Passed nclex on 4th try


Hello everyone,

I wanted to post this because I have visited this website countless number of times for encouragement to keep trying on Nclex. I just took Nclex for the 4th time after a year of trying and passed. So this is long but my experience:

To prepare for the 1st time I took it, I used Kaplan. It did not help me that much, although I do know many people who it did help. I guess the process they give you to figure out the right answer to the questions always took me a bit of time for each question. So that was difficult for me.. I also did the online course instead of in person and I think physically being in a course really helps more. However I know some people who took the course and passed in 75 questions. So from what I remember I had been scoring in the 50's-60's on most tests. I didn't finish every test in the course which was absolutely the worst decision. Basically I was over confident. However, I do get really bad test anxiety so although I thought I could pass, I also doubted myself A LOT. I went in very anxious and guessed on many questions. I got stopped around 130-140 somewhere. I started crying after the test... it was a bad experience to say the least. THEN I put my credit card number in because I was so anxious and I got a pop up that ended up being bad but it looked like the good pop up after I had researched it online. I ended up failing and was crushed.

For the 2nd time I used Hurst review and I attended the live class. This actually really helped me as I noticed while taking the test the 1st time that I was guessing on a lot of questions mainly because I didn't know the content that well. Hurst does a really good job at explaining concepts and content in a way that's very easy to understand. I also purchased the lectures online which helped me because I am both a visual and auditory learner. The 2nd time I took the test, I was there for the entire 6 hours and 265 questions. I took maybe 1 or 2 short breaks. To be honest, I was an anxious mess and that's what kept me awake and the adrenaline going. I was very close to passing, however I failed it. I remember being at question 230 and thinking I will have to take the remainder of the questions and then I looked at the clock and only had 30 minutes. This is when I think I really messed it up because I rushed through the rest of the test, which, when you get the whole test, is essentially the most important part to get answers right... Afterwards I looked up the rules for the test and realized I would've been better off taking my time (to an extent) and doing my best while risking running out of time because I probably would've gotten more answers correct.

At this point I was devastated.. I had failed twice after sitting there for the entire 6 hours and 265 questions. I was so upset I told my mom I would only give in 2 more tries and if I didn't pass by the 4th try I needed to do something else with my life (career-wise). I can honestly say my family/friends/boyfriend all pushed me to keep going when I didn't want to. I was definitely depressed in my situation at that time. I was living at my mom's house, my grandfather was about to move in with us, making money from random babysitting gigs that eventually came to an end.. I didn't have much going for me and I was so upset about everything I would sleep during the days and not put any effort (really) into studying or doing anything. It took A LOT for me to start studying again.

For the 3rd time I took it, I used Hurst again. I had waited I think 4 or 5 months to retake it and felt that I needed to brush up on the content. Fortunately they give you a book with all the content so the only thing I payed for was the online lectures which I believe was about $50. The 3rd time ended up being my worst time to take it. I was freaking out. I decided not to tell anyone except for my boyfriend when I was taking it because I didn't want to have to tell all those people that I failed it again and didn't want the pressure the day of.. Needless to say I set myself up for failure by not believing in myself in the first place. Oh- and I also had run out of time to use my ATT.. they give you a certain amount of time to take the test and I had forgotten about that so I ended up intensely studying for about a week before the test. So that wasn't good. The night before the test I was stubborn about not telling my parents about it so I ended up sleeping at my boyfriends place... bad idea. I couldn't sleep, I was extremely anxious and I didn't want to take any medicine because I didn't want to be groggy (it was at 8 am.. I'm not a morning person). So the next day I tried to remain as calm as possible. I walked in freaking out, heart pounding, exhausted. The computer shut off around 130 questions. I felt very uneasy but relieved it was over with at the same time. So results came back and I failed again. I had a bad feeling this was going to happen so to be honest I didn't let it bother me that much. I kind of had the mindset that it was a practice test and I would get it the next time.

For this last time I took it, I waited again until the last week I could, but this time I knew what I was doing. I had looked up study groups, other online resources, really anything different I could do for this test. I decided to purchase the 5 week course under nscbn website (the people behind the test questions on nclex) It was $70 (the cheapest I had payed for any course) and it helped me pass. This time, unlike the others, I did a ton of practice questions- probably around 1500-2000. I have to say that's what helped me the most, and reading all the rationales literally even if I got the answer right. The other thing I did was answering about 100 questions a day or every other day for about 2 weeks. This was the one thing that I didn't do for any other test and if I'm being honest with myself it's because I simply didn't want to do a lot of practice questions. Even this time doing them I would be really hard on myself if I did bad (got below a 70) on a practice quiz. However, I pushed through it, went to this website to find stories similar to this one, I practiced mindfulness and meditation to relieve anxiety. I looked up inspiring quotes (I know cheasy but it helped), I prayed some, and I went into the test the calmest I've ever been. I kept telling myself everyone else believes in me so why don't I? I went to a great school for 4.5 years, if I can do that I can get past this test. I am bigger than this test. I can do it. I believe in myself. Boom, 2 days later- yesterday- I found out I passed.

So I hope this helps anyone struggling to continue trying. I know it's not easy, but I know now it was worth it. After doing 3 different review courses, the ones that helped the most were Hurst for the content and ncsbn for the questions. That course has content too but I thought it was way too much and only ended up reviewing some of it. Anyway, good luck to everyone and you can do it!!!


4 Posts

I test this thursday and I have just been doing questions I am super nervous

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

Congratulations for passing! :)


14 Posts

Congratulations @Arobin46!! You did it! Your story is so inspiring


3 Posts

You can do it, just be confident and don't second guess yourself. I had a problem with second guessing myself which was something I had to practice. Also, it helped me to exercise the day before to clear my mind.


5 Posts

Congratulations for passing and NOT giving UP!! Now go enjoy your nursing career!! :)