nclex second attempt! help!


Hey all. I just joined this because it has been so helpful and encouraging reading all the threads.

A little background - I graduated with my BSN in May 2014. I took a few months off, due to personal issues, and took my nclex in September and failed with 100 questions. I was completely devastated but I knew I had to retake it as soon as possible.

I scheduled my second test next week, November 3rd. I am so stressed out but I feel more confident now than I did for the first exam. I purchased the 3 week ncsbn and completed all of the question banks at the end of the course. I also am using PDA, Saunders 5th edition (the cd has more items that I am enjoying), I made flashcards for content I am weak in, and I am doing exam cram practice questions, scoring anywhere from 50%-90%.

Just wondering if anyone can share some words of advice or encouragement to help get through this next week!! I know its tough but this forum is good at making it some a whole lot easier :)


42 Posts

Well I just took the exam last Friday (10/24), but have not received my results yet. However, seeing that time is of the essence here maybe I can help a little.

There are many great threads on here about what books and programs to use and you already have your study materials set up nicely. So I guess I will tell you about some of the "esoteric" things I did to prepare for the exam in relation to how much time till testing.

There are some threads mentioning to relax the day before the exam in which I think is a good idea.

I believe if you can answer questions in the percentage range that you have posted I believe you are ready in terms of content/question interpretation.

The only thing remaining is arriving at the testing center in as optimal state as possible.

Two days before testing I started to taper down on questions and started to prepare to be in as optimal state as possible for testing. I am a light sleeper and, as of late have been a late waker. So, two days before the exam I "practiced" sleeping early which didn't go well. In light of this experience, the following day, the day before the exam, I completely cut out all stimulant sources, mainly caffeine. I am a huge coffee consumer, so the adenosine explosion was ridiculous, headache, and lethargy the entire day which was a good thing- the lethargy that is.

I also took a trial run the day before the exam, before the adenosine explosion could take affect, just to estimate how long it would take to get to the testing center and a general in person idea of where the testing center was located.

On testing day I left early, listened to relaxing music, and purchased a cup of coffee.

My mindset for testing day was "this is it, pass or fail I am here. Anything that could have been done should have been done weeks ago, the only thing left to do is take the test. Go with the flow at this point and be mentally present, from the moment you arrive at the testing center till the last question is answered."

[but, after the last question was answered I really wanted to get out and get another cup of coffee]

Whatever you do that allows you to be in your most optimal state of concentration, or relaxed focus I would suggest to start and prepare to be in that state one to two days before the exam. It may include preparing to handle any distractors while moving toward your optimal state, however it is you obtain that state.

Alright, hope this helps and Good Luck!


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I recently passed my NCLEX and was in a similar situation to you. I graduated this past May with my BSN and didn't take my first attempt until the end of August. Obviously, I failed. The second time around I used the three week NCSBN course and many of the same resources you've been using as well. I'm not sure if it will help you, but what helped me pass the second time around was telling myself that basically, the worst was over. I had already failed, what was the worst that could happen? I already knew the feeling of failure and I was ready to prove myself the second time around. Going into the exam with an attitude of "I'm going to pass" helped calm my nerves a bit. The day of my exam I made sure to get up early, do some light exercise, and I avoided caffeine because I didn't want to crash. I was preparing myself for a full six hours, but my test had shut off an hour in. I relaxed the day before the test and watched a funny movie and tried to get a good rest. Good luck!

Specializes in Emergency Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

Thank you for your advice! I have been trying to stay concentrated and relaxed and pray for the best!

Specializes in Emergency Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

That's exactly how I am looking at it! I feel much more confident and everyday I tell myself that I will pass and I will be an RN in no time. I have one more week to go, what did you do the week before your exam?

Thanks for your advice!!

Deemariee first off you can do this and you can conquer this exam!!!

I took NCLEX this past July, got 101 questions, and I too didn't pass! I had some serious test anxiety and pressure the first time around! I had a job basically riding on passing the first time!! I was devastated and it was a huge blow to my confidence. I initially used Kaplan as it was my school's review course of choice! After taking a month off, I revamped and wanted to try a whole new way to study. I heard great things about the HURST review so I purchased it. And I too used PDA which was a life saver for those management of care questions!

I was nervous like you a week before my exam and considered rescheduling just out of fear although I felt confident in the material. But thanks to my mom and much prayer I kept my date the same!

Second time around I got 75 questions with ton of SATA. And when the screen went blue I felt like I passed! My job was super nice and basically offered me a spot in the next new graduate cohort! So some pressure was relieved! I remained calm during the exam and prayed a ton while taking it!

Stay strong and positive as your date approaches! Keep envisioning RN behind your name and keep the faith! You can overcome this monster called NCLEX!!!

Specializes in Emergency Medicine. Has 8 years experience.


Thank you so much for your reply!

I am trying to stay as calm as I can be and trying to stay motivated because I know I can do this!

One week before your exam what did you focus on? Did you do more questions or content?

Thanks again and congratulations on passing!!

One week before my exam I focused mostly on questions and 3 days before my exam just reviewed my content notes one more time.