Passing the NCLEX w/ 265 Questions


I told myself that after I took the NCLEX I would post information about my personal experience and advice for all nurse graduates so here it goes. I graduated from nursing school May 17. I took a week off for a well-deserved break. After nursing school I was not interested in studying anything, not even NCLEX. The week after my break my nursing program required that we take the ATI course. After another short break I went to Kaplan. I took the NCLEX July 11, 2014.

Here are my thoughts on the study material I used:

Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination, 5th Edition 10/10

This book was wonderful! Most nursing students have heard about this book and it is as good as they say. I purchased this book prior to nursing and hardly ever used it. I wish I did. This book is like nursing school in a nutshell. It's all you need to get down any content you have forgotten or just missed for whatever reason. I love the organization of the book. I suggest using this book mainly as a refresher. I DID NOT read the whole book, only read areas I need to brush up on. The CD-ROM that it comes with is good for reinforcing content areas you are weak in. The questions are more of recall/recognition questions.

Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment: Practice Exercises for the NCLEX Examination, 3e 8/10

I heard a lot about this book as well and since I was strapped for cash I checked it out at my local library. I only used it once and thought the questions were ok. I completed about 6 chapters and I read all the rationales which did help.

ATI 8/10

As I said ATI was offered at my university post nursing school. It was 4 days in length and about 8 hours a day. The classes focus on refreshing content (med-surg, pharmacology, peds, maternity, mental health) that was learned in nursing school. Personally, I had a hard time paying attention to content squeezed in 4 days for 8 hours. To be fair the professor was great and she gave us great acronym s and study tools to be successful.

Prior to completing nursing school we took the predictor: 80% which placed me at 99% chance passing NCLEX

KAPLAN ($500 look for discount through your program) 8.5/10

Unlike ATI, Kaplan teaches you test taking strategies. They DO NOT review content (online content review is available). If this is what you need look elsewhere. Kaplan classes are 4 days about 6-8 hours in length. They focus on teaching the decision tree and do tons of questions. You basically learn how to answer question. Once again, I had a hard time sitting still and paying attention. I think the most useful thing about Kaplan was the online resources. They offer tons and tons of questions through the q-trainers and q banks. Qbank questions are considered passing level questions.

This might help someone: Diagnostic: 55, QT1: 53 ,QT2: 55 ,QT3: 53 ,QT4: 55 ,QT 5: Never did it ,QT6: 55 ,Never completed QT 7. Readiness 65%. My q banks ranged from 44-70%. To be HONEST Kaplan questions were harder than NCLEX question (my opinion). Only complete 48% of Kaplan (I suggest doing all questions). And when they take Kaplan quizzes its look exactly like the NCLEX computer screen.

Taking the NCLEX

The day prior to taking NCLEX I did not study. I watched TV/movies and relaxed. The day of the NCLEX I woke and prepared myself. As I went to the test center anxiety set in. In the Pearson testing center all I took in was my keys and ID and brought NO PHONE. They provide you with a key and a locker to store any personal items. They scan your vein and also take a picture at the site. You're walked into the exam and provided a dry erase board and ear plugs (you can request for this). The exam prompts you to read stuff about not disclosing info about the exam, a sample question, and how the system works. When the first question pops up it I think "it's not bad". After about 200 questions I'm nervous and tired of answering questions. My last questions seemed more of a recall/recognition even though I was not sure. In the end I was shaken and cried in my car. I was 95% sure I had FAILED.

Final Thoughts

My Kaplan instructor told us "if you get 265 questions don't freak out" you can PASS at 265. Since April the exam got slightly harder, Kaplan noticed more students getting 265 questions. In short, I passed. I got my certificate in the mail from the MBON. You all will pass. Good Luck!

Excuse any errors

Specializes in Maternal Newborn. Has 9 years experience.

Thanks so much for sharing, and congratulations in passing NCLEX! Your hard work and study plan/materials paid off! :)