Passed the NCLEX in 75 Questions - Tips

After studying a good 2 months with Kaplan, I finally took my NCLEX exam and passed.. here are the resources and tips that I have for future NCLEX takers.

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Passed the NCLEX in 75 Questions - Tips

Like any new grad that just graduated from their nursing program I felt terrified and totally unprepared to take the NCLEX.. I mean all the knowledge we studied in the last 3-4 years ALL IN ONE EXAM? It felt impossible.. so I didn't actually do my research on the prep courses and just ended up taking the Kaplan course for $600 including 3 6 hour in class sessions and question trainers, online PDF textbook, and all the Q bank questions. It was a lot and I was praying to god it would be worth it!

I graduated from my Canadian BSN program in May and began studying and taking notes then but like anybody else who graduated, I still wanted to go out. I was going out about 3x a week while studying a few hours the other days taking notes on the Kaplan textbook. What I would suggest, that I would have changed was to not focus too much on the small details but to try and weed out common interventions you would do for certain conditions (ex. Administering antiemetics) since I am such a bad note taker and just like to take notes on everything. At first, it is a bit hard since you have to brush up on quite a bit of knowledge (well I had to!) but overtime as you practice more Q bank questions you know how to prioritize and take more efficient notes. It took probably a month a half for me to take full notes on the Kaplan book however, I know people who did it in a month or less. I also used the 35 page PDF that has been floating around on this website and looked up common lab values and written it all on one page and practiced memorizing it as I did my QTs and Q bank Qs and also everyday for a week prior to the exam. What I found difficult was memorizing side effects of certain electrolyte imbalances especially with Calcium and Magnesium therefore, I found that making my own mnemonics were a bit easier but there are some good ones floating around for electrolytes on Registered Nurse RN. I also found childhood milestones very difficult and even though I have been reviewing them for months I was still stumped on the questions so I recommend starting early for that if it may be challenging for you.

During my last month I made sure I was finished all of my notes for the textbook. Finished my first three question trainers and then took my in classes two weeks in and then the rest of my question trainers. I did not do as well as many recommend to pass the NCLEX in 75 questions but here are my scores:

QT1 - 51%
QT2 - 55%
QT3 - 46%
QT4 - 51%
QT5 - 54%
QT6 - 54%
QT7 - 51%

Readiness Test - 68%

NCLEX Sample Tests

Sample Test 1 - 50%
Sample Test 2 - 52%
Who Do You See First Test - 77%
Alternate Format Test - 36%

I also did my readiness test 2 weeks prior to my NCLEX (which is the recommended time) and did pretty well despite my previous QT scores. I also did the NCLEX sample tests when I had time. The first 3 tests you on analysis and application level Qs while the last one tests you on ALL SATA (which was miserable!).

What I suggest is ensuring that you understand all the rationales for the Qs you got wrong. For every Q I got wrong, I would write the rationale on a piece of lined paper and would keep it and review it when needed. I felt that there were many common themes in Kaplan that were helpful to know such as the main diagnoses (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Myasthenia Gravis, Addision, Cushings, etc.) as they appeared time and time again. However, the Kaplan does not go into depth with patho and sometimes it is necessary to understand the clinical manifestations so I would also use my pathophysiology textbook, med surg textbook and medical websites to supplement my notes and readings. Then for pharm, after a while you end up forgetting some of the drugs and their A/Es or S/S so I suggest reviewing common medications that show up on the Q bank Qs and ones that are given commonly in nursing practice. I found that reviewing some pharm every day was helpful as it was not too overwhelming. I also reviewed all the drugs once again 2 days before my exam. After you are starting to feel confident in your knowledge, I suggest practice priority outcome Qs as those are one of the higher level questions and effectively using Kaplan's decision tree (ABCs and acute/chronic and actual vs potential) as you will need to do well on these Qs to pass the NCLEX. Although, I was still not confident in my Kaplan scores and Q bank percentages, I felt confident in my reasoning skills and my ability to do well on the exam so do not be discouraged if you are unable to attain the 60-75% marks as I barely did but still did very well on my exam. There will be questions where even if you studied another week it still woundn't have made a difference because it just may not be in the general information we study or the Kaplan book so I suggest you get good at eliminating answers with the Kaplan decision tree as well.

I felt that on my exam I was given a fair amount of knowledge Qs and an equal amount of higher level Qs with about 10-15 SATA total. Safe to say I ended up passing in 75 Qs in over an hour. Although I felt that I was able to effectively take the exam, a part of me sank after as everyone was telling me I was out of the exam too fast! I ended up doing the Pearson Vue Trick 4 hours after my exam which worked. I got the bad pop up telling me I was unable to register for another exam at the time (which is apparently a good sign and a sign that you passed!). The Pearson Vue Trick is when you try to re-register for an NCLEX exam and if you passed it will not allow you to process your credit card vs if you failed, you are able to register and put a credit card through. Many have suggested using $25 gift card VISAs just in case you are registered it will still not go through. I've heard differing reviews re: the trick but it worked for me as I found out that I passed the next morning!

Anyways if you have any Qs let me know! GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!

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