Passed NCLEX-RN 75Qs 1st attempt


Hey! It's been a long while since I posted, but I told myself that when I passed the NCLEX-RN I would post how I studied for it. I started the BSN program in Fall 2012 and just graduated on May 28, 2015. I received my ATT via email on Memorial Day and immediately scheduled my test date for 2 weeks out. I then decided to reschedule my test date for an earlier date, Tuesday, June 2, 2015 in Sacramento, CA. Yes, I took my NCLEX 5 days after graduation! (In CA we can sit for NCLEX without final transcripts as long as the graduation roster is sent to the BRN. But official results will not be released until transcripts are received and processed.) Some students in my program have even taken the NCLEX before graduation.

Anyways, ATI was incorporated throughout our program. We had to take a subject specific ATI at the end of every semester and pass with at least a Level 2 in order to move on. We always had access to tons of ATI practice tests. In our last semester we had to take the Comprehensive ATI and get at least a 90% predictor of passing the NCLEX-RN on the first attempt. I got a 98% predictor of passing NCLEX-RN on the first attempt. But I didn't want to get over confident and just rely on that. I actually started studying seriously for NCLEX in like April 2015 because my last semester consisted mainly of precepting and I felt that I might as well dedicate the rest of the time during the semester to studying for NCLEX. My program required us to buy the Saunders 6th ed. in our final semester and I really feel like that book was Bible. That was my main study aid for the NCLEX. For the most part, I read every chapter of that book, with the exception of Peds, OB, and Mental Health (skimmed those chapters), I paid particular attention to the priority nursing boxes, and did the questions at the end of every chapter, which was like only 10-20 questions or so. I didn't do the practice test at the end and barely used the online portion (but they're very helpful). I did buy the Kaplan Premier Strategies book which was also helpful in teaching me how to breakdown and answer the questions (I didn't do any of the practice tests that came with that book either). I also bought the Lippincott's Alternate Format Question book but I really wasn't able to read it because of time constraints. I did skim over the AN "study guide" too.

I didn't have a set schedule for studying. I just made sure that I went over something/sections like 4-5 times a week for like no more than 3-4 hrs at a time. I did give myself breaks in between. So, I graduated May 28, 2015 also had pinning that same week and all the festivities that come with graduation season and I couldn't really do any studying during that time. And my test was the following week. But I felt like I had a good grasp on everything and I had been studying since April, so there was really no more that I could do. I figured. "Hey I know what I know and there's no going back." The Saturday before my test I had booked my hotel room. I drove up there Monday and brought my younger brother with me for support because my fiance had to work.

One thing I'm going to share is that I was a nervous-wreck that Monday morning before I drove to Sacramento. I became very anxious, all these what-if thoughts and negativity just started to consume me, I began to doubt myself and broke down crying almost to the point of hyperventilating. For some reason, my nerves got to me. I had always been a good test taker and had good grades and never got anxious like this before. It could have been because this was THE test and so much was riding on it. I don't know but something got into me. But my fiance gave me some tough love and told me that I needed to suck it up and just believe in myself. He told me there was no way I was going to fail this test. He straight up said that when my test gets to 75Qs it's going to cut off and I will have passed. I was just like whatever ok. I told myself alright I'm going to suck it up and I'm just going to expect all 265 because if it didn't shut off at 75 I didn't want to stress myself out more.

Anyways, I got to Sacramento and my brother and I checked into our room. Then I took a test drive to the testing center. I wanted to make sure that I knew where it was that way my drive in the morning would be smooth because I didn't want to run the risk of being late or possibly having to reschedule. Heck no! When I got back to the room, I kept telling myself that I couldn't go into the NCLEX with a negative mind and I had to erase the fears out of my head. I then came on this site and found a whole bunch of positive quotes/thoughts about the NCLEX from others. I highly suggest doing this! So I started writing them down on a piece of paper. I kept going over them in my head and even read them out loud. I told myself that I was going to make the correct choices and pass the NCLEX and just all sorts of things like that.

