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Passed NCLEX second time around!

Hi everyone!

I told myself that once I pass the NCLEX and finally get to "the other side" that I will write about my experience and what helped me pass so I can help other people. I graduated May 2014 from my BSN program. I took the exam about a month after using Kaplan. I didn't really study as much as I should have the first time around and I only did the Qtrainers and Qbank questions but I did not look at content at all. I thought that there was just too much to study that there was no way I could know everything so my logic was just to do questions so I know what I don't know and then look it up. When I went in to take my exam I went all the way up to 265 questions. I left feeling like I failed and I knew for sure when I tried the PVT online and got the CC page. My CPR came two days later and it stated that I was near passing in all categories and below passing in Health Maintenance and Growth, which was shocking for me because I was always strong in that area based off my practice exams.

My QTrainer scores the first time around:

Diagnostics: 45%

QT 1: 51%

QT 2: 48%

QT 3: 52%

QT 4: 54%

QT 5: 56%

QT 6: 52%

QT 7: 51%

Readiness: 58%

Q Bank: 56% average (100% completed)

I realized that I took the wrong approach because I didn't study content and there was NO WAY of passing without having a good foundation for content. I took about three months off after failing the first time just to deal with personal issues that was currently going on in my life. I didn't have the focus or motivation yet and I just didn't feel like putting myself through another period of studying again. I know this might not have been the smartest idea but that was my decision. It was a little discouraging seeing all my classmates and peers passing. But that is their life and this is mine so comparing myself to others doesn't help me at aAfter three months I renewed my Kaplan subscription and I decided to access the content resources. It was super hard for me to keep up with it because I found the material dull and the videos always put me to sleep without a fail. I decided to switch it up and try Saunder's comprehensive review for content. After attempting to read the book I found that it wasn't for me either because I didn't like the outline style. Reading one little description wasn't helping me understand the whole picture. It was so frustrating for me because I'm the type of person that takes forever to understand and comprehend written materials. Things don't click as fast in my brain as it does for many people. Nursing school was a struggle for me and it took me twice as long to read and I had to work twice as hard as everyone else when it comes to exams. I continued to research different materials to help with content that fit me best and I finally settled on Hurst review. I have no regrets getting this review because this helped me TREMENDOUSLY on content. Not only were the videos easy quirky and engaging but it really helped me memorize and understand everything. It paints out the whole picture for me and the best part is it CONNECTS every material you learn. I rewatched the videos about 2-3x before I was able to recite it on my own. It also has a print out PDF version so you can write down notes as you go along in the videos. If you're like me and can't focus too long on reading materials and take forever to understand something I think Hurst is a good review for content. The practice exams were not as challenging as I thought it would be and that's why I relied on Kaplan for the higher-level questions.

Kaplan Qtrainer scores second time:

Diagnostics: 60%

QT 1: 75%

QT 2: 70%

QT 3: 69%

QT 4: 65%

QT 5: 66%

QT 6: 70%

QT 7: 62%

Readiness: 70%

Q Bank: 65% (100% completed)

As you can see my Kaplan scores were way better than the first time I think the main reason was because of Hurst. I had a good foundation for content to help me answer the questions with critical thinking skills. I know many of you guys might think that the reason why it's high is because I took it before and that I memorized the questions but honestly it has been about 5 months since I took those practice exams and yes there was very few that I recognized but a majority of it I did not remember at all! In addition to Kaplan and Hurst, I bought the LaCharity PDA book as well and that really helped with priority questions and delegation. I went through the entire book twice except the case studies.

I finally scheduled my exam early November and sat for the boards for the afternoon slot. The first time around I got the morning slot and I am definitely NOT a morning person. Don't choose a time based on wanting to finish faster like I did before. I woke up still sleepy and tired. Choose a time where you are most cognitively alert! I wanted to go in feeling like I had plenty of rest. Another advice that really helped me from reading other people's post is DON'T go in expecting 75 questions! When I passed 75 I reassured myself it was fine and I stayed calm. ALSO, don't believe everything you hear about how the NCLEX works. I read from numerous posts that depending on how many SATAs you get it tells you how well you're doing (i.e., the more you get, the better you are doing, etc). I had less than 10 SATAs on my exam and I STILL PASSED. It doesn't matter how many you get! I was actually worried at first because I didn't feel like I was getting any "higher-leveled" questions and most were recall/knowledge but I pushed the doubt away and just carried on. Sometimes we worry too much about how we are doing based on the type of questions we're getting and we lose focus. Everyone has a different experience with the NCLEX and there is no definite way to determine how you are doing while you are taking the test.

After the exam I went home feeling indifferent. I didn't know if I passed or fail and that is the feeling most of us get after. I decided against doing the PVT because I just don't trust anything that is unofficial and I knew whether I failed or passed there was nothing I can do at the moment but I know that I did deserve to relax and that is what I did for the next two days. In my state they mail you your results in two days from the testing center so I didn't bother with the quick results. The first time I got my results my envelope was heavy because it included the CPR papers. The second time I held the envelope in my hand it felt light so I felt hopeful. And there right next to result it stated PASS! It was such a relief and honestly one of the greatest feelings in the world to know your hard work paid off. I have had gone through some pretty terrible things and having this happen was just what I needed. Best advice I can give is don't go expecting this or that because it can really mess you up during the test! Just go in and do your best without overthinking everything! Also, I wanted to say everyone works best at their own pace. If you need more time then take more time! Just because some people are rushing and trying to get it done as soon as they can doesn't mean you have you because you feel the pressure. A big part of my success in this is working at my own pace. Don't ever feel like you need to explain or justify yourself for taking your time. I know I had my fair share of judgement from certain people about taking my time.

Sorry this is long but thank you for all those that have read this! I followed AN religiously after my first failed attempt and it has helped me tremendously reading other success stories and giving me hope. Good luck to everyone and congratulations to those that passed! I'm so proud to be part of this community.

I am so inspired by your post, I am following in your exact footsteps. From graduating in May, just doing kaplan questions, failing the first time, needing content, needing a break, now doing hurst review (love it!) , got pda by lacharity, and reviewing to take my test again. Congratulations to you! May I ask how long did it take from the time you watched the first hurst video until the date of your exam?

I am taking my baord second attempt next week! My scores are smiliar to your I improved from 40% from Kap-lan to high 50% and 60%! I am just nervous since when I hear so many people failed the board again and again! Happy for you and good to read this :)

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