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Passed NCLEX - My advice!


Everyone on All Nurses was SO incredibly helpful while I was preparing for my NCLEX-RN, so I wanted to "pay it forward" and let you future testers know how I prepared and what my recommendations are. With that said...I am a firm believer that everyone learns differently, so don't be afraid if my recommendations are completely different from your study plan. :)

1) I took a week off after graduating and did nothing but relax. I think that a period of relaxation after nursing school is 100% necessary; however, anything more than a week or two might cause you to get out of your testing mindset! I think it's best to get this test over with stat.

2) On June 2-4, I took the Hurst Live Review. The first week after the review, I spent one week re-watching the videos and making flashcards for the things I didn't know well. I HIGHLY recommend Hurst...it made things from nursing school much more simple and broke things down really well. Everyone I know who used Hurst has passed in 75 questions like me! A lot of people say that it is a waste of money...but I already have plenty of student loans to be upset about, so another $300 felt like a drop in the bucket that was COMPLETELY worth it.

3) The second week after the review, I decided to review other important topics NOT covered in the review in the Saunders NCLEX prep book, another resource that I highly recommend. It has great overview of things like delegation, legal stuff, line care, etc. I think that the NCLEX-RN seems to be trending towards focusing on delegation and prioritization a lot more lately, so if you can, I recommend doing practice questions on those topics! The Saunders CD has a great function where you can choose one topic (such as prioritization/delegation) and do quizzes on it.

4) Every day, I did about 50-100 questions that related to the topic I focused on. I never focused on more than 2 big topics a day, otherwise I felt overloaded with information. My school used ATI, so I used the old ATI practice tests (fluid/electrolytes, med/surg, OB, comprehensive, etc.) to gauge my learning from the Hurst. I did pretty poorly on the ATI tests while I was in school (50-60%) but after doing Hurst I was getting in the mid-70s and low 80s %!

So many people told me that reviewing content was a waste of time and that I should have been doing 2387492374 practice questions a day...but I strongly disagree! I did WAY less questions than content review and did just fine passing in 75. I do think that practice questions are important, but the content should be your first priority in my opinion. I got anywhere from 78 to 93 on the Q reviews, and a 94% on the ATI predictor. However, DO NOT focus on scores toooo much...it is a waste of time and it will just stress you out. Learn from the rationales and feel confident in your content knowledge and you will be fine.

I suffer from serious anxiety, and I felt sick to my stomach the whole last week before the test. I tried everything possible (working out, meditation, deep breathing, etc.) to calm my nerves, but I felt so gosh darn nauseous all the time. If you are like me and feel sick to your stomach because of test anxiety, do what I did and have a Boost nutritional drink before the test! The chocolate milk ones taste good and your brain needs the glucose to perform well on the test :)

I wish I had stressed less. Don't stress the NCLEX too much - it is scary and weird and confusing but you CAN PASS. I was not the top of my class. I had one of the lower GPAs in my cohort, but I studied 4-6 hours a day for 3 weeks and passed. Pick a review that fits your needs, treat your body well, and picture yourself passing every day. Don't let the negativity take away from valuable study time!

And thank you again to everyone who believed in me along the way!

congrats!! I hear you on the anxiety, I'm worried I'm going to hyperventilate or something before the exam lol...Anything else help to relax?

I take mine tomorrow and have been trying to take a nap all day but cant cause everything I lay down my heart starts racing and by stomach starts churning. Bought some Benadryl so I can get some sleep tonight.

Blondie1887 & PedsHopeful - you guys will be GREAT! :) I totally know what you mean about your heart pounding while you're trying to go to sleep! I started doing this thing where I would put on a sound conditioner (you can download Ambiance for free on your iPhone) and play some neutral background noise, and then I would repeat this meditation to myself over and over: "May I be filled with hope, may I be calm and at peace, may I be well, may I be happy." It sounds silly, but the rhythmic nature of the words became a breathing meditation for me.

Hello and thanks for the tips.

I am an OLD graduate who never took the nclex.

I graduated 10yrs ago and post-grad I found out that I needed a mitral valve replacement. It hit me hard. A couple Yeats later I was married, and after that I procrastinated! I am now in fair condition to work again but I realize I am way, way, way behind.

I don't really have the excess $ to take a review course. None accept financial aid, such as Kaplan.

I have bought the Nclex review tomes-Saunders, Mosby,etc. But they serve to fill me with fear and dread.

I know this is my calling. I'm a healer. I'm drawn to the sick like iron to true North. But I really can't afford to study, take the test and fail. I think failing would knock down what little self esteem I've built up in myself to try.

I am also finding it difficult to concentrate on study materials, to get back into the study groove.

Is this possible?

Any advice..anyone?

Deeni, You and I have a lot in common. Perhaps we can help each other. I'm 57 so I know I don't have the stamina those in their 30s have but I am as you say, a healer. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that nursing is what I am supposed to spend the rest of the time I am able to work doing. I tried Hurst last time. It's a great program and I did so much better than the first try but I did not pass. That was June 25. I too am having such a difficult time financially that I can't afford to take time off (I need a job) and just study and I can't afford the fee for retesting. If you would email me perhaps we can put our heads together on how to study and pass the test. My email is doodle.rn@gmail.com I really believe having someone to study this material with will help plant it in our long term memory and help us be successful on the NCLEX. What do you say?

Congrats! And thanks for the advice