Hi there fellow nurses! I'd like to share my NCLEX-RN story to motivate you most especially those who took the test several times already but still, can't find ways on how to pass this very challenging and big exam! Yeah, I know, this is our ticket to ride into our ultimate dreams and put that Registered Nurse title after our names. =)
To start with, let me tell a little bit of something about me. I am a nurse from the Philippines graduated in April of 2007, passed my local licensure and I had 2.5 years experience in Occupational Health Nursing, some exposures as well to L&D, ER and MS. I moved here in US last 2011. A lot of things were going on in my life- got married, been to a car accident with my hubby (thank God we miraculously survived but I was really emotionally and psychologically traumatized by that experience), and was blessed to get pregnant months later.
When I finally got my eligibility letter from the BON, I hurriedly scheduled for my test and at that time I was ONLY self reviewing using my resources borrowed from my friends. The old Kaplan books, Kaplan CD reviewers and been listening to Feauer CD audio lectures. I studied constantly and did practice Q's max of 150-200 a day and reviewed all the rationales. I took the test for the first time Summer of 2012, computer shut off at 75, tried the PVT at home then it went to CC page then got the official letter days later,I know, I FAILED. Waited for another 45 days and did the KAPLAN on Demand this time and been doing really good on my QTrainer- average of 75-80%. Did the process to re-apply and took the it again the 2nd time, shut off at 265 and finished in 5.5hrs, uhm, another failure. I relaxed for a while since I delivered my first born, healthy baby boy. Then once again, been through the same process, took it for the 3rd time, finished at 256 for almost 6hrs and FAILED AGAIN. :'(
I was very devastated and it came to the point that I was so depressed, completely discouraged to give it another try. I was so scared failure might come on my way again. I don't know what's wrong with me, feeling so dumb!!! I've been studying so hard and been doing well on my my practice exams and I just don't get it, my best wasn't good enough. I almost gave up!
One day, I sat on the corner of my baby's crib while I put him to sleep, tears fell and this moment really awakened me. I know, I wanted a better life for him and I have this burning my passion, of taking care other people. I believe, things happens for a reason, whether it's good or bad. I know, that GUY UP THERE was looking at me and I know He was just testing my faith. I looked up and I prayed for Him to guide me all throughout this journey.
I said to myself, FAILURE IS NOT OPTION AND I SHOULD NEVER EVER GIVE UP! Trust that God has a purpose for His delay. From that day on, I started scanning my books and studied again.
FIRST ~ I recollected myself and identified my weaknesses and strengths. I also based it from the performance report sent by the BON. I listed down all the topics that needs more focus and I understand them by heart. e.g. pharmacology, endocrine problems, ABG's etc. I really hate drug calculations so I decided to solve scenarios with computations of IV, pediatric dosages, for burns (parkland formula) and studied the unfamiliar drugs 20-30 a day. Downloaded the NCSBN Pharma App (VERY HELPFUL!!!) Believe it or not, on my last test I got almost 30+ of various drug calculations and different kinds of meds (well, I studied it so they are not they familiar to me now. =)
REMEMBER: LEARN TO LOVE WHAT YOU HATE THE MOST BECAUSE THEY ARE STILL ESSENTIAL TO NURSING especially to the NCLEX world!
SECOND~ I built my nursing muscle and learned the core content. I enrolled to Hurst 3-day class and 30 days online review. The package cost a little bit but I would give them an A+ for focusing on the core content which helped me a lot! The discussion on Fluids and Electrolytes was my favorite! =)
THIRD~ I pushed myself a little bit more this time. I answered at least 200-250 a day and prepared since September. Since I have a toddler now that needs close monitoring, I didn't study during his waking hours. I would do practice questions one night, and review rationale the next evening. I did my practice tests in one sitting, usually 10:30pm to 2:00am.I alternately used~
Book reviewers- La Charity's PDA,Nclex Incredibly Made Easy, Kaplan and Hurst
Cd reviewer's - Exam Cram, Hurst online, Kaplan QT, and Strategy Practice questions
I also downloaded the app called, NCLEX mastery in my Android phone. It is a little bit expensive but it has 1300+ questions with immediate feedback or rationale. I highly recommend it! I can study a little bit while on my way to shopping trip (hubby's driving!), when my baby is napping or even when I am in the bathroom answering the call of nature. lol.
I also used this free online resources-
And I was able to download a free Lippincott's NCLEX 4000 online, virus free. I just forgot which site I got it from, but I greatly recommend it, too! I guess, you can buy used books or CD software on Amazon or Ebay.
STAY COMMITTED ON YOUR REVIEW AND DO NOT PROCRASTINATE!!!!
FOURTH~ Talking to God in prayer can move mountains. Right before studying, I pray. I found this very powerful prayer on the web.
LACK OF CONCENTRATION
IF ANY OF YOU LACKS WISDOM, LET HIM ASK OF GOD, WHO GIVES TO ALL LIBERALLY AND WITHOUT REPROACH, AND IT WILL BE GIVEN TO HIM. James 1 : 5
Dear Father!I draw near You to seek Your help for my studies; I have the assurance that You love me so very much. Hence, listen to my cries O Lord!Lord ! the Scripture says that You love the prosperity of Your children. You know the importance of studies through which only I can have a bright future. O fountain of all wisdom and knowledge, give me Your guidance and let me learn my lessons properly.Lord! I confess that I get distracted easily; I have more interest in unwanted things rather in my studies. Please forgive me and gird me with You grace and strength so that I concentrate in my studies. Without Your help I cannot achieve any success Lord! So help me to overcome all my weaknesses and strengthen my mind. Take full control of my wandering thoughts and give me Your wisdom and knowledge. Let me shine in my studies O Lord and let me be a blessing to my family. I thank You in advance for answering my prayer. In Jesus' name I pray.Amen.
FIFTH~ After my failing the test several times, I would end up blaming myself and highlight TEST ANXIETY as one of the culprits. LOL. Actually, anxiety before the test is a normal physiologic response but it's up to us on how to deal with it. This time that I was so much prepared, still I felt it every now and then. So what I have I done to conquer it? I volunteered to go on break while on the test and give myself a good snack and stretches. I also added up yoga on my routine exercise. Namaste, it works wonders!!!!
I also gave yourself a pat in my back everytime I get good scores on my practice exams and of course, I gave myself a day off- I watched a movie with my little family, and I was so open to my family with what I feel about the test and I asked for their support and I'm so blessed they've been supportive all the way and they served as my inspiration especially my little, smarty son.
So, I took the NCLEX RN for the 4th and the LAST TIME on 12.12.13 at 2:00 pm. Computer shut off at my favorite number, 143 for almost 5 hrs. I was still uncertain after taking it because I was anxious but I lifted everything to God and went home smiling, tried the PVT, got the good pop up! The feeling was surreal! My name hasn't shown in my BON website yet so I paid the Quick Result after 48hrs and I PASSED. I am finally a Registered Nurse! HARDWORK. DETERMINATION and PRAYERS ALWAYS WIN! I'm excited to see what God has in store for me next. TO HIM BE THE GLORY!!!! God will make a way, where there seems to be no way.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me - Philippians 4:13