I took a long hot shower, ate dinner, and skimmed over notes, particularly areas I knew I was weak in. I know many people advise against this lol, but this has always been MY routine and I wasn't going to switch things up now. I went to bed around 930p. On test day my alarm went off at 530a, so did my brother's, and I also made sure the front desk gave me a wake-up call because I was not playing. I got dressed, went down to try and eat breakfast but my body wasn't having it. I literally had to force myself to eat cereal, a banana, and yogurt. I couldn't go into that test with an empty stomach.

I got to the testing center around 700a and I sat in my car until 720a just basically talking positive thoughts into my head. I left my phone in my car and only brought my ID, ATT, a banana, granola bar, and water bottle with me in the center. I checked in at 730a, went through the little process and by 800a it was time. I got my first question which didn't seem too bad. Then I started getting SATA, then it would go to a somewhat "easy" question, then came the Drag/Drop, Exhibit, ECG questions, and TONS of priority questions. I didn't keep count of them. After a while I was just like whoa! It was just one after another. But I talked myself through each and everyone of those questions. I read the question and answers, then I read them again and began to break them down. I used the strategies from the Kaplan book and also my own common sense and knowledge. Sometimes I was able to eliminate all but 2 answers, sometimes I even got it down to one and went with it. For the SATA Qs, I treated each option as True/False. I remember being at Q 75 and I told myself after this question I would stop keeping count of how many questions I was at. After I pressed next, my screen went blue and that was it. I just sat there for a few minutes staring at the screen thinking, "Is it what it is." I finished 75Qs in about an hr, went to my car, and just sat there.

I didn't know whether I should cry or laugh. My head was just spinning. I felt like I had to throw up and go to the bathroom. My stomach was in knots. A part of me wanted to celebrate because it was over and I felt comfortable and confident with every answer I selected. But then I didn't want to get too ahead of myself. I did the PVT and kept getting the good pop up but I wasn't going to be satisfied until I saw my license # on Breeze. Fast forward to June 11, 2015 (final transcript delay) and my license # was posted. I passed!

I know a lot of people spend hundreds of dollars on these programs like Kaplan, Hurst, etc but IMHO I don't think you really need to do all that. Now I don't think that those programs hurt, of course if you have the money and can do all that then that's great. But it's not needed. I trusted my nursing program and I strongly felt that they prepared me well for the NCLEX. And then I also have to give myself some credit. I also know that it is recommended to do like 100-150Q NCLEX style questions a day, but I didn't do that either. I just mainly read over content and did the handful of questions that were provided at the end of the chapters. I also read over rationales for the questions I got right and wrong. We've been doing NCLEX style questions since the start of the program! I felt that I did enough questions to really understand what was being asked and what answer was being looked for. If that makes any sense lol. In my head it does. I get bored easily and just sitting doing tons of questions was not for me. I felt that if I understood content well enough then I would be able to answer any question I was presented with. I must say that most of the questions I got on the NCLEX didn't seem "foreign." I never got that, "what the he** is this?!" or "I was never taught this!" type of feeling during my test.

Most of the questions I saw seemed similar to things that were covered and stressed in my nursing program. Now I know that every person gets a different test. We all have our own way in which we study so you need to pick what's going to work best for YOU. I'm just sharing how "I" prepared for NCLEX and what worked best for ME. Maybe this will help someone out there maybe it will not. But like I said, I was going to come back and share some tips when I passed. So just remember when taking the test, do not read into the question or overthink it. Don't insert background information. Follow the nursing process, Maslow's, and ABCs(when it applies and is reasonable). Make sure to eliminate obvious wrong answers first and go from there. Don't change your answer unless you're absolutely sure. Make your choice and be done with it. Don't go into the test just expecting to get 75Q either because you don't want to cause yourself to freak out if it keeps going. Hey if you're still getting questions then you're still in the game. Remember, NCLEX world is a "perfect" world.

In conclusion, I guess what I'm trying to get at is that you need to go into this test with a clear, positive mindset. Don't let the fear and doubt consume you. Find out what study methods work best for YOU and go with that. We all study differently. Trust your education but most importantly trust yourself and have confidence in yourself. You got this! Feel free to comment with whatever(positive preferably). And sorry for such a long post or if it sounds like I'm rambling or jumping around.

Edited by Cali_Nurse_209



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