by getting 60-90%'s by the last week of my prep. When I started, my cumulative performance was 43% and it went up to 51% when I finished the program.
I also want to add that throughout my preparation, I prayed every night at 10 pm, just focusing on the test. I also read the 35-page study guide floating on this website everyday on the last week of my prep. I visited the testing center a week before just to ease my anxiety (I recommend!).
The day before:
The day before, I read the rationales and study guide I have in the morning. In the afternoon, I went to the state fair with my boyfriend.
I could not relax and just stay at home and watch a movie. I had to release my anxiety so I rode rides and had good food the day before. I got home around 9:30 pm.
My exam day:
My exam was on a Saturday, 2 pm (September 16th). I woke up around 8 in the morning. I kept waking up every hour the night before (I kid you not!). It was my anxiety kicking in. I had a bagel with honey almond shmear and a greek yogurt for breakfast. I could not refrain myself from reading my rationales, so while I was eating, I was doing that! For lunch, I had a 4-piece chicken nuggets and small fries. I did not want to be too full before going to my exam because I might get sleepy!
I arrived 45 minutes early. I had ample time to relax. I said a prayer before I took the test. I was doing the questions.I cannot believe
how many SATA's I was getting. At question 55, I went out and took my very first break. I needed some sugar. I ate a cookie and some cheese bites. I went back. At question 70, I went on another break. The proctor and I were laughing because I told him I needed to use the bathroom after drinking plenty of water during my first break. I started freaking out because 2 people were already leaving. I was thinking that they either did really good or really bad. I went back into the exam room and I was ready. I actually was hoping that I would not end at 75 questions because of how much SATA's I got! I know I did not answer all of them correctly. I kept going and going. Prayed every 25-30 questions. I was about to cry. I reached 265! I cannot believe it. I finished in about 5 hours and 15 minutes then I had to stay for the survey and the additional questions. I got out of the room thinking that I failed.
I felt like it was not only a mental fight, but also a physical and emotional one. As soon as my boyfriend picked me up, I hugged him so tightly and started crying. I was so frustrated that I got half of my questions in SATA format. I felt like I was not able to prove myself!
The days after
: I kept checking the BON site for my name and it wasn't there. I felt like the knot in my tummy that I had when I took the exam was still there while I was waiting for my results. Last night, my nurse friends invited me to a BBQ party and they, too, wanted to know the results. I told them I'll do the 48 hour early results from the PearsonVue website as soon as I got home.
When I got home, I checked. I prolly waited for about 3-5 minutes to click "Next" to review the results because I just don't want to know if I passed or not. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath. My unofficial results said "Pass". The following day, which is today, September 19th (Tuesday), my name is registered on the BON website. I am so happy.
For those testing
: It's a mind game. The moment you wake up on your exam day, up until the moment you walk out from the test, is already your NCLEX. Work everyday, but also have some time off! Trust yourself. You've came this far. You're one step away from getting that "RN" after your name, go get it! FOCUS.
Your chance of passing does not depend on what resources you use, but how well you condition yourself up until that day.
Good luck, future RN's!
Psalm 46:5New International Version (NIV)
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.