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Passed the NCLEX first time-- as an international nurse

tmac19 tmac19 (New) New

Specializes in Orthopedics. Has 2 years experience.

Hi everyone!

I have read a lot of threads that were very helpful for nurses who studied in the US, but not many relating specifically to international nurses. So, I thought I would add my piece here, just to encourage all you international nurses wanting to take the NCLEX.

First of all, I just wanted to encourage you not to be discouraged by the statistics. I made the stupid decision to read up on the passing rate of international nurses a couple days before I took my NCLEX. Doing so only gave me additional stress, in a time where I was anxious enough already. You are an individual and you are more than a statistic. Therefore, work hard--study to the best of your ability--and don't worry about the statistics!

A little background info:

I graduated in 2011 from a nursing school in Canada. About a month after graduation, I took the CRNE (the licensing exam), which was very difficult. I remember being completely unsure if I had passed or failed. Thankfully, I did pass and started to work in a med-surg environment a couple months after passing. I loved my job.

Fast forward to just a couple months ago. I decided that I wanted to take the NCLEX in order to expand my options in the future. Therefore, I applied for my ATT and received in within approximately a month or two. I scheduled my test by phone for July 2nd, 2014.

Since I had a heavy workload at graduate school this past semester, I decided not to study for the NCLEX until May when I returned home from school. That left me with about 6 weeks to study. Yes, I did study pretty much every day. I probably studied about 4 hours a day, until the week before the exam, in which I studied about 8 hours a day. I did not create a strict daily schedule for myself, because I knew that for me personally that would not work and would only lead to feelings of failure. I also made sure to have days where I didn't study at all and just spent time with family.

I was lucky to have friends who are nurses in the US who leant me study guides. I primarily used the:

1) HESI Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination (3rd edition)

---> I went through this book in its entirety. I took notes throughout and made sure that I sought out additional resources if there was a concept in this book that I did not understand fully. The questions in this book are not formatted like the NCLEX, but I would say that they are extremely helpful because they cause you to use critical thinking. I also accessed the online practice questions that are included with a code on the inside flap of this book.

2) Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination (5th Edition)

--->I did not use this book a great deal (it's overwhelmingly huge!). I only used it to study maternity nursing more in depth, because my nursing program did not spend much time on this area of nursing.

I also used YouTube videos to help me understand difficult concepts. One of my favourite YouTubers for explaining clinical concepts was called "ProfRoofs." There are many similar channels that have excellent videos.

The day of the exam I was very nervous. As I mentioned previously, I was worried because of the poor passing rate of internationally trained nurses. I had read several threads in which students explained that they had done thousands of practice questions before the exam. I questioned my study methods, as I had only done maybe 500 practice questions, max.

Only about 10% of my exam was in the simple multiple choice format, and the rest were in other formats that I had not practiced very much. So, when the computer kicked me out at 75 questions, I was sure that I had failed.

Two days later I paid the $8.00 to receive my unofficial results. I was ECSTATIC to read that I had passed!!!

My advice to you, as an international nurse, would be:

1) Don't let the statistics get you down. If your goal is to pass the NCLEX, put in the work, and you can do it.

2) Remember that you have experiential knowledge that will be a great asset to you. I cannot even tell you how much my clinical experience helped me. For example, since I have spent hours and hours giving patients meds, I was familiar with many meds without having to spent a lot of time studying them.

3) Seek to understand concepts instead of seeking to memorize concepts. If you understand a certain body system, you will have the critical thinking skills to help you to pass the NCLEX. Conversely, if you simply try to memorize everything...well... that is impossible. Just take a look at the size of any of your textbooks!

4) Try to enjoy studying for the NCLEX. Why? Because the material that you are studying is not only going to help you pass the exam. This material will help to make you a better nurse. Isn't that really what the end goal is?

5) You don't need to shell out hundreds of dollars on prep courses and textbooks. I did not take any courses and I used textbooks that were borrowed and technically "out of date," and I still passed. Courses may be helpful to you, but they are NOT the be-all and end-all of passing this exam. Don't let fear bully you into spending $100s of dollars that you do not need to spend.

6) Sleep well, eat well, spend time with your family. These things are important for your mental health, which is vital in taking such an intense exam.

7) Lastly, take your time during the exam. Read the questions thoroughly. Use the white board to clarify concepts in your mind if needed. Take the questions one at a time, as if your current question is the most important question.

Anyways, I wish you all the best in your preparations for the NCLEX exam! :)

Wow. Great post. Congratzz...:up:.I am taking mine on the 30th, please pray for me. !! Thnx.


Specializes in Orthopedics. Has 2 years experience.

I definitely will pray for you! Hope you do so well @PriyaAadhi

Signorina, RN

Has 4 years experience.

This is so helpful. Can you share your email address with me? I have a couple of questions to ask you. Thanks.

I'M a international nurse ,can you share your email will me Thank you.

Hi tmac19, thanks for your sharing. I intend to follow your path. Can you let me know the name of nursing school you studied in Canada? Again thank you for the infor.

What is the next step in the process of getting RN license after passing NCLEX as an outstate applicant? When does the BON send an offical result and license to the overseas applicant? When can I start to look for a nursing job in the US? Thank you